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Renfre v. RailEurope; Second Class v. First Class on AVE

While trying to get an idea of prices on advance purchase AVE train tickets on RailEurope's website (my actual dates of travel are not open online yet for advance purchase), I noticed a significant price difference between the non-refundable "Best Second Class"/"Best First Class" and the "Flexible Second Class"/"Flexible First Class" but the difference in price between taking first class over second class is negligible (around 15 Euro). Normally, I book second class seats, but might reconsider if I can get some feedback from those who have booked first class on AVE - did you feel it was worth the additional money?

I am comfortable booking the non-refundable "Best" v. the "Flexible" as my dates are set and the fare details on the flexible fare states it is only 85% refundable up to 2 days before departure and after that, there are no more refunds.

Finally, any thoughts on booking straight through Renfre v. RailEurope? I understand that there is a small booking fee involved if purchased from RailEurope's website, but I also hear some people have a really difficult time getting their tickets booked and printed from Renfre's site.

Posted by
984 posts

It is RENFE :-)

There is no such ''Best Second Class"/"Best First Class" and "Flexible Second Class"/"Flexible First Class" on RENFE's trains.
I would never use the private agency RailEurope, or any other agency, which will charge extra for a service (easily performed by the national rail carrier's website for millions of ticket purchases each year) and on many an occasion has not published full schedules, so you are unaware of other and cheaper options for the day.

Without a look at RENFE'S prices you will never have a true idea for the cost of advance purchase discount.
You seem to be short of a guide on using the RENFE website like -
or the hugely comprehensive -

Posted by
1178 posts

Go directly to Renfe and deal with it...Save the charges of the other sites. Use the Trip Advisor site mentioned in the other posting. Be sure to "register" at the first opportunity and it will work much easier. You can purchase tickets about 60 or so days in advance (maybe 45?) at a substantial savings. Second class is almost equal to first class on any American airlines today. You can print the tickets at your computer. They are not changeable however so be sure of your travel plans. AVE travel is a wonderful experience.

Posted by
9363 posts

I'm with HJ - go directly to RENFE. Click "welcome" up in the upper right corner to change the site to English, register with the site, and go. It will want a Verified by Visa credit card or the equivalent MasterCard, but you can do that during the process. As HJ said, turista class is nicer than some first class airline seats. Buying ahead gives you the best discount. I didn't print tickets ahead. You just use the code from your confirmation to print the tickets at the kiosk at the train station - very easy.