Booking Gotthard Panorama on-line

Booking Gotthard Panorama on-line

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rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2017 - 5:20 AM

Hi Folks,

I hope to take the Gotthard Panorama from Lugano to Lucern on Sunday 28 May but am having great difficulty figuring out how to book on-line. I'm in Australia.

I have been to your www.myswissalps.com/go tthardpanoramaexpress/ packages but the Happy Rail website only offers the option to buy a seat reservation to Fluellen. It must assume I have a Swiss Pass but in fact will be using a Swiss Half Fare Card. The 3 day 1st class Flex Pass doesn't seem to be economical for my needs.

I've checked out the SBB booking site but cannot find any reference to a train/boat combination.

The timetable shown at www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holidays/holidays--short-breaks-in-switzerland/scenic-trains/gotthard-panorama-express.html indicates the weekend service departs Bellinzona. Does this mean I need a separate ticket Lugano to Bellinoza?

www.railplus.com.au/eu rope-by-rail/swiss-scenic-trains/gotthard-panorama-express/prices-info.htm is not much use as it says **Seat reservations for open ticket & rail pass holders are compulsory however can only be reserved locally at the train station until further notice.**

Confused Aussie.

Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 19, 2017 - 9:27 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi rockoyster,

There is no included seat reservation on the boat (from Flüelen to Luzern) that is why the reservation is from Lugano/Bellinzona to Flüelen only. So feel free to book the reservation with Happy Rail and use your Half-fare card on the ticket itself.

Yes, you will need a separate train to Bellinzona. This train does not connect Bellinzona and Lugano until July 3rd.

Does this help clarify everything for you? You can either buy the actual ticket online and indicate you have the half-fare card or buy it once in country as you will already have the reservation.

Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2017 - 9:35 AM in reply to Lucas

Thanks Lucas. That helps a lot.

kecci
kecci
2 posts
new member
Mar 7, 2017 - 3:37 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi it seems I am another confused Australian trying to book the Gotthard Express from Lugano to Lucerne 20th May.

Through our agent we approached the train companies in Australia who all say they cannot book this leg. I have a Swiss F class rail pass for myself and my mother, we have reached the point of Lugano and now we would like to book the Gotthard Express on 20th May.

I am trying to understand how we can make the booking on the proper scenic train F class.

Also we need to book from Lugano to Bellizona on 20th morning.

I understood that both these trains and the boat are complimentary on this pass, but we have to make a reservation so there may be a small charge there.

I would really appreciate some help on exactly how we can book both these trains for the 20th of May.

With thanks,

Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 7, 2017 - 4:42 PM in reply to kecci

Hi Kecci,

I haven't heard of an F class rail pass before but if it covers the Gotthard Panorama route then indeed you just need to make reservations which can be done here.

Let me know if that doesn't work for you or you have more concerns.

Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 7, 2017 - 9:06 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas, I think Kecci means 1st Class by "F class".

Hi Kecci,

I never managed to make the Happy Rails reservation booking work. We decided that after doing the Glacier and Bernina Express Panoramics that Gotthard might be overkill so we have opted for the direct Lugano to Luzern Express via the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Takes less that 2 hours for the whole trip so gives us more time in Lugano or Lucerne depending on what time of day we choose to travel. We decided that rather than catching the Ferry at Fluelen we would simply do a Lake cruise out of Luzern. Also less hassle carting luggage by avoiding changes at Bellinzona and Fluelen.

Back to Panorama-land if you go to fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/qu ery.exe/en and put in Bellinzona to Luzern departing 10:00 on 20 May you will get a number of options. The 11.27 am departure says "Special train 2892 Gotthard Panorama Express Direction: Luzern Bahnhofquai". If you follow through on that you should be able to make reservations. Use the same site to book from Lugano to Bellinzona.

kecci
kecci
2 posts
new member
Mar 8, 2017 - 5:49 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you Rockoyster, your right, it was midnight and I wrote it quickly, yes I did mean first class on the swiss Travel pass.

I too debated about going on the express and more time in Lucerne as we are doing all train throughout , in addition to Glacier, Bernina we are doing Mattherhorn and Jungfraujoch, this was the last of the main train trips for us. I think I will stick with it if I can book it, but all your points are valid, I have thought out the same, uggage etc, outweighing that is I am with my mum and not something we will do again for this region so I am biting the bullet and going to go on it.

It is a challenging system to work out let me say. So we think we can make the reservation now on the link provided thankyou, but no idea what seats we will get. Then another cost to book up to Bellizona, even though we are covered by our pass.

Lucas thank you for responding so quickly.

Will let you know how I go.

Where did you end up finding for accomodation in Zematt? st moritz/lugano/luzern? Saw a lovely one in St Moritz but we are there too short a time,

rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 8, 2017 - 6:02 AM in reply to kecci

Hi Kecci,

We have made tentative accommodation reservations via bookings.com Just sought out central locations in each city. Itinerary looks like Basel(2)-Brig(1)-Glacier Express-Chur(1)-Bernina Express-Lugano(5)-Gotthard Base Tunnel Express-Lucern(5)-Voralpen Express-Constance(4)-Wurzburg(4)-Frankfurt(2).

Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 8, 2017 - 8:58 AM in reply to kecci

Hi Kecci,

F class meaning 1st class makes so much sense this morning after a coffee. haha.

You can also make reservations on your trains here if you are having trouble.

We also have a list of recommended hotels on our information pages for Zermatt, St. Moritz and Luzern if you are still searching for that as well.

