If you are booking a seat on a European train journey, it really helps to have a greater understanding of seating plans.
Take a seat. That’s all most of us want to do when we board a train. Get our luggage tucked away, open a book, enjoy a macchiato or a Merlot and watch the world go by. When you buy a train ticket with us, in many cases you will be offered the chance to choose a seating preference. Window, aisle, table seats and, in some cases, upper deck or lower deck. Vibrating seats to massage you between Manchester and Montpellier, not so much.
How to bag your best seats
We aren’t going to pretend this is easy. There is a bit of an art to getting a specific train seat, or selection of seats that you are happy with. Follow these SEATS instructions below when buying a ticket on our booking platform.
Select the tickets you want on our booking page.
Expand the times you have chosen to see if these are the types of ticket you want in terms of flexibility.
Access your ticket details by pressing the pink button with ‘Ticket details’ jumping out at you. If the relevant train operator lets you book a preference, this is where you will see the choice of ‘window’, ‘table’ and so on*.
Take the tickets you want and add them to your basket. You will not be charged at this stage.
See your seat allocations by pressing on the tab labelled Times and Seats.There you will see your carriage and seat numbers listed for all the passengers you have selected tickets for.
*Note: Train operators’ seating plans can change at the last minute and we take no responsibility for any change of seating undertaken by a train operator. Even if you choose a preference, you are never guaranteed to get these.
What if I am not happy with my seat allocations?
Before purchase: The best way to change is to do so before actually buying the tickets that you have put in your basket. When you have seen your carriage and seat allocations, as detailed above, you can refer to seating plans listed in our detailed Help article and double check if your corresponding seats do the trick. If they don’t, just remove the tickets from your basket and start the process all over again. These tickets have been reserved for you as long as they are in your basket, so this is why you need to remove them altogether.
After purchase: If you have already bought the tickets, then you can change them if they are flexible tickets that allow you to do so. Then you go through the same process as above. Read more about flexible tickets here. In addition, if you have bought Eurostar tickets on our website, you can change your seat on Eurostar’s website, following the instructions in this article. If you have bought Deutsche Bahn tickets on with us, you can change your seat on Deutsche Bahn’s website, following instructions in this article. If you mobility and other access needs, please read our blogs on Accessible Travel in UK and Europe and Accessible travel in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
What if I am travelling on a double decker train?
As with all rail tickets, if a rail operator offers the facility to choose a specific seat we will be able to share this with you. In the case of European double decker trains, TGV Duplex trains travelling within France do allow you to choose an upstairs or downstairs preference. However, if you are travelling from France into Spain, de nada. Sorry. Except, here is one of our Travel Geek team’s favourite tips: Seat numbers 61 and above on the Renfe-SNCF TGV Duplex are on the upper deck. You can’t choose them in advance, but you can see which ones you have chosen when you follow our SEATS tips above.
Will we always be seated together if we are travelling in a group?
Our system’s default is to seat people together who have booked together, depending on availability. Check your seat numbers as above to confirm if this has been possible.
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