My brother lives in Germany (Air Force). Can I have him get my Rail Pass reservations for me? Do you have to show ID when buying the reservations? I am having all kinds of difficulty buying my reservations and thought of this as an alternative. I have tried the DB site, Rail Europe site, and even called Rail Europe and am being told either they won't take a credit card from the USA or that I will have to pay a silly shipping fee for a paper ticket. At this point, I think it would be easier for me to provide my Brother with my desired travel dates and times and have him get the reservations for me and mail them to me. Will this work? Do any of you see any problems with doing it this way?
Let's make sure we're all on the same page here. If I'm reading this correctly, you already bought a railpass, and now you want to purchase reservations for individual trips. Or, do you want to purchase tickets +/- seat reservations, in advanced, without a rail pass? Not sure why you can't just use the Deutsche Bahn website and purchase your reservations directly from there. If you already have a rail pass (probably wasn't the best choice, but that's another story), and if you really want reservations, you can simply buy them on your day of travel at the station. Or, buy all the reservations for your trip the first time you arrive at the station. You can use the ticket automats and it's about as easy as using an ATM. Sometimes reservations are nice to have, but they're not strictly necessary. Trains never "sell out" like airplanes do. One caveat- I'm assuming your brother is stationed in either Ramstein or Spangdahlem. Both of these are only served by regional commuter trains, for which reservations are not sold. You could only buy reservations for the portions of your trips that are on intercity trains (IC or ICE).
Yes I have already bought a 5 day Pass and Yes, my brother is at Ramstein. For the most part I am going to buy my reservations when I get there. I am only worried about two of them. One is an overnight Rome to Munich train which I have tried to buy on the DB site with no success. I am able to click on the "book only extra charge" link but when I get right down to the end and put in my credit card, it says there is an error. I have double checked the numbers and have bought other stuff from Europe with the card, so it is not the card. Maybe it is too early? (June 16th). The other reservation I am worried about getting is from Saarbrucken, Germany to Paris (June 18) because I have heard so many people on this site say that the France pass reservations are inventoried and am worried about not getting the train I want (dep 19:03 / arr 20:54). For some reason the DB site does not show me the "book only extra charge" link like it does for the night train. Any other thoughts or suggestions??
It is unusual for bahn.de to not accept a credit card. Did you call your bank to advise you would be making a purchase from Germany? They may have rejected the charge as possible fraud. The other possibility is that your date is too far into June. There was a notice awhile back that Bahn.de was still negotiating pricing or scheduling for trains coming from Italy after June 9. Edit: there is an advisory (!) next to that train on June 18 (and other dates) that says "Train is not bookable until further notice." If you ignore that and hit the "check availability" button, it will let you proceed as if you could buy a ticket, but at the end it will be denied, as you found.
The Bahn doesn't sell "reservations-only" online for routes that begin or end outside of Germany. If you have time, have him mail them to you. I don't think simple seat reservations have names attached to them, hopefully overnight accommodations don't either, but make sure.
Lola - you are correct. I tried to book my same route in May and it works up until May 31, but after June 1, it does not. Do you know when the June dates will open up?
I may be correct on the dates, but Lee has provided the definitive answer on purchasing reservations ( only) on bahn.de. Apparently they do not offer them for cross-border trips.
"Apparently they do not offer them for cross-border trips." There is one exception. If Deutsche Bahn operates the train for the entire route, you can purchase a reservation from them. For example, the regular ICEs from Frankfurt to Brussels, Amsterdam and Interlaken are all solely operated by DB.
Thanks to all, this is very good information. So for my Rome to Munich route, how would I tell if it is a DB train? Will I be able to book a reservation on the DB site? If not, then I should book on Rail Europe, right? I am already doing one other reservation on Rail Europe and I could do it at the same time to save on the shipping.