Why did the ticket price suddenly increase or decrease?

Have you seen a sudden price increase in some tickets? Or have they suddenly become cheaper after you made your booking?

Why does this happen?

The answer is simple really. Just like most airlines and hotels do, European rail operators use ‘yield management’ to price their tickets and to optimise for capacity. This essentially means that each seat on a train is placed in an invisible pricing category. Then there are staff working around the clock to observe booking patterns and change the prices to maximise the profits. As we do not price our own tickets, we have no control or influence over this process. Instead, we just get to be spectators.

Example

Let’s say assume that a train has seven price categories in second class. Category One seats are sold at the lowest price possible, are not refundable and have a fare name called Prem’s. Category Two seats are sold in a slightly higher price range - around €20 more expensive but they still have the same fare so they aren’t refundable. Then comes Category Three in which the seats are almost double the price of Category One, yet the fare name has changed to Loisir and the tickets are refundable for a fee. This kind of pattern continues until we reach Category Seven, where a ticket costs almost ten times as much as in Category One (€220 instead of €25), yet the fare name has now changed to Pro and the ticket is fully refundable. As each seating category sells out, the next one becomes available, meaning that the price will also increase.

How does this apply to me?

This means that the tickets you had originally seen for a certain price have been sold. These tickets would also have happened to be the last ones in their pricing category. So unfortunately you will now only see tickets for a higher price.

Or, you may suddenly see cheaper tickets a few hours/days/weeks after you made your booking. This shows that the the rail operator has released some lower priced seats (to optimise for capacity and suit the demand) because the train wasn’t filling up as quickly as they had hoped. 

Unfortunately there isn’t much that we can do in these situations as we have absolutely no control over the prices or how they are subject to change. So we cannot lower the prices of your tickets or refund you the difference.

I am booking for two passengers. The tickets are separately much cheaper than when booking together?

You might have noticed that sometimes in a reservation for two or more the individual ticket price is higher than when booking just for a single person. This is because there will generally only be one seat left in a lower pricing category. So when booking for a single passenger you are allocated this price. Though if booking for two (or more) the rail operator will automatically bump up all passengers into a higher pricing category. If you would like to avoid this, you can just make separate reservations. Though please be aware that we cannot guarantee that you will be sitting next to each other.