How to book second class on the William Tell

How to book second class on the William Tell

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Posts: 10. This thread is closed.
lward
lward
8 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2015 - 1:35 PM

I have been reading the prior posts but still can't figure out how to book the William Tell Express boat and train using the Swiss Pass only so that it is covered OR how to book other trains and boats that cover the same route that will accept the Swiss Pass. My family of 4 will leave out of Milan to Lucerne on August 20 but can't figure out the best way to book the route--so confused! Any advice would be appreciated.

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2015 - 2:07 PM

Hi lward,

Thanks for posting your question. What do you prefer, the Wilhelm Tell Express or the regular service? In the latter case there's nothing to book if you have Swiss Travel Passes.

Do you already have the Swiss Travel Passes? Where did you try to book the Wilhelm Tell Express and what went wrong?

Last modified on Jul 1, 2015 - 2:08 PM by Arno
lward
lward
8 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2015 - 2:41 PM in reply to Arno

I have not purchased the Swiss Travel Pass yet as I am not sure of the best site to purchase since they all seem to have different prices. Any recommendations on the best site to purchase the pass? I have been looking at RailEurope.com as well as some other sites for the William Tell Express and they all say you have to upgrade to first class. I just now found a site, swisspasses.com that will upgrade your 2nd class to 1st for the William Tell Express but the cost is $110 per person to do so to get a reservation. Is there a better site to book the upgrade if we decide to go 1st class? I didn't know how busy these routes will be on August 20 to take a chance of showing up and the train/boat are full--is that possible that they would be full?

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2015 - 2:59 PM

Hi lward,

Trains and boats are not booked in advance in Switzerland, apart from a few tourist trains like the Wilhelm Tell Express train/boat combination. So any other boat or train apart from these few will never be booked out. Actually the Wilhelm Tell Express boat and train are just a regular boat and train with the option to get 1st class reserved seats.

Whether you want to pay the extra fee for 1st class, reserved seats and a lunch is up to you. You can also take the same train and boat and sit in 2nd class. In that case you just need the Swiss Travel Pass and nothing else. You can always board.

The best retailers for Swiss Travel Pass are listed on myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/ price. Indeed they all offer different prices, but the pass is exactly the same regardless of where you buy. I would buy through www.raileurope-world.com/pass/swiss-pass in your case.

lward
lward
8 posts
new member
Jul 1, 2015 - 3:10 PM in reply to Arno

I really appreciate your help as I have been spending way too much time trying to figure this out. Do you have any recommendations as to our travel from Milan to the starting point of the trip. I believe we can start in Locarno, Lugano, or another site says Bellinzona.

Also, do you recommend travel from Lucerne to Geneva where we will depart to go home?

Last question, I hope you don't mind. My husband and I are only going to be visiting Italy and Switzerland during two weeks. Our sons will be traveling another 3 weeks leaving from Geneva to Budapest and then traveling to Germany and other countries. In Italy, we are just buying point-to-point tickets but will buy the Swiss Pass for four days in Switzerland. Instead of the Swiss Pass for them, should we go ahead and put that money toward a Euro Global Pass?

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 1, 2015 - 3:23 PM

Hi lward,

The "official" Wilhelm Tell Express train departs from Locarno, stops in Bellinzona and then goes up north. But you can start your trip anywhere, e.g. in Lugano, and change trains in Bellinzona.

Do you mean whether Geneva is a good place to stay for a few days? I would rather recommend Montreux as it's closer to the mountains, more centrally located, and it's a smaller town.

Note that the pass is no longer called Swiss Pass, please see here. Whether a Eurail Global Pass is a better choice for your sons depends on their exact itinerary. It could pay off if they do a lot of longer trips, but the only way to know for sure is to compare a few passes. It's explained on myswissalps.com/ train/ticketspasses/ practical/chooserailpa ss. The explanation assumes traveling in Switzerland, but the process is the same for multiple countries. All pass info is available on myswissalps.com/ eurailglobalpass.

aussie
aussie
67 posts
active member
Jul 4, 2015 - 2:57 AM

Hello Arno. I was very surprised to hear that we could have used our 2nd class Swiss travel passes to do the William Tell boat and train combination. I remember reading that one had to up grade from 2nd to first to do this trip.. We didn't especially need lunch, and I'm sure that 2nd class seats would have been O.K. Did I misunderstand this? If so, I've wasted quite a bit of money. Too late now but I was surprised by your answer to the question about it.

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2015 - 8:41 AM in reply to aussie

Hi aussie,

Actually I told you about this option back in January (see here). It's also explained on the Wilhelm Tell Express page. I slightly modified the page to hopefully make it more clear.

You are never required to buy any upgrade if you have a Swiss Travel Pass. In case of the Glacier Express, for example, there's a pretty hefty reservation fee, but there are regular trains on the same route which do not require any reservation and allow you to see the same scenery. In case of the Wilhelm Tell Express it's even better as you can take the exact same train and boat, but in 2nd class and without reservations and lunch.

Did you already do your trip? Did you like it? A trip report is very welcome!

aussie
aussie
67 posts
active member
Jul 4, 2015 - 10:26 AM in reply to Arno

Sorry Arno. I thought that to do that trip (WilliamTell Express) I needed to upgrade. to first. class. Obviously I must have misread that. We are going to do that trip mid August, and will certainly write a review on it. I'm sure that it will be great..

Arno
Arno
7722 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 4, 2015 - 10:33 AM

You will do the luxurious version of the trip! Have a great time!

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