Foreign Tourist Booking & Railway Retiring Rooms

#1 Sep 6th, 2017, 04:45
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#1
I have an account with IRCTC and notice that I can now book a ticket online outside of the 120 day ARP (albeit the ticket is more expensive).

The question I have is, if I make such a booking - outside the ARP, say for in six months time - will the PNR I get allow me to immediately reserve a Retiring Room online with IRCTC Tourism?

What I am asking is whether the Retiring Room booking will only be accepted or open on the 'usual' 120 day ARP window being reached.
#2 Sep 6th, 2017, 05:26
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I can't answer your retiring room question, but please be aware that your visa number is required to book outside ARP, and an evisa can only be ordered 120 days ahead, ironically the same time as the ARP for trains.
#3 Sep 6th, 2017, 11:12
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I guess the retiring room can be booked online irrespective of the date of travel provided you have a PNR.
#4 Sep 6th, 2017, 11:53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworld View Post I can't answer your retiring room question, but please be aware that your visa number is required to book outside ARP, and an evisa can only be ordered 120 days ahead, ironically the same time as the ARP for trains.
Although the initial "official blurb" from the Ministry stated a need for visa number, has this been incorporated in the IRCTC actual booking process? Has anyone tried to book that far in advance without a visa number?

Ed.
#5 Sep 6th, 2017, 18:34
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The requirement for the visa number was not mentioned any more in the list, when the official announcement came through.


"User has to provide valid Passport number at the time of booking tickets" (plus foreign mobile number, that's all)

http://contents.irctc.co.in/en/Forei...otaBooking.pdf
#6 Sep 17th, 2017, 01:13
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#6

Answer - FTQ booking of Retiring Room

Having now booked a 'Foreign Tourist Booking' ticket on my IRCTC account for April 2018 (I had to, I will be traveling when the ARP opens and will have no internet access), I can answer my own question and a few others posed in this thread:-

1. Retiring Rooms can only be booked within the standard ARP, trying to book for the above ticket reported "FOREIGN TOURIST PNR : still outside ARP"

2. A Tourist Visa number was not needed to book it, the standard IRCTC profile worked fine, i.e. as a Foreigner it required my Passport Number

3.Worth noting how much more the FTQ cost is. Accepted it is a long journey in 1AC however the Total Fare was INR 1,630 more than a standard booking inside the ARP, so only book FTQ if you must!
#7 Sep 17th, 2017, 02:36
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#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlynCarre View Post Having now booked a 'Foreign Tourist Booking' ticket on my IRCTC account for April 2018 (I had to, I will be traveling when the ARP opens and will have no internet access), I can answer my own question and a few others posed in this thread:-

1. Retiring Rooms can only be booked within the standard ARP, trying to book for the above ticket reported "FOREIGN TOURIST PNR : still outside ARP"

2. A Tourist Visa number was not needed to book it, the standard IRCTC profile worked fine, i.e. as a Foreigner it required my Passport Number

3.Worth noting how much more the FTQ cost is. Accepted it is a long journey in 1AC however the Total Fare was INR 1,630 more than a standard booking inside the ARP, so only book FTQ if you must!
Thanks for the updated information.

Congratulations on booking an advanced FTQ ticket, despite many people trying, you're the only person I know that's been successful.

I'm now moving into day 10 of waiting for my text containing the mobile OTP, I've tried tweeting and emailing, but it hasn't helped.

Others who have received the OTP have then gone on to have endless payment problems, even though they're using the same payment system/gateway they used to pay the small charge for changing their International dialling code.
#8 Sep 17th, 2017, 03:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworld View Post Thanks for the updated information.

Congratulations on booking an advanced FTQ ticket, despite many people trying, you're the only person I know that's been successful.

I'm now moving into day 10 of waiting for my text containing the mobile OTP, I've tried tweeting and emailing, but it hasn't helped.

Others who have received the OTP have then gone on to have endless payment problems, even though they're using the same payment system/gateway they used to pay the small charge for changing their International dialling code.
It seems I was fortunate, I received the OTP fine. The payment system put me into the "Atom" payment Gateway. The only problem was that it hated my UK Post Code - possibly because it is from Guernsey, Channel Islands. Anyway I typed in "11111" and it went through - showed up on my credit card account two minutes later.
#9 Sep 17th, 2017, 06:24
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#9
Congratulations! It is a relief to know the system can work, at least for some lucky folk!
Did you just use your existing phone number, as registered, and change the prefix to 44, or use a new number with 44 prefix?
Did you have to pay the Rs 100 charge to re register as "foreign"?

It sounds as if whatever you did was the "gold standard" for getting the system to work well, so I am keen to spot any small detail where I and others might be going wrong?

I assume it is a normal uk type credit card you used, not American Express?
Did you get presented with your bank's own "security questions" screen, at payment, or did it bypass that?

Thanks for any feedback, and good luck!

