raileurope australia totally unhelpful

raileurope australia totally unhelpful

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Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 30, 2016 - 1:29 PM

There was a promo a few weeks ago with $90 discount. The website for raileurope australia had technical issues and I was unable to score the discount and 5 emails to them proved fruitless. When they finally fixed the site, the page froze and I was unable again to buy the swiss pass for 2 people with promo discount. When I wrote to them again, they said the promo code could not be applied because it had expired. No effort to help me at all. Do not book through them.They deserve no business after that appalling treatment.

Now, slowpoke, and anybody else please tell me which is indeed the best pass for me and I will buy it through the official site as soon as i hear from you.

I arrive in Zurich day 1 Sept 7 and head straight for Appenzell, day 2 and 3 back to Lucerne ( hoping to do steamer and Rigi), then head day 4 to Lugano, staying overnight. Day 5 going to Pontresina for 2 nights where they have the Engadin card. Day 7 we move on to Zermatt for 2 nights then day 9 go to Bern for 3 nights and do day trips, then to Geneva for 2 nights then depart on 20th Sept in morning. (we will not get 15 days use from my calculation) and those passes are so dear!!

Do I get 15 days continuous or 8 days in a month. We won't get to visit too many museums but wish to do the train highlights and get best value boat and trams and buses. I have booked most hotels except Lugano and 3rd day in Bern. I was thinking of stopping in Lauterbrunnen instead, but the thought of lugging bags is putting me off. I know you have to book the panoramic trips, but I am hoping from Sept 7 it won't be too busy.

please offer suggestions i need to buy that pass urgently. I will listen carefully as i enjoy reading the expert's posts.

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 30, 2016 - 3:15 PM

Hi Mirike123,

First of all, welcome to MySwissAlps! Second: I'm sorry to hear about your experience with them. They indeed had a technical issue during the last days of that promo. They fixed it and extended it for a couple of days when we notified them (see this thread). I don't know what exactly happened in your case but I understand your disappointment.

Pass prices in other currencies than CHF frequently change, but when looking at the Australian prices today, you would only save a little (about AU$ 13 p.p.) in case of an AU$ 90 discount on two 15-day Swiss Travel Passes. I compared with the prices of the SBB tourist web shop at www.swissrailways.com/ en. You can find prices and retailers here: myswissalps.com/ swisstravelpass/ price.

Now, as for the pass: a Swiss Travel Pass Flex is relatively expensive. It will cost you more, per day, than a Swiss Travel Pass. Apart from the price, 8 days won't be enough for you, assuming you will travel every day (day trips included). I don't know whether your hotel in Pontresina will provide a pass that also includes buses and trains, or just mountain railways and cable cars. If not, a Swiss Travel Pass might still be convenient to have. Another option is the Swiss Half Fare Card: 50% off nearly all tickets.

So, I would pick either the Swiss Travel Pass for 15 days or the Swiss Half Fare Card. If you want to know the exact price difference you need to make calculations. The below links provide all details.

Note that hotels in Geneva offer free public transport as well, but only within the city: myswissalps.com/ geneva/travel.

Both suggested passes can be printed at home through the official web shop at www.swissrailways.com/ en. After filling out your address, they will show the delivery options. Pick "Online Ticket" from the bottom of the list. They will e-mail the pass (no delivery fees) within 1 to 3 business days, so be sure to order in time.

Does this help?

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
318 posts
top member
Aug 30, 2016 - 3:18 PM in reply to Mirike123

Hello and welcome to the forum.

Sorry your experience trying to buy a pass was so stressful.

I am not an expert but do have experience with travel passes!

I have just used the timetable to find out costs of point-to-point tickets for your rail trips from base to base and trip to Rigi and roughly it would come to 660 chf. (second class) A second class 15 day Swiss Travel Pass is 440 chf. So it would certainly be worth buying that pass (nb Rigi trip is fully covered by pass) Any further side trips by train, bus and boat would also be covered (not sure about boats on Lake Lugano - I know Lake Maggiore is not covered, but other lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lucerne, Thunersee and Brienzersee are.) You would also get 50% discount on mountain rides (except Jungfraujoch which is free as far as Grindelwald/Wengen then 25% discount from there. You have the convenience of not needing to buy tickets on main routes though of course a few post bus rides and the panoramic trains require reservations - you can find details using the sbb timetable. The Engadine card from your hotel gives you free rides on local mountain transport.

So my advice (personal choice of course) is to go for the 15 day Swiss Travel Pass.

Enjoy your trip.

Maggie

franklin
franklin
2 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 7:46 AM in reply to Mirike123

I purchased a Jungfrau pass through Viator - very simple, print at home and much more straightforward than raileurope australia.

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 9:32 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks so very much for your swift and helpful responses, especially Maggie for taking the time to calculate how much i would be spending on tickets. That was over and beyond helpful. My annoyance with RAIL EUROPE AUSTRALIA is still profound especially when it was their error. I was hoping they would do the right thing and contact me but no!!

Please be kind enough to tell me which website is the clearest for train timetable or is there a great app for the phone( is it the sbb timetable?. We will only be using hotel's wifi and there are some of the trips that we obviously need to reserve, such as Glacier and Bernini Express.Is there a page that clearly translates the abbreviations?

