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I have a train travel booked through Germany, Switzerland and Italy. All three legs of the travel are booked through bahn.de, and the Germany into Switzerland leg I can find back on the system of that site. I have asked a question and they will (or at least should) get back to me on that.

The other two legs, (one from Basel to Milan, the other from Milan to Naples,) are booked by bahn.de on Trenitalia, and the German site does not recognize the PNR number for the booking.

In most cases I would not bother to try to cancel/get a refund as they are super economy tickets which do not allow refunds, but with the health situation in Northern Italy, I want to try to get a partial or full refund, (just like I would get from the airlines if they have to cancel flight.)

I hope someone is able to tell me how to ask for the (partial) refund or whether it is better to wait till almost the day of travel. The date on the ticket is 18th of March, 2020.

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Italian long distance train tickets work along a completely different system then German train tickets. Italian trains have passenger manifests. German trains don't. That is why you cannot find any Italian PRNs in the German system. Deutsche Bahn does not use PNRs at all (as they do not care the slightest bit about who is on their trains...) You could try if you can find your PNRs on the Trenitalia website. But I do not know if you could cancel your tickets there. Cancelling tickets you should do via the agent you booked them with.

If you created a login with bahn.de you should be able to see your orders there, and maybe cancel them, and you can otherwise just email them.

But you also may just be out of luck. I had to cancel a trip to Germany because of the COVID-19 situation, and I am not getting any refunds either. See if your travel insurance will refund them.

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  • As I had not yet bought a travel insurance when it became clear that the travel was likely to be canceled, I am out of luck there. Thanks, I will try your tips once I have heard back from bahn.de on the ticket there. – Willeke Mar 8 '20 at 15:29
  • This is why I do not get travel insurance on a trip by trip base, but just have general coverage. – Krist van Besien Mar 8 '20 at 15:45
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    One thing is that your other tickets were probably bought via "international-bahn.de/en". These purchases actually go via Amadeus Rail (the DB site is just a skin over that), and will probably have their own separate refund procedure. – Krist van Besien Mar 8 '20 at 15:47
  • It would not surprise me if travel insurances are starting to introduce "COVID-19 not covered" policies. – gerrit Mar 9 '20 at 9:44
  • They cannot change the policy after you've signed up though. – Krist van Besien Mar 9 '20 at 10:36
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Deutsche Bahn allows you to cancel you travel if the reason for travel becomes obsolete - this includes quarantine at the destination. This should allow you to cancel if the tickets are DB tickets. Otherwise the conditions of the other operators will apply. Do you may have to cancel the Italian tickets through Trenitalia.

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In the end I did get a mail from the Italian railways, giving me an option to ask for the money. I had however already tried to get my money through the German site I bought from and decided that one way of claiming back was enough.

However, the German site replied after the intended travel date that they were unable to handle my mail as they did not recognize the booking reference.

I also had tickets for a train travel in France, they also contacted me to apply for cancellation or re-booking. Same with several ferry companies. Most of the time, the money was only the 'normal' cancellation option or a voucher or a re-booking.

I would combine it into that most 'surface transport' give the same options for cancellation as the airlines do at this time, suffering under the same kind of money problems.

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