May 24, 2024

Train Travel in Europe – Train Delays and Cancellations: Who Pays the Extra Costs? – Espresso cash register


In order to preserve the climate, many people travel by train instead of plane. But who pays for lost connections and interruptions?

Train delay due to a fault: A Swiss family booked a high-speed train trip to Barcelona via Basel and Montpellier at the SBB office. But the train heading to Montpellier was stopped due to a malfunction and arrived more than two hours late. Of course the connection with Barcelona ended long ago. In the end, the family arrived in Barcelona a total of five hours late. European Passenger Rights stipulate that in such a case a 50 percent fee is charged for the entire route. But SBB says it will only compensate for the delayed TGV flight from Basel to Montpellier.

The train was canceled due to a landslide: In the second case, a young woman wants to take a train and bus to Belgrade to attend a concert. The ÖBB night train from Zurich to Vienna was canceled due to a landslide. The woman organizes an alternative flight via Munich the next day, where only first class tickets are available. Because of the outage, she missed a night at a hotel in Belgrade and lost her connections to the Flixbus bus. She also has to spend an unscheduled night in Budapest.

Who pays the additional costs? In the first case, it is clear to travel law expert Reto Enichen: if the entire journey is purchased at the SBB counter, the railway company will also have to pay for the entire route, according to European Passenger Rights. On the other hand, SBB told SRF consumer magazine “Espresso” that it has this in its system Small version Organized differently. However, railways must explicitly indicate such exception to customers at the counter and online, and be able to demonstrate it. Because this is often difficult, it is worth persisting in such cases.

When are additional costs not covered? In case the train is canceled due to a landslide, no one will compensate for the additional costs incurred. The train company only guarantees transportation from point A to point B. In the event of delay or cancellation, passengers are responsible for connecting flights themselves. In the event of a cancellation, you will only be covered by travel insurance, but in the event of a delay, the amount will usually not be paid. However, the responsible railway company must refund the canceled train ticket.

When do railway companies pay? If you are stranded in one place due to a train delay and can no longer take the train, the train company must pay for you to stay in a hotel with breakfast. Or continue your journey by taxi.

What to do if you lose connection? If you miss a connecting train due to a train delay, in most cases you can rebook yourself for the next available train at no extra cost. 16 European railway companies have signed the “Agreement on the Continuation of Travel in International Passenger Carriage by Rail (AJC)”. SBB offers Their website A good overview of national and international passenger rights.

What to do if you encounter problems while traveling by train? It is important to get written confirmation of what happened from the train attendant or the desk at your destination. For example: delay, cancellation or loss of a platform compartment on a night train. Then report the situation to the railway company from which you purchased the ticket. Caution: This should usually be done within three months.

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