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Seat reservations on the Bernina Express

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rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Jan 25, 2020 - 7:26 PM

I just wanted to share my experience with making seat reservations on the Bernina Express (BEX).

Seat reservations ARE mandatory to travel on the BEX. You can find out how to make reservations at www.myswissalps.com/berninaexpress/tickets.

If you scroll right down to the bottom of that page you will find some links under “More Information” to pages on the RhB (operators of the BEX) website. The second link takes you to the page where you can make seat reservations AND choose your preferred seats. None of the options higher up the page give you that option. They just try to group people together, but which side of the train you end up on is pot luck.

My experience with bookings for the BEX on the RhB website is that the seats at the top of the seating plan are on the right heading south. The location of the drivers seat used to be shown on the BEX bus. This was a bit of a giveaway as to direction of travel but is no longer shown. The gap in the middle of the new bus plan suggests that is the right side of the bus. I am pretty sure that seats 12/18 (the numbering system is weird) are directly behind the driver and therefore on the preferred left side of the bus heading from Tirano to Lugano. Seats 14/16 are the exciting seats with a driver’s eye view of the rapidly-appproaching, impossibly narrow gaps the bus squeezes through in in the latter stages of the trip.

If you are travelling with a 2nd Class Swiss Travel Pass but want to travel 1st Class on any particular trip (including the BEX) you can buy a Class upgrade at any SBB station or using the SBB Mobile App (bit.ly/2ICIUHi ) or here bit.ly/2rZEIXh. You need to buy a route specific class upgrade. If you buy on line you need to nominate a Half-fare Card reduction to get the correct price (using either website of SBB app). An upgrade will cost half the difference between 1st and 2nd class full-fares.

Rail Europe
Anna
Anna
941 posts
top member &
moderator
Jan 25, 2020 - 7:37 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks for sharing, rockoyster.

Regards,

Anna

Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 13, 2020 - 10:25 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you Rock Oyster that will be helpful and thank you for all your help with my earlier questions about the Glacier Express. We have decided to travel the Glacier Express from Zermatt to Chur and will be travelling on a Eurail Global pass does that cover the BEX from Chur too?

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 13, 2020 - 10:49 PM in reply to Paymac99

Yes the BEX is covered (apart from seat reservations of course). See www.myswissalps.com/eurailglobalpass/validity.

Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2020 - 12:58 AM

Thanks again. We travel in September can you please advise what is the earliest we can buy Eurail Global pass as I know you can book the GE 3 months in advance and BEX 2 months

Cheers

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 1:42 AM in reply to Paymac99

You can book the BEX 6 months in advance. You don’t need to already be in possession of the Eurail Global Pass in order to make a seat reservations. Just as long as the pass is valid when you board the trains.

Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2020 - 3:36 AM

Wow thank you this is info they don't make clear on the website. Is it the same for the GE?

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 4:08 AM in reply to Paymac99

The reservations process for the GEX and the BEX are pretty similar. But for some reason the BEX is open 6 months in advance and the GEX only 3. You don’t need to have a pass in order to buy any seat reservations. They don’t know whether you have a pass or a ticket until you get on board.

Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2020 - 4:10 AM

Thank you so much for all your assistance rockoyster our train system is not as sophisticated here in Australia cheers

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 14, 2020 - 4:16 AM in reply to Paymac99

You’re lucky on the mainland. I’m in Tasmania and we don’t even have a train system. LOL.

Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 14, 2020 - 5:52 AM

Lol

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 19, 2020 - 5:01 AM in reply to rockoyster

You can make reservation on the Bernina Express up to 6 months out from your travel date. The Glacier Express by comparison is limited to 3 months out. It seem that you have to make reservations for the train and the bus sections as two separate transactions. Seems odd but there you have it. I’ve tried booking through from Chur to Lugano but could never make it work.

You can actually reserve seats on the train, put that in the shopping cart then reserve seats on the bus and put that in the shopping cart and then pay for both items in the cart in one transaction.

Once you have selected seats you need to fill in passenger details and select a reduction if you have your own ticket or pass. See attached. You don’t need to have already purchased a pass to claim the reduction.

There is no option for the Swiss Family Card so if you have kids you can just nominate “No Ticket”. It doesn’t really matter what option you select at this point if you just want a seat reservation. Just so long as it is an option which leaves you with just the reservation cost and no ticket costs AND you have the correct ticket/pass when you board the train.

Last modified on Feb 19, 2020 - 5:21 AM by rockoyster
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Paymac99
Paymac99
11 posts
new member
Feb 19, 2020 - 10:49 AM

Thank you for the info we will travel with our Eurail Pass from Zermatt to Chur and Ive bookmarked the date so I can book the seats for GE

Cheers

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