How to Get Your Compensation Easily in 15 Days.

by admin

And yes, it is now the law.

With the SNCF Travel Guarantee, if your high-speed train is late for more than 30 minutes, you can claim compensation.

On the other hand, the procedure to follow is not super simple …

Luckily, we’re here to help you get your money back quickly.

Here is the procedure to follow to receive compensation easily. Look :

TGV delay reimbursement indemnities

The 2nd week of April, I went with my girlfriend to pay a little visit to Brice, a longtime friend from Bordeaux.

Coming back to Paris on Sunday evening from this nice little sunny weekend, our TGV had 33 minutes late (yes yes I know it’s horrible. Besides, my girlfriend totally agrees with you).

A few months ago, the two of us would have returned home railing against the SNCF for long minutes.

With the SCNF, it’s possible

Today things have changed a lot. As soon as the SNCF knows that the train will be late, an agent gently announces to you at the microphone (with a charming little southern accent) that a envelope will be given to you to receive well-deserved compensation.

Incredible, isn’t it? In any case, I find it really great in terms of customer service.

What Types of Delay Reimbursed?

Before starting to calculate what the amount of your compensation will be, it is important to know what types of delay are covered under the SNCF Punctuality Guarantee.

As indicated here, SNCF’s response is simple: “when the delay is attributable to the SNCF”.

Yes but what is a delay attributable to the SNCF? I agree with you it is not very clear … I did some research and here is what I found as examples of delays that are not attributable to SNCF :

Causes of Delays Without Refund

a characterized act of malicious intent:

If someone has damaged a rail, or the TGV outright by throwing stones at it, there is no refund.

a demonstration of people outside the SNCF:

Here the important word is “outer”. If it is an Air France demonstration that blocks the SNCF, then it is not attributable to the SNCF. On the other hand, if it is a demonstration of the SNCF agents, there is well reimbursement to be hoped for.

the occurrence of an obstacle on the track:

Examples of obstacles: an animal, stones, an embankment fire near the tracks, a fallen tree on the track.

a climatic incident:

In the event of snow, floods, or even tornadoes, the SNCF will not compensate you.

a personal accident:

In the case of suicide on the track, it is not a cause attributable to the SNCF so no reimbursement.

a security alert at the station:

In the event of a bomb threat at the arrival or departure station, the Punctuality Guarantee does not work either.

Let us now turn to examples which are attributable to SNCF and give the right to compensation:

Causes of Delay with Refund

a failure of its equipment:

A problem with the engine, rails or any other technical problem which slowed down the train gives the right to compensation.

a catenary incident:

This is the most common incident on TGVs because there are thousands of them on the tracks. What is a catenary? These are all the cables above the trains that carry electricity.

Do you know of other examples that give rise to a delay? Tell me in the comments and I’ll add it here.

Reimbursement amounts

The more late the train, the higher the refund amount. Sounds logical as a system, doesn’t it? Here is a small table to help you find your way around:

Table with sncf reimbursements according to delays

Only downside, for a delay between 30 min to 59 min, the reimbursement is made in travel voucher and not in euros.

Note that the SNCF travel voucher has a 1 year validity period. It is impossible to extend the validity of the voucher (even by begging the SNCF agent on his knees).

But there is still a little tip: you can book a ticket at a later date on the voucher’s expiry date.

In French, this means that if my travel voucher is valid until November 12, 2015, I can still buy a ticket for December 15, 2015 for example. It can still be used.

Last interesting tip, a travel voucher is not nominative. You can therefore give it to someone in your family or even a (very) faithful friend.

How to use an SNCF travel voucher?

As its name suggests, the travel voucher can be used across the entire SNCF network in France (except iDTGV which is a separate subsidiary of SNCF, nor Ouigo). So it works as well for a trip to Marseille as to go to Île de France, nice not?

On the other hand, you will have to go to a train station or an SNCF store because they cannot be used on the site (that would be too simple!). For me, it’s not super practical because I much prefer to buy my tickets online to find the best prices …

The Killing Tip!

