True B-Europe Booking Guide (desktop)

B-Europe Booking Guide (desktop)

B-Europe guarantees matching the cheapest price on international train journeys from AND to Belgium by Eurostar, ICE, TGB (TGV trains from and To Belgium) and Thalys trains.

So for journeys between Belgium and Germany, the ticket prices and departure times of the ICE and Thalys trains can be directly compared (the main German ticket booking site, DB Bahn, does not sell tickets for the Thalys trains).

B-Europe is one of the simpler train ticket booking services to use, but first time users, can easilly overlook some of the site's more useful, but less obvious features.

1: HOME PAGE FEATURES



B-Europe offers versions of its service in French, Dutch, English and German - use the flag highlighted to select a language.

All of the pages below are taken from the English langauge version.

The 'Train' tab (above the destinations search boxes) is the default - and this setting needs to be used when looking up standard point-2-point journeys

The 'InterRail' tab needs be selected if you have an InterRail or Eurail pass and want to book reservations on the Eurostar or Thalys trains - more information on this below.

'Return' journeys is also the default - so select the 'Single' button if you only want to go one way.

2nd class is also the default (the blue boxes indicate the chosen option on B-Europe) - if you want to travel 1st class, you don't have to select it on the home page - the 1st class tickets are included on the search results.

Also note that the 'Advanced Search' button has been highlighted.

2: BENEFITS OF USING ADVANCED SEARCH


The core benefit of using Advanced Search is the option to only include 'Direct Train's in the search results - though when looking up journeys between Bruxelles and most cities in France, you will have a much wider choice of journey options if you don't restrict the selection to Direct Trains.


3: FINDING THE CHEAPEST POSSIBLE TICKET PRICE

If making the journey for the cheapest possible price is your main criteria, and you can be flexible with your travel dates - on the home page you can click on the green 'Fare Calendar' button (highlighted on screen one). 

But the low fare calendar only functions for Eurostar and Thalys trains.



You can click on each date to see which departures are available that day at the lowest possible price.


4: KEY FEATURES OF THE JOURNEY RESULTS PAGES:



This is an example of the information you will see when you search for a journey.

Note the use of the Thalys and ICE logos to designate the specific train service - and that the Thalys and ICE trains are both listed for this journey.

Also note that the only choice of ticket at this stage, is between 1st and 2nd class tickets (so you don't have to have selected 1st class on the home page)

B-Europe has changed this page recently - it used to be also possible to choose the type of ticket (non-flex, mid-flex etc) from here - but this is now available at the next step (once you have clicked on the 1st or 2nd class ticket).

What also can't now be accessed from this page, is the terms and conditions of the ticket type - they used to be where the green circle has been drawn. 

But the terms and conditions per ticket can be accessed from the next screen...



...that you will see once you have clicked on this 1st or 2nd class ticket.

Before clicking on 'BOOK THIS JOURNEY' it's worth noting the following;

(i) The price shown on the preceding screen is revealed to be the price of a 'Mid-Flex' ticket - the core terms and conditions of a Mid-Flex ticket are shown.

The empty yellow circles indicates the space where the 'Full-Flex' ticket option would usually be shown - so that it can be selected as an alternative to the 'Mid - Flex' ticket.

'Full-Flex' tickets are more expensive than Mid-Flex tickets, but they can be fully refunded if you subsequently cancel your journey plans.

Though as can be seen, no Full-Flex ticket was being offered for this journey - and if it's not shown there is no means of accessing it.

The cheapest 'No-Flex' tickets will only appear here IF they're available - so in this example they have either sold out, or weren't being offered for this departure.

(ii)The somewhat easy to miss information icons (circled in green) give acess to additional information for the journey.

Click the icon next to the ticket price and you will see...



... (or the equivalent per ticket type) However, there will be another opportunity to access the refund conditions of the ticket pre-booking.

The other green circled 'i' icon on the train information bar gives access to this information...



However, the only new information that can only be accessed by clicking on that particular icon is the 'track numbers', but the departure track number will be on the information screens at the station.

(iii) Note that the chosen journey above is by Thalys train.

Reservations are automatically when booking Thalys trains, so the price includes the reservation.

You have the option of choosing where to sit - and taking this up is recommended.

Reservations and seat options are also presented in the same manner, when booking journeys on B-Europe by Eurostar and TGB (TGV) trains.

However, journeys by ICE train are an exception, as seen here...



...mirroring the information shown for the journey by the Thalys train, the seat reservation has been included and the ticket price shown includes the reservation

However, reservations are optional for the ICE train, so you don't have to include the reservation on these services.

Click on the green tick and you will see the information on the page change to...



...the seat isn't now reserved and the price has now dropped by €6 = the price charged by B-Europe for reserving a seat on the ICE train.

Seats aren't absolutely guaranteed on the ICE trains, but they're also only usually particularly busy on Friday and Sundays and in the evening business hours.


5: TICKET DELIVERY OPTIONS




The final pre-checkout stage of the booking process on B-Europe is the selection of a ticket delivery option.

The significant aspects of this page are

(i) Clicking the (i) icon is a further (and final) opportunity pre-booking, to check the exchange and refund terms of the tickets you have chosen.

(ii) Unlike the majority of other online train ticket services, B-Europe imposes an additional charge for collecting at a station.

(iii) The postal charges are also comparatively expensive.

if you want to travel on an ICE train between Germany and Belgium and also want to receive your tickets in the post, it's worth comparing the total cost of the booking, including postage, with the total cost for the journey on DB Bahn.

If you want receive tickets by post for journeys between Belgium and The Netherlands, there is no point in looking up the journeys on the Dutch ticket site, NS International, as it does not offer the option to receive tickets by mail.

(iv) If you book an E-Ticket and go on to register an account with B-Europe, you don't have to print the tickets. You can download the tickets to your mobile device and show your phone to the train conductor.


RESERVATIONS FOR RAIL PASS USERS:

If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass, you can book the compulsory rail pass reservations online for journeys by Eurostar* or Thalys trains,
However, your pass needs to be valid in the both the countries you will be travelling to and from.
 
*Reservations for journeys by Eurostar between Paris and France can also be booked on B-Europe - if your rail pass is valid in both France and the UK.

However, the compulsory rail pass reservations on the TGB (TGV) trains to France can't be booked on B-Europe, you can book these on Oui.SNCF (InterRail) or Rail-Europe (Eurail).

The optional reservations on the ICE trains between Belgium and Germany also can't be booked on Europe, but they can be booked online on DB Bahn.

(i) The first step is to click the InterRail tab on the B-Europe home page...



...do that and you will see this page...




...as will be seen you then need to click on 'Book your Pass fare'..

(ii) Do that and you will see..



What's particularly noteworthy on this page is the information that B-Europe DOES NOT ask for.

In particular you don't have to enter information re: your rail pass or your nationality - it's solely up to you to ensure the  reservation you book will be valid with your rail pass.

However, B-Europe will let you book the rail pass reservation regardless of whether you can use it - though note that they can be exchanged to a different train or date if need be.

This particularly matters if you are Belgian, British, Dutch or French.
If you are  -  you can only use your rail pass to travel FROM your country on the first day that is valid for and TO your country on the final day that you can use your pass.

So, for example if you are British and return to the UK with a few days left remaining on a monthly or consecutive pass - you can't then use your pass for a day trip by Eurostar to France or Belgium.

Even if you wanted to make the journeys on the final day that your pass is valid for, neither your pass, or reservation, will be valid on the journey from the UK.
You can only make that journey on the first day that your pass is valid for.