What is the quickest and laziest way to get to and from Ebenalp from Appenzell without having to excessively hike. Being our first stop, I don't want to kill my legs. Not so young any more. Do you have to book the restaurant at the top or just front up?

What temps can one expect in mid September? I really want this to be an amazing trip and the more I am prepared the better it will be.

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 9:40 AM in reply to maggiehorswell

thanks so much for being so helpful. I am a senior writer on tripadvisor and know how invaluable feedback is. It is my bible, as it were. I like to help others to enjoy or avoid hotels, restaurants, experiences etc.... so thanks so much for all your help. what would you say is your most invaluable tip for trains in Switzerland? Knowing my itinerary, what would you say is doubling up on an experience? what i mean is when we were in the South of France with car, we visited a number of gorgeous hilltop villages. It got to a point where they all started to resemble one another. Hubby said that he wanted more variety, so we ended up visiting aqueducts, beautiful homes, amphitheatres, museums and other things.

any advice is welcome....

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2016 - 9:55 AM in reply to Mirike123

You're welcome Mirike123! You'll find the timetable (do read the explanations!) and several apps here:

The Glacier and Bernina Express are often abbreviated as GEX and BEX.

If you need solid mobile internet, please have a look here: myswissalps.com/ simcard.

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 11:56 AM in reply to Arno

I have just purchased thru swiss railways as you suggested, picked online ticket and the final comment was tickets will be sent up to 3 weeks before travel. Now this is confusing and I am surprised that they did not give a receipt number.

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2016 - 1:40 PM in reply to Mirike123

The 3 weeks only applies to people ordering well in advance. Your travel date is near so you'll receive the passes soon. You should have received a confirmation e-mail. No worries, lots of people order there.

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 2:03 PM in reply to Arno

Definitely did not get a confirmation email, but I am sure money was taken. I have read the walk up to Ebenalp is quite a hike but the views are a great reward for the effort. I love to see things that we don't see at home. Home is Sydney Australia......we don't have mountains like yours...we have the glorious beaches.

Tell me do you have to have a rail travel pass in hand before you can reserve a seat on Bernini and Glacier express? Do i need to wait for the email to arrive with passes?

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Aug 31, 2016 - 2:16 PM in reply to Arno

I wish to reserve a seat on the BerninaExpress on Sunday 11th September from Lugano to Pontresina.

Why am I not seeing BEX anywhere on the timetable? How many times a day does it go on Sundays and how much is it to reserve an adult seat?

What am I doing wrong?

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 31, 2016 - 2:42 PM in reply to Mirike123

If you didn't get a confirmation e-mail there's something wrong with the order or your e-mail (spam filter perhaps). Please check with them as explained here.

You can book seats at any time, you don't need a pass for that: myswissalps.com/ berninaexpress/ tickets. You need to reserve the bus (Lugano to Tirano, just one or two per day) and the train (Tirano to Pontresina) separately.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Aug 31, 2016 - 11:49 PM in reply to Mirike123

Hi Mirike123-

I have been to Ebenalp once or twice.

Appenzell is a nice place to walk around, and have lunch on the main square.

You take the train from Appenzell to Wasserauen.....no reservations. Get off and run for the cable way that goes up...or wait for the next one.

Once you get to the top, you will have bit of a climb to the restaurant. Up several tens of meters on an easy trail. Maybe 100 meters....memory fails me. They'll be happy to see you. No reservations needed.

Check the timetable for schedule :

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

Those cable "cars" leave every 15 minutes.

We enjoyed our visit there, especially the walk to the chapel and small guesthouse on the cliff.

Lots of parasails from that location. Fun to see the sky full of fliers.

On balance, many other Swiss mountain locations are more spectacular, but this one is fun.

Don't try to make the climb on foot from Wasserauen....unless you are very fit.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Aug 31, 2016 - 11:52 PM by Slowpoke
Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Sep 1, 2016 - 3:29 AM in reply to Slowpoke

slowpoke thanks so much for your detailed response. i have read many of your posts and they are always so very helpful.

You are truly an expert.

Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Sep 1, 2016 - 3:43 AM in reply to Arno

No confirmation email but pending money transaction on bank statement from Switzerland Travel centre. Do I still need to check?

Mirike123

Arno
Arno
7719 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 1, 2016 - 6:24 AM in reply to Mirike123

Ok, that might be the reason you didn't receive the e-mail yet. I'd still check with them as your travel date is close.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Sep 1, 2016 - 6:48 AM in reply to Mirike123

Hi Mirike123

Thanks for the compliment.

<<"I arrive in Zurich day 1 Sept 7 and head straight for Appenzell, day 2 and 3 back to Lucerne ( hoping to do steamer and Rigi), then head day 4 to Lugano, staying overnight. Day 5 going to Pontresina for 2 nights where they have the Engadin card. Day 7 we move on to Zermatt for 2 nights then day 9 go to Bern for 3 nights and do day trips, then to Geneva for 2 nights then depart on 20th Sept in morning. (we will not get 15 days use from my calculation) and those passes are so dear!!">

You are doing a lot of traveling. Your itinerary includes quite a bit of time in cities. I tend to stay in the smaller towns and villages.... making sure that I have good public transport available. That is easy in Switzerland, even if the public transport in the more rural area has thinned out a bit, because so many people have cars these days.