But like earlier, I found a tip for you to take advantage of the best rates while using your travel vouchers (well yes anyway!).

Once you have found the cheapest ticket on the site, do not buy the ticket right away, but simply set up a simple option by clicking on the “Option” button as shown below:

put an option on sncf trips

Then enter your email and contact details. Write down on a piece of paper your 6 character file reference and run to the nearest train station or SNCF store to purchase the reserved ticket. You will be able to use your travel voucher while enjoying the best rate. So she won’t kill my trick?

Please note: the possibility of taking an option is only available for exchangeable and refundable rates up to 48 hours before your departure (that means no Prem’s).

Where can I find the SNCF Delay Envelope?

It sounds incredible, but there are a lot of real people who give you the envelope when you get off the train. I saw them with my own eyes. As proof, here is the envelope they gave me:


Good news, as you can see in the photo, the envelope is postage paid so no need to re-stamp!

If for various reasons, you did not have your small envelope when exiting the train, know that you can ask for it at the reception of the SNCF train station or download the form here.

How to fill in the SNCF envelope?

As for the procedure, everything is explained on the envelope (see photo below). The explanation is pretty well done and easy to understand but I will still explain all of this in detail to make your job as easy as possible. Rest assured, we are far from the 12 works of Asterix (youtube link) which often characterizes this kind of administrative initiative.

envelope sncf instructions

For Holders of a Paper Train Ticket.

If, like me, you chose a paper ticket when you purchased, here are the 4 steps to follow:

1. Tear off the coupon from the envelope as below:

late train tickets bordeaux paris

2. Complete this coupon with a black pen and in CAPITAL LETTERS.

All the information you need to complete the coupon is on your train ticket. To save you time, here is where you can find the 3 pieces of information on your ticket that are a little less easy to fill in:

where to find the sncf train ticket file reference

For the name, the first name and the address I leave you to fend for yourself (do not push, either!).

3. Insert your original ticket (no photocopy) and the completed coupon in the envelope provided. For a delay of more than an hour, do not forget to add your RIB with BIC / IBAN to receive compensation by bank transfer.

4. All that remains is to post your envelope in the 60 days maximum after your trip. Doesn’t that give you a bit of time?

For Holders of a Grand Voyageur, Plus or Le Club Card.

If you are lucky enough to have one of its loyalty cards, it is even easier, because you just have to go to the site in the “Access to help” section. online “then” Contact us “.

You also have the option of using the SNCF envelope. All you need to do is indicate your loyalty number on the back of the envelope and follow the steps described above for a paper ticket.

For Holders of an E-ticket.

As for those who have a loyalty card, everything can be done via the Internet. Go to, click on the “Services & Stations” section on the left, then on “The Travel Guarantee” and finally “Punctuality Guarantee”.

Choose the option “To make a guaranteed punctuality request online” if you wish to make the request online. It remains to follow the instructions displayed and indicate your contact details.

What is the Refund Period?

The deadline for receiving your travel voucher or refund in euros is about 15 days. How do I know? My girlfriend has already sent the envelope (and yes I am a bit short) and it is the time she waited to receive her voucher at home. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I receive mine.

Update : € 9.20 Travel Voucher Received!

That’s it I received my SNCF travel voucher on Thursday, June 20, 2013. The proof? Here it is pictured below:

SNCF travel voucher of € 9.20 valid for 1 year

As you can see it is a voucher of 9.20 € which represents 25% of the amount I paid for my train ticket at 37 €.

As stated above, the travel voucher is valid for 1 year until June 14, 2014.

Last little tip for the road.

Just in case, make a photocopy of your original train ticket. Why ? Because if you never receive your voucher (yes yes it is possible) or if the amount is not that expected, you can always contact a SNCF mediator at this address:

You should now have all the cards in hand to receive your compensation as quickly as possible.

Did you manage to be compensated for the delay of your TGV? How much did you get? Share this with us in the comments.

Do you like this trick ?

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Also to discover:

12 Tips That Work To Save Money On Your Next Trip.

How To Hide Your Money When Traveling.

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