Hi Mel, and welcome to MySwissAlps!
>> Would really appreciate it if you can check my calculation below,which indicates that i should utilize the Swiss Half Fare Card.
I suggest you check them again. I checked a couple at random, and it seems you have not been consistent in using the full fare in your calculations.
>> 1.Do we take the SBB from Luzern to Basel then change at Basel to the TGV-Lyria between Basel and Paris?
Yes, that is the standard route. You can plan your connections using the Swiss Timetable. It will show you where you have to transfer. There are connections involving just one transfer at Basel. Other connections involve an additional transfer in Switzerland or France:
>> 2.I read that we don't need to reserve any seats on the SBB except for the GEX. Thus, we just purchase the tickets at the ticket counters of the stations, except for GEX from Zermatt to Chur?
That's right. Reservations are the exception rather than the rule in Switzerland. You can buy tickets at the ticket counters or at multilingual ticket machines. You can also buy your Glacier Express ticket (as opposed to reservation) at the station if you want to.
>> 3.To do online GEX seat reservation with the intention to use the Half Fare Card.. How does it work?
The seat reservation costs the same regardless of what sort of ticket or pass you will be using to cover the cost of the trip. In April the reservation will cost CHF 33 per seat.
You can book the reservation by itself, or the half-fare ticket plus the reservation. When you get to the screen where you have to provide the names of travellers, under Reduction choose either:
- Own ticket - you will just pay CHF 33 for a reservation, and can buy your half-price ticket later at any station in Switzerland. You can make a reservation up to 3 months in advance of your travel date.
- Half-fare Card - you will pay for both a ticket and a reservation, but will have to wait until 2 months in advance of your travel date, as tickets are not available any earlier than 2 months beforehand.
>> I purchase the Half Fare Card online first then go to the GEX website to purchase both the tickets and the seat reservation?
You don't have to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card before making a reservation, as long as you have it (plus your half-price ticket) when you board the train.
>> Or just do the seat reservation online and leave the ticket purchase until we get to the station?
Yes, you can do this.
>> 4.If this is the case, winter departure is quite early and I don't want to rush.. Can we buy the ticket a couple of days earlier (when we arrive at Zermatt)?
>> 5.What is Zermatt Station's ticketing office operating hours? We may get into Zermatt only in the evening on the 6th.
The ticket office is open Mon–Sun 07:00-19:00.
You can buy the ticket at practically any station in Switzerland, not just Zermatt. When buying it, just make sure to choose Zermatt to Chur via Andermatt to get the correct route.