Fare filters: What is ‘cheapest’ , ‘semi-flex’ and ‘flexible’ ?
Insider tip: If you want to avoid non-refundable or non-exchangeable tickets, always use the semi-flex or flexible tab. This way you will only receive tickets that have more flexible exchange and refund conditions.
The three categories: refundable, refundable with fees and non-refundable
During your ticket search, you can use the three different filter tabs to adjust your fare conditions. You’ll also note that the price may increase along with fare flexibility.
Once you have clicked on a ticket, you’ll be able to view more details about the fare conditions on the right hand side
- The Cheapest tab offers the lowest priced tickets available. Depending on the individual ticket conditions, some tickets may be exchanged or refunded or may be non-refundable or non-exchangeable.
- The Semi-flex tab offers tickets that may be exchanged or refunded (depending on their individual conditions) a certain time prior to departure and/or for a small fee. Tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged after train departure.
- The Flexible tab offers tickets that can be exchanged or refunded at any time before departure without added costs or restrictions. Tickets cannot be refunded or exchanged after train departure, unless stated in the fare conditions.
Open versus fixed departure tickets
There are some rail operators that offer certain tickets that automatically have open and flexible departure times. This usually means the departure time is not fixed and the ticket can be used for any train departing within a number of hours (or sometimes days) of the reserved departure time. To find out more about these tickets please click here.
Fares and tickets: What’s available
First and foremost, it’s important to be well informed about the individual fare conditions of your tickets before you purchase them. This is really important as each rail operator has their own (individual) fares and refund and exchange conditions. Of course it is not always simple and straightforward to understand the different conditions and types of fares.
Here are some examples to help you:
→ The Loisir fares offered by SNCF or the Flexpreis fares from Deutsche Bahn are exchangeable and refundable without charge until the day before departure. On the day of departure, a fee of €10 and €17.50, respectively, applies to each ticket.
→ The SNCF Prem’s or Thalys Non-Flex fares are strictly non-refundable and not exchangeable.
→ As a last example: Eurostar Semi-Flex tickets. This fare is strictly non-refundable and instead only exchangeable. However, there is a €40 fee charged per ticket. A return journey counts as two separate tickets.
These are just a small number of examples of the different fares that are available. Inevitably, these differences also have an impact on the price of the ticket. The more flexibility you gain, the higher the ticket price is.