Swiss Travel Pass - changing start date issue

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3 posts
new member
Jul 24, 2017 - 10:46 PM

Hi Arno,

I booked my family's Swiss pass (through your link) and family card from 9th August, aligned to our original travel plans. We've now had a change of plans as a family member we were planning to meet is not available. When we asked the Swiss pass issuer to change the start date to an earlier one, they are making a big fuss and have asked us to pay a fee to have this changed.

Is there any way we can change the dates without a fee? I don't even understand why they have a start date. Isn't it common for travellers to change their minds. I didn't even see any conditions noted about this. I hoped that there was more flexibility.

Hope you can give me some guidance Arno!

Thanks in advance!


10496 posts
top member
Jul 25, 2017 - 6:47 AM in reply to LisaT

Hi Lisa,

I'm sorry to hear about your travel plan changes. It is, unfortunately, normal for companies to have a change or cancellation fee if you change the dates after a purchase.

If you booked it from a company listed on our web page here (for example Swiss railways) there is the Terms and Conditions link on the bottom of this page that outlines the standard cancellation and change fees etc.

I think the reason they have a start date on the Swiss Travel Pass is to avoid having rail passes out in public floating around for years without being redeemed as it is outstanding revenue with their sales department.

In the end it is up to the rail company you bought it from to decide on whether to waive the change fee for you. I would guess sometimes they are more flexible then they seem to be at the moment but sometimes they aren't.


12328 posts
expert &
Jul 25, 2017 - 3:51 PM

Hi Lisa,

That's indeed unfortunate! For train passes, an 85% refund applies if cancelled. I don't think I've come across other percentages yet, apart from situations where companies may waive the fee on a case by case basis as Lucas explained.

There is a manual process involved in cancelling and issuing passes, so that might be another reason one has to pay for that. It is common in most of the travel industry to charge for changes to be made, whether it is airline tickets, train tickets or complete holiday packages. There are train tickets (not passes) that can be changed for free, but those are the higher priced tickets often referred to as "flexible". So again this "service" comes with a price.

I can only hope that cancellation and changes become cheaper as more of the purchase and issuing process gets automated. But I don't know as that's up to the retailers and particularly the Swiss Railways.

As for why passes have a start date: I think, and this is just a guess based on my experience, that open dated passes and flexible passes cause issues too. E.g. when people forget to fill out a date and board trains anyway, or fill it out the wrong way.

Enjoy your trip in any case!

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