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People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

SF, CA
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49 posts
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People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

We took the Thalys today from Rotterdam to Paris. As we had booked 3 months in advance, we had reserved the exact seats we wanted, which were 4 second class seats facing each other with a table in the middle, for our family of 4. However, since the train began from Amsterdam, we boarded an almost full coach, and our seats were taken. I apologized, and said that these were our seats, and no one moved. One couple eventually said that they needed to face forward, or one of them might get seasick, so rather than argue, I put our two kids in their seats, several rows up. But those were the last two open seats on this car, so I had to ask again, more forcefully, that the others let us have our seats, so that we didn't end up having to leave our kids in a separate car, or else all 4 go searching for empty seats. They seemed to do this rather begrudgingly. I have to admit that though I allowed this to occur, out of politeness, I was disappointed that what I had imagined did not come to pass, which was the 4 of us having our packed lunch together around one table on the train. Is it the cultural norm, that you reserve specific seats, but then don't expect to actually get to use them?

Just curious to get input here, thanks! It must be said that our two kids, at 10 and 13, were only too happy to ignore the countryside, and have unfettered access to their electronic devices, as the adults were half a car away.

Sydney, Australia
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8,634 posts
29 reviews
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1. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

did you book from Rotterdam or Amsterdam? If your ticket shows a journey from Rotterdam to Paris, it is within your right to insist that those people move and give you your assigned seats, call a conductor to resolve the problem. If, however, you decide to board at Rotterdam, while ticketed from Amsterdam, then you are on shaky ground. Not sure what Thalys' policy is, but with DBahn, you will lose reserved seats after 15 minutes.

Liverpool, United...
Destination Expert
for Liverpool
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14,181 posts
74 reviews
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2. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

What did the train conductor say when you reported it to him/her?

SF, CA
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49 posts
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3. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

To be honest, I wasn't sure what the common culture was. They didn't act guilty at all, so I thought that maybe it was common to take whatever seat you want, even though the seats were printed on the tickets. I felt squeamish to start a scandal over such a small thing, but I did wonder what the norm is.

Barcelona, Spain
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4,592 posts
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4. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

@hadiwi56a, about that 15 minutes rule: on DB the situation is different, because you'll have people traveling without reservation on the same train (who need to find a place to sit). On Thalys, everybody must have a reservation. So the seat is yours for the entire trip.

To the OP: you had every right to kick them out. (Only of course if you are absolutely sure that they are yours. :-) I have had people tell me to get out of “their” seat, only to find out that they were in the wrong carriage…)

Sydney, Australia
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8,634 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

>> I have had people tell me to get out of “their” seat, only to find out that they were in the wrong carriage…)<<

Happened to us too, during our trip from Venice to Verona, they were adamant that we were in the wrong seats, only to discover that they were in the wrong carriage...

Wales, United...
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for Bargain Travel, Cruises
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6. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

The conductor is usually a good person to bring in. They are very familiar with the tickets and trains and will check if there are any mistakes with the coach and seats. |n the UK I've known people be given a free upgrade as a way of resolution when someone refuses to give up seats they should not be in.

7. Re: People not giving us our reserved Thalys seats, is the norm?

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