When travelling on public transport within the European Union, you are protected by Passenger Rights. For an overview of passenger rights when travelling by rail, you can check out this article. If you are experiencing a travel issue right now, then please check this article for the steps you can take.
When travelling with the FLEX travel option, you have broad coverage of passenger rights across the European railway network. However, there are limits to the protections of your journey, depending on your itinerary. Therefore, we encourage you to read this article very carefully, and plan your journey with ample change time or without seat reservation requirements where possible.
How do I know which journeys are, and which ones are not protected?
Because the DiscoverEU Interrail Pass is a uniquely flexible product, the legal protections applicable depend on your itinerary. Many of your journeys will be fully protected by passenger rights, but some might not be. The general rules you can use to determine your legal protection are as follows:
- All itineraries where no seat reservations are required to board the trains, are fully protected under passenger rights. If you experience a problem on these journeys, you can easily rebook yourself in the DiscoverEU Travel App if you miss your connection, or ask for assistance from the railway company if you get stuck somewhere. For more information on this, you can check this article.
- Furthermore, if you change from a train without a seat reservation requirement to one with a seat reservation requirement, but both are operated by the same company (e.g. SNCF or Renfe), then this change is also protected by passenger rights. If you miss your connection due to a delay and need a new seat reservation, you can request a free exchange at the ticket desk for the next available train.
Which itineraries are not protected by passenger rights?
If you change onto a train with a seat reservation requirement, and the preceding train was operated by a different company, your change is not protected by passenger rights. This means that, if you miss this connection, the railway company at the station might refuse to offer you compensation or assistance to rebook you. Some train companies might still offer a free exchange, which you can ask for at the ticket desk at the station. However, they are not required by law to provide this assistance. We thus highly encourage planning plenty of time to change trains at these points in your journey.
How do I know which company operates my train?
We are working to integrate this information in the DiscoverEU Travel App. In the meantime, you can look up this information by going to the website of the German Railways. Here, you can look up the journey you planned in the search engine. Once found, click the ‘more information’ option listed below each train, to see which company operates that train.
What should I do if I experienced a travel issue?
If you are experiencing a travel issue right now, then please check this article for the steps you can take. If you have experienced a travel issue in the past, and are using the DiscoverEU FLEX Pass, then you can get in touch with the DiscoverEU Travel Team for assistance.
You qualify for delay compensation if you have experienced a delay of at least 60 minutes or more during your journey. In case of a missed connection as a result of delay or cancellation of one or more previous services, the length of the sustained delay is counted until the point where a non-protected change of trains occurs as per the definition stated above. The compensation for sustained delay amounts to €12 for delays between 60 and 119 minutes and €24 for delays of 120 minutes or more (excl. reservations or other costs incurred). Compensations shall be paid in the form of money – in euro, through bank transfer.
Additional compensation might be considered in case you had to incur extra expenses that were unavoidable and reasonable, considering the circumstances. This depends on your specific itinerary and circumstances, and takes into account whether or not your changes were protected under the Passenger Rights legislation. You can file a claim up to 90 days after the travel issue occurred. Note that strike- and weather-related disruptions are generally exempted from compensation.
When contacting us for travel issues, please include the following attachments in your message to us:
- Screenshot of your day ticket (both top and bottom half)
- Screenshot of your itinerary overview in the ‘My Trip’ section of the app
- Proof of delay. This could be e.g. a formal statement from the railway company, a picture of a station board or onboard screen shoring the delay, or a screenshot of the train company's website showing the delay.
- A picture of the extra tickets/ seat reservations you had to purchase
- Receipts of any extra costs incurred
The DiscoverEU Travel Team cannot assume any responsibility for damages incurred as a result of planning errors, failure to show up at the station on time, or other circumstances not attributable to the railway companies operating the trains. The DiscoverEU Travel Team can also not take responsibility for costs incurred as a result of damages incurred due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the railway company's control, such as extreme weather or strikes. Participants in the DiscoverEU programme remain responsible for planning their own itineraries, and seeking assistance from the relevant channels as described on this Help Center.