And, it is rare to find a place where no English is spoken, although I don't know if they speak 'Strine, mate. Just joking....there are a lot of Aussies and New Zealanders traveling to Switzerland.

Certainly, your pattern of staying more than one night in almost every location makes a lot of sense. I'd favor Luzern over Bern, although Bern should not be missed. Luzern has the lake and nearby mountains.

If pressed for time, I'd (just my very personal opinion) eliminate Lugano or Geneva and add to Luzern. And, if i were staying two night on Lake Geneva (Lac Leman) , I'd favor Montreux over Geneva.

There is good train service to Geneva airport from Montreux. Four per hour. The ones at xx23 and xx48 take 1hr 16 or 1hr 21 minutes with no change of train.

Bern has a wonderful old town....which is only a few centuries old after a major fire and rebuild after 1405.

As written, you seem to have missed the Jungfrau region, although perhaps that is included in the day trips from Bern. Certainly, that is the single most well known and, in my opinion, spectacular region in all of Switzerland. It is certainly wise to have flexibility in the Bernese Oberland, because the weather..... clouds that can completely obscure viewing....can change rapidly. That is quite unpredictable more than 48 hours ahead of time....even 24 hours. The Alps make their own weather.

As a consequence, I'd stay at Interlaken (if you want to travel widely from that base). Bern is only about an hour from Interlaken Ost. Or, instead and much preferred, stay in one of the villages in the valley(s) - Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren, or (on the valley floor) Lauterbrunnen.

If you travel there from Bern you are on the order of about an hour and a half or two hours from starting a journey up to the heights. The weather can shift unexpectedly in that time.

I like Wengen. Here is a little light reading about Wengen (and the region):

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim/page/2

Luggage-

<<"I have booked most hotels except Lugano and 3rd day in Bern. I was thinking of stopping in Lauterbrunnen instead, but the thought of lugging bags is putting me off. I know you have to book the panoramic trips, but I am hoping from Sept 7 it won't be too busy.">>

I'm sorry to hear that an experienced traveler such as yourself is carrying so much luggage that it controls your ability to see some of the best scenery. Shame on you! ;-)

However, the Swiss have some help for you. There are various ways ( you might call them schemes) to deal with that. Luggage can be reliably sent ahead for various costs and with various timings. Interlaken Ost is one of the stations that participates in the faster luggage transfer schemes.

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/lugg age-and-flight-luggage.html

You could, for example, stay a night or two in the Jungfrau region while your heavy luggage goes ahead of you to Bern.

Also, Interlaken Ost is generously equipped with luggage lockers accessible 24 hours per day:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/bahnhof-finden.posid.7492.html

with 101 large and 36 small ones.

The left luggage offices at many stations are not open late, so if you are shipping luggage ahead, watch for that. You pick up shipped luggage at the left luggage offices.

At IO, the left luggage office is open from 0700 to 1830 seven days of the week.

At Bern: 0800 to 1900 on weekdays and Saturday, 1000 -1900 on Sunday.

I have used the luggage shipment services many times for large bags. When I used to travel to Switzerland on business, with holiday time afterwards, I'd have two sets of clothes/hiking boots, etc. or suits, etc, and ship one or the other to a country village or to the airport at the end of the trip. Completely reliable.

As with all things Swiss, you pay for good service, so keep an eye on the prices. I tend to use the slowest one.

The panoramic trip in the Jungfrau region that you must book is the one from Kleine Scheidegg up to Jungfraujoch. All others do not require reservations.

www.myswissalps.com/ju ngfrauregion

Do you have specific day trips in mind from Bern?

Why did you choose Lugano? Geneva? Do you have specifics in mind?

Slowpoke

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Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Sep 1, 2016 - 2:27 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks again for a great clear and useful response. We have 1 suitcase each, travelling light but a suitcase nevertheless. We need to fly out of Geneva to our next generation and Lugano because I was told it is rather pretty. You are right that not enough time will be spent in Bernese Oberland. I am keen to visit Gruyeres from Bern and Montreux from Geneva. Can't do it all... What do u think?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
2656 posts
expert
Sep 1, 2016 - 3:19 PM in reply to Mirike123

Hi Mirike123

Lugano is indeed rather pretty. Good Italian food. Nice lake boat ride. Nice lakeside villages.

We went once and would not go back.

Mutual opinion - nice, but not necessary

If I had a choice between time in the BO and Lugano, my personal preference would be to skip Lugano.

It is a significant distance from your other interests, and the BO is orders of magnitude more worthwhile.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Sep 1, 2016 - 3:33 PM by Slowpoke
Mirike123
Mirike123
17 posts
new member
Sep 2, 2016 - 12:08 AM in reply to Slowpoke

I appreciate your honesty about Lugano. You are not the first to show preferences to the BO. I will take this on board and make more time in that gorgeous region. I am really excited about the pending trip and hope the weather will be kind.

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