We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Bluffton, South...
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

After identifying my one-way trip from Zurich airport to Luzern using the SBB website for my wife and I, I select the "purchase" link and it reads my credit card information and comes back saying that the authorization was denied, please contact my credit card issuer. I did that, there are no limitations on my VISA card so I've tried it again, still the same error message for over a week now. Any suggestions on how I can purchase two one-way standard tickets to Luzern with using my VISA card? Thanks in advance.

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
44,783 posts
204 reviews
1. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

I am not sure why this is happening unless the SBB wants to route business from the USA to RailEurope!

But despair not! you do not need to buy these tickets now. you can show up at the station at the airport and buy tickets either from a machine (blue and gray - takes all credit card and speaks your language!) OR at the ticket counter. There are no reservations to be made anyway on these trains so there is no advantage to getting your tickets in advance. And there are plenty of trains and plenty of seats (except maybe fromthe airport to Zürich HB in the rush hour in the am! But this only takes 15 mins and the train will then empty out and you can have your pick of a seat...)

Bluffton, South...
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

thank you for the response. I do realize that I could purchase the tickets at the airport train station but simply wanted to avoid any confusion finding my way around once I got off of the plane with luggage and finding my way around. If it is as easy as it sounds, I may just purchase my two tickets at my time of arrival. Thank you very much!

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
44,783 posts
204 reviews
3. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

It is very easy. A screen will ask you what language. then where you want to go, with some "popular" destinations that come up. Luzern may be one of these. If not, chose "another" and you get an alphabet, so of course choose "L".

You then have to choose the class of travel - First or Second - and one way or return. As well as whether or not you have a Half Fare card. Then you pay with a credit card and that is about that!!

Some Americans are confused as to First or second class and these days you can be fined for sitting in First with a second ticket - so look on the outside of the cars as the train comes in. First class cars have a yellow stripe on them and sometimes a large "1" by the door. If you are to be in second there is no harm at all in getting on in First and just walking through to the second class.

If you have a long trans Atlantic flight I would pay for First. It is quieter (carpeted) and the seats are more comfortable....

Bluffton, South...
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Thanks again for the information, it is quite helpful although I do have one more question.... when purchasing tickets from the machine at the airport, am I allowed to purchase a 'round trip' ticket at that time even though I won't be returning back to the airport that same day (returning May 6 in fact)?

Canton of Valais...
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
44,783 posts
204 reviews
5. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Yes but be careful to put in the date of your return. I think (am not sure) the machine indicates returning today or choose date... within 10 days I think.

At any event a "round trip" is 2x a one way so there is no savings! If you have a doubt get a one way. You do not want a ticket that you cannot use.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
18,295 posts
9 reviews
6. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Hi, if you are flying in from the US, I suggest using the ticket window or go to the Swiss Rail travel office just a few feet down from the ticket windows. The machines are easy to use but not as easy when you have jet lag. Swiss Rail staff speak excellent English.

As you enter the public area of arrivals, you walk through the doors out to the sidewalk and then cross the pick-up lanes into the next building. You come into a large shopping center. You can take your luggage carts all the way to the platform. There are elevators and escalators (just obey the warning on the luggage carts to not put anything above the strap - the carts are designed to go up and down on escalators). Go down to the next floor and you will see the ticket windows on the wall opposite from where you entered the building. The travel office is to the left of the windows and that can be easier if there is a long line at the ticket windows. There is no savings in getting a round trip ticket so you can just get a one way if you want.

The trains go from one more floor down. Ask which track (gleis in German - gl-ice) when you get your ticket. You will see a couple of escalators in the center of the area that go down to the tracks. If you have some time to kill, head back up to the shopping center and you will see the Migros supermarket at the end of the mall. You can get bottled water, pre-made but quite nice sandwiches, etc. Picnics on the train are totally fine!

Hope this helps

Bluffton, South...
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Yes it does, thanks for the detailed instructions!!

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage, Zermatt
Level Contributor
18,295 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

And I realized after I posted that I didn't mention that you need to be sure your credit card knows you are making foreign transactions or they are very likely to decline the charge. And don't forget to call them before you leave - it's a real pain to get to Europe and have your cards declined!

Bluffton, South...
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
9. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

Actually I did that the other day thinking that they already disabled any transactions to my card because of my experiences with trying to purchase train tickets on the SBB website.

Thanks again.

Basel, Switzerland
Level Contributor
3,552 posts
22 reviews
10. Re: Booking issue for Standard Tickets on SBB website

I would contact SBB with the problem and ask them why it is happening. They always answer and are very helpful.

Their answer might even help you with future problems you might have when here.

Tak