Delayed or cancelled trains in France: How to get compensation

With strikes, the weather and other factors often affecting train travel, we look at compensation offered by different rail services and how to make sure you get it

11 November 2021

If you are a passenger affected by a delay or cancellation, you may be entitled to financial compensation with the amount depending on which operator you travel with and the length of the delay Pic: Anna Krasnopeeva / EQRoy / Spech / hans engbers / Shutterstock

By Oliwia Geisler

Train journeys across France have been delayed or cancelled on numerous occasions over the last few months due to strikes and weather conditions.

Last month, a third of TGV Atlantique trains were cancelled in western France for a weekend due to strikes, and the Hauts-de-France region threatened to suspend payments to the SNCF if it does not improve its service by mid-November.

If you are a passenger affected by a delay or cancellation, you may be entitled to financial compensation with the amount depending on which operator you travel with and the length of the delay.

The compensation rules tend to apply when the cause of delay or annulation can be  attributed to being within the control of the operator, such as strikes or technical difficulties. However, in the case of weather and other factors out of the provider’s control, the rules do not apply.

We look at the main rail service providers in more detail below:

Eurostar

If your train is delayed, Eurostar will compensate you to the percentage rate of your ticket price as shown here:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

E-voucher*

Bank transfer*

30-59 

-

-

60-119 

25%

25%

120-179

50%

50%

180+

75%

50%

* Percentage of ticket price

You should make a claim via this form within two months of the journey date.

If you opt for the e-voucher, these are valid for 12 months.

If your train is cancelled, you can exchange it for another journey in the same travel class or claim an e-voucher by managing your booking. Alternatively, you can opt to receive a refund via bank transfer, which will be processed within one month of request.

Eurostar will also consider reimbursing you for food, overnight accommodation, the cost of calling somebody waiting at the destination, and transport between the station and accommodation (but not to get to the destination if you choose not to wait for the next Eurostar). You can read more and access the contact form here.

Ouigo

If your train is delayed, Ouigo will compensate you to the percentage rate of your ticket price as shown here:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

E-voucher*

30-59 

-

60-119 

25%

120-179

50%

180+

50%

* Percentage of ticket price

You will be notified of any delay over ten minutes by email and, if you give permission when booking your ticket, text. For any delay over one hour, you will automatically receive an e-voucher within 15 days from your journey.

Ouigo will not cover any additional costs such as hotels or missed connecting trains.

In the case of cancellation, you have the option to either receive an e-voucher or exchange your ticket to an identical trip the day before or after your scheduled journey. You will receive an email with information and links after the cancellation.

TGV INOUI & INTERCITÉS

For TGV InOui and Intercité trains, you will be compensated to the percentage rate of your ticket price as shown here:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

E-voucher*

Bank transfer*

30-59 

25%

-

60-119 

25%

25%

120-179

50%

50%

180+

75%

75%

* Percentage of ticket price

You can choose to receive your compensation in the form of an e-voucher or, if the delay is over one hour, bank transfer.

You have 60 days to make your claim using this form.

With regards to cancellations, SNCF directs passengers to Tout’OUI, the company’s chat service which will guide you to the correct page after taking some details. Choose the train supprimé (‘train cancelled’) option when prompted.

Thalys

If your train is delayed, the amount of compensation you receive will differ depending on whether the delay is attributable to Thalys according to the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on rail passengers’ rights and obligations.

The compensation will be in line with the tables below.

If the delay is attributable to Thalys:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

Voucher*

Bank transfer*

Explorer Miles

Club Miles

Club+ Miles

30-59 

20%

-

-

500

1000

60-119 

50%

25%

500

1000

2000

120-179

100%

50%

1000

2000

4000

180+

100%

50%

1000

2000

4000

* Percentage of ticket price

If the delay is not attributable to Thalys:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

Voucher*

Bank transfer*

Explorer Miles

Club Miles

Club+ Miles

30-59 

-

-

-

-

-

60-119 

25%

25%

-

500

1000

120-179

50%

50%

-

1000

2000

180+

50%

50%

-

1000

2000

* Percentage of ticket price

You should make your claim here within three months of the journey. You can receive your compensation in the form of a voucher (electronic or paper, both valid 12 months from date of issue), miles credited or bank transfer.

If your train is cancelled, you can claim your compensation here.

You should make your claim within three months of the delay or cancellation.

Your claim must amount to a minimum of €4.

Trajet international SNCF

If your train is delayed, SNCF will compensate you to the percentage rate of your ticket price as shown here:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

E-voucher*

Bank transfer*

30-59 

25%

-

60-119 

25%

25%

120-179

50%

50%

180+

50%

50%

* Percentage of ticket price
* not applicable to Lyria, which connects France and Switzerland

You have 60 days to make a claim using this form. You can choose to receive your compensation in the form of an e-voucher or, if the delay is over one hour, bank transfer.

For cancellations, SNCF directs you to individual contact pages here, depending on which website and railway operator you bought your ticket from.

Lyria:

If your train is delayed, Lyria will compensate you to the percentage rate of your ticket price as shown here:

Method of refund 

Time delayed (minutes)

E-voucher*

Bank transfer*

30-59 

25%

-

60-119 

25%

25%

120-179

50%

50%

180+

75%

75%

* Percentage of ticket price

You have 60 days to make a claim using this form. You can choose to receive your compensation in the form of an e-voucher or, if the delay is over one hour, bank transfer.

For a cancelled train, the method of obtaining your refund depends on where you bought your ticket. The TGV Lyria has a chat service that will direct you to the correct site.

For TER trains, compensation claims must be made on regional sites, found here. Go to ‘tarifs & achats’, then ‘annulation / remboursement billets’.

For Transilien trains, you can fill out a form by following this link and clicking ‘Transilien SNCF’, ‘une autre demande’, then choosing ‘remboursement / dédommagement’ or ‘réclamation’ in the contact form.

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