All the best!

Lucas

Last modified on Mar 8, 2017 - 8:59 AM by Lucas
rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 18, 2017 - 12:34 AM

Hi Lucas,

My wife and I had originally planned to travel on the GPE last weekend in May. But after having great difficulty working out how to make a reservation and having already done the Glacier and Bernina Expresses in the preceding week we decided we might just take the Gotthard Base Tunnel express from Lugano to Luzern to give us more time in Luzern.

Now having second thoughts after reading Kecci's comments above.

I have tried making reservations Bellinzona to Luzern via Happy Rails and SBB websites. I can figure out how to get a reservation but neither methods seem to offer actual seat selection in the same way GEX and Bernina do.

The SBB site says "Compartment and seat requests cannot always be taken into account. If the requested seats are not available, the best available seats will be reserved instead." This is on the screen which asks for seating preferences (compartment/open/window/aisle - not actual seat numbers).

Do you just pay for the reservation and then receive a ticket telling you which seats you have been allocated? If we just take pot luck how can we be sure that we will even have seats in the same carriage?

We are happy to skip the boat trip from Fluelen to Luzern. So am wondering if we would see exactly the same scenery if we took the 11:19 From Lugano via Bellinoza, Airolo and Göschenen with one change at Erstfeld then on to Luzern. See attached.

Given that we are not really interested in the boat trip would we miss much by taking this connection instead of the actual GPE? At least we'd see much more than going via the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Please login to see the attached documents
rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 18, 2017 - 6:17 AM

Hi Lucas,

Supplementary question to my earlier post. Is it even possible to book only the GPE train leg from Bellinzona to Fluelen or is the GPE the complete journey including the boat trip?

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 18, 2017 - 8:03 AM

Hi Rockoyster,

The boat can't be reserved, seat reservations only apply to the train leg. You can certainly book seats for Bellinzona to Flüelen. The price may be the same though as it's just a reservation, not a ticket. Please see myswissalps.com/gottha rdpanoramaexpress/pack ages for seat booking links.

rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 18, 2017 - 9:11 PM in reply to Arno

Hi Arno,

Thanks for getting back to me. That makes sense. Would you mind casting an eye over my full set of questions in the post preceding the one you answered. I am particularly interested to know how you find out what seats you have been allocated when you make a reservation on the GPE and in particular how you ensure that couples get to sit together.

Regards,

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 19, 2017 - 9:39 AM

Hi Rockoyster,

Sorry I missed those questions. Note that you don't need to book all the way to Lucerne. That will get you trains only, no boat, and mostly the quickest trains through the tunnel. You need to book the train section only: Bellinzona to Flüelen. I highly recommend the boat section, but if you want to skip it the 11:19 train gets you the same scenery. It's a regular train, no need to book seats. I'm not even sure if seats can be booked for that train.

Seat selection is not available for all trains. If you book multiple seats they will always allocate adjoining seats unless they're not available. The seat and carriage number are printed on the reservation.

Last modified on Mar 19, 2017 - 9:39 AM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 19, 2017 - 10:36 PM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno. When I make a reservation do I select "Stand-alone (1st Class only)" for both passengers in the seating preferences if I want two single window (1 x 1) seats as opposed to two window seats on the 2 x 2 side of the train?

Lucas
Lucas
8906 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 20, 2017 - 8:56 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster,

I'm not sure what website you are using or what you get exactly with those options. Perhaps contacting them directly is best.

On the Happyrail site listed here you can enter your preferences in the Route box, e.g. "Bellinzona - Fluelen, 1st class window seats". That's not a guarantee but they will do their best.

Regards,
Lucas

rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 20, 2017 - 9:12 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

I am using the SBB Ticket Shop. We have seat reservations now for Bellinzona - Luzern Bahnhofquai. I selected "Stand-alone (1st Class only)" and ended up with two window seats on the Bellinzona - Fleulen leg with consecutive numbers. I guess we will find out whether they are what we wanted when we see the actual carriage. Why doesn't the GPE booking system work like the Glacier or Bernina or Golden Pass booking sites where you can actually see what seats you are reserving? That's a rhetorical question unless anyone from SBB is following this thread.

I am yet to figure out how to buy a ticket from the SBB Ticket shop for the trip. Once you have made the reservation it does not offer the option to purchase a ticket. When you go to buy a ticket it insists you must make a reservation first (I already did that). An endless loop.

I guess I will just drop into the station when I am in Luzern and purchase a ticket there.

Question: If I have a 2nd Class Swiss Travel Pass and want to travel on the GPE 1st class is the upgrade price just the difference between the 2nd class ticket and the 1st class ticket?

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 20, 2017 - 9:31 AM in reply to rockoyster

HI Rockoyster,

Those booking systems are indeed not identical, but I don't know why. Note that the SBB site is primarily for Swiss residents, so it's not always ideal when it comes to buying tickets as a tourist. The Happyrail site is selling both the reservation and the ticket.

Indeed the upgrade is half the price difference. You will need to buy the upgrade locally, but they don't sell out so that's no problem.

Last modified on Mar 20, 2017 - 12:27 PM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
3924 posts
expert
Mar 20, 2017 - 9:40 AM in reply to Arno

Thanks Arno. Apologies if I sounded frustrated with the domestic SBB site. I couldn't make sense of the Happy rails website. It must be old age.

Arno
Arno
11161 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 20, 2017 - 12:28 PM in reply to rockoyster

You're most welcome, and absolutely no problem! Enjoy the ride!

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