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Swiss Saver Day Pass on Glacier Express and Gotthard Express

I have a 30 day "Swiss Half Fare card" and intend to also buy "Swiss Saver Day passes" for these two scenic routes. Swiss Saver Day passes are CHF 39 with the Swiss Half Fare card right now (though prices will go up as passes sell off). For some long trips, including these two, this makes using a Swiss Saver Day pass cheaper than buying tickets with just using the Swiss Half Fare card.

Could someone please tell me if I have the the following process right? Here is what I plan to do...

• As soon as I can (possible to purchase 6 months ahead of time): Buy Swiss Saver Day passes for the two dates of travel from SBB for the Glacier Express and Gotthard Express;
• 93 days before each journey (when purchasing seats becomes possible): Purchase "seat reservations only" on the Glacier Express and Gotthard Express at their websites;
• 2 months ahead (when tickets on these trains are available): Ignore this date. There is no need to buy tickets because the "seat reservation" and "Swiss Saver Day pass" and "Swiss Half Fare card" serve that purpose;
• On the travel day: Turn up with my seat reservation, Swiss Half Fare card, and Swiss Saver Day pass, and simply board the train.

Posted by
20054 posts

I believe the Gotthard Panorama Express is all 1st class, at least in the panorama cars. So you will need a 1st class Saver Day Pass for that one at 59 CHF for the minimum price. Consider 1st class for the Glacier Express as well.

I see the Gotthard Panorama Express begins sales next month, with the first train scheduled for April 20.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks Sam. I had read on the Gotthard Express website, but had later forgotten, that part of the Gotthard Express route requires a first class ticket. So I will buy a first class "Swiss Day Saver Pass" for that trip.

And first class on the Glacier Express is a good idea. Your advice had me check it out - and learned that first class (using the Swiss Day Saver pass) is only CHF 20 more.

Do you know if it's okay to buy the Swiss Saver Day pass now for my travel dates, and then buy the seat reservations as soon as they come online for those trains?

Posted by
20054 posts

I would be a little hesitant to buy that far out, as plans could change. I looked at Saver Day Passes, and even in June, some of the 2nd class day passes have ticket up to 44 CHF. But 1st class passes have stayed steady at 59 CHF. Just keep an eye on it. Ideally, you would want to have your seat reservations before buying a day pass, but the day pass prices could tick up. Summer is coming and people are planning as shown by the day pass prices.

Posted by
108 posts

We did the Glacier express at the end of September last year. I tried to buy reservations at midnight Swiss time (6 pm eastern) 93 days ahead - the website would not let me. I tried a few other times that evening to no avail. I also found their website did A LOT of “spinning” and not responding. I got up shortly after midnight and was able to book my seat reservation and tickets. I did not see an option to only buy a seat reservation. I was surprised I had to book both at that time. Also I wanted first class - there were 3 of us traveling together. The only seats available were aisle seats and not together. I ended up booking 2 nd class which was very nice and was fine. I suggest if you have not go out to their website and get familiar with their booking process. You will also be able to see what is available 93 days out in 1st or 2nd class. I suspect that tour companies are able to book more than 93 days out and buy out a good portion of the first class seats. I had the half fare card.

Posted by
30 posts

I have another puzzle to solve regarding the Gotthard Express. I know the exact journey date and am willing to chance buying Swiss Saver Day pass for that day. Now, here's where I could use help:

Going south to north, the Gotthard Express has 3 legs : a short train ride from Lugano, a panoramic train ride over the alps, and a boat to Lucerne. Only the panoramic train requires a first class ticket.

I'd like to buy a second class Swiss Saver Day pass and upgrade only the middle panoramic train to first class.

Can this be done, and how?

Posted by
20054 posts

No, the Gotthard Panorama Express only has 2 legs, Lugano to Fluelen by train and Fluelen to Luzern by boat. it departs Lugano at 9:18 am. I believe you are looking at the 9:30 departure from Lugano to Bellinzona where you change to the Treno Gottardo. That is not a panoramic train, but it travels the same tracks with the same scenery, and is available in both 1st and 2nd class and does not have required seat reservations. It will still catch the same boat at Fluelen. It is a little tricky to do this on the website, but doable. Otherwise, the Treno Gottardo continues on to Luzern and Basel.

PS. the Gotthard Panorama Express also uses an older route between Lugano and Bellinzona. If you take the later departure at 9:30, that train uses a new base tunnel. So even though it leaves Lugano 12 minutes after the GPE, it gets to Bellinzona 7 minutes before the GPE arrives. So you could go that way and get the GPE at Bellinzona, but most of the way is in a tunnel.

Posted by
31 posts

I've done the Glacier Express and also, based on advice I received here, on the regional trains. For me, the regional trains are the way to go. I didn't think Glacier Express was "all that".

Posted by
30 posts

Thank you. All of this input has helped to raise so many new possibilities.

And Kim, thanks for the heads-up about booking seats on the Glacier Express.