Ed.
#10 Sep 17th, 2017, 14:39
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Good questions, hopefully it might help identify the problem and solution:-

Did you just use your existing phone number, as registered, and change the prefix to 44, or use a new number with 44 prefix?
Yes, I have had my IRCTC account for years and I amended the Indian Mobile number (96-nnn-nnnnn) to now read "ISD-Mobile 44-7781nnnnnn". To be clear, it uses the UK prefix of 44 and thereafter I ignored the leading zero (most Guernsey mobiles are 07781-nnnnnn). I received the OTP minutes after changing

Did you have to pay the Rs 100 charge to re register as "foreign"?
Yes. The total charge was Rs.122.86. This was charged through the Atom Gateway and I used my First Direct Visa Debit card to pay. Oddly (unlike the FTQ payment) it accepted my real Post Code

It sounds as if whatever you did was the "gold standard" for getting the system to work well, so I am keen to spot any small detail where I and others might be going wrong?
Agreed - I was lucky and the devil must be in the detail somewhere! The only other observation is that I did NOT update my Post Code (or PIN code as I believe they are often referred to in India) in the IRCTC Profile. The Post Code in my IRCTC Residential Address continues to read "11111" because when I set up the account years ago it would not accept my Guernsey Post Code

I assume it is a normal uk type credit card you used, not American Express?
Yes. Before this change I only ever used my UK AMEX because it was the only one reliably accepted. When I purchased this FTQ ticket I decided to switch to a cheaper method to see if it worked. So, I actually used a CAXTON FX pre-paid currency card, which is Mastercard. It accepted fine although as mentioned earlier it did not like my Post Code so I used "11111". This matches my IRCTC Profile although I suspect this was unimportant. I have to say I was really surprised this pre-paid currency card was accepted. They are not like standard credit cards and are often rejected for online transactions generally - I believe because of rules around 'cardholder not present' - anyway the point is they are routinely rejected for online transactions but the Atom Gateway accepted it. Good news because the CAXTON FX exchange rates are good and their currency transaction charges are less than a standard credit card

Did you get presented with your bank's own "security questions" screen, at payment, or did it bypass that?
When paying the Rs.122.86 using the First Direct Debit Card I could see it going out for this and First Direct responded "not required for this transaction". For the FTQ booking using the CAXTON FX pre-paid Mastercard I did not see it happen, it just accepted it. The charge showed on my CAXTON FX account in minutes

In summary then, both payments were remarkably well behaved. There was definitely and underlying difference in the treatment by the Atom Gateway because it would not accept the Post Code on the train ticket booking. It did accept "11111" and accepted this pre-paid currency card
#11 Sep 17th, 2017, 15:23
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Thanks for taking the trouble to give such a thought out reply!

Maybe I will obtain one of these prepaid Caxton cards... or else move to Guernsey!

One final question (for now!). Was the Caxton card "loaded" with Indian Rupees, or...?

Thanks again,

Ed.
#12 Sep 17th, 2017, 16:26
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No. As you suggest its possible to load the card with multiple currencies, GBP, EUR, USD etc. However INR is not supported by any UK provider I am aware of, possibly due to exchange controls (not strictly true, you can get INR prepaid in the UK from ICICI Bank however its a hassle and the card expires after a short period, I don't think it provides any benefit in this case). So if you spend in a currency you don't hold, such as INR, it is just treated as a standard Mastercard currency conversion and debited to the Cards base currency/balance. So in this case it transacted the INR charge against my GBP balance. Actually posts a notional GBP figure to reserve the amount against the Card and adjusts it a couple of days later with the real exchange rate for the day. Sounds complicated but it's not, Caxton fx shows the INR transaction immediately as a 'Pending Transaction' and when finalised the rate might change just a little.
#13 Sep 17th, 2017, 17:07
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#13
Thanks again!

Ed.
#14 Sep 17th, 2017, 17:36
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#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlynCarre View Post Good questions, hopefully it might help identify the problem and solution:-

Did you just use your existing phone number, as registered, and change the prefix to 44, or use a new number with 44 prefix?
Yes, I have had my IRCTC account for years and I amended the Indian Mobile number (96-nnn-nnnnn) to now read "ISD-Mobile 44-7781nnnnnn". To be clear, it uses the UK prefix of 44 and thereafter I ignored the leading zero (most Guernsey mobiles are 07781-nnnnnn). I received the OTP minutes after changing
This makes it more confusing for those of us who got the error message 'number already exists', and had to submit a new number to be able to change the International dialling code to move forward in the process.
#15 Jan 30th, 2018, 03:45
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#15

Retiring room booking through international credit card

Could anyone book a retiring room with an international credit card?
I tried several cards without any success.
It appears, for ticket booking, they use a gateway that allows international cards (they charge 4% fee though). However for retiring rooms they use a different gateway that does not allow any international cards (I used several cards issued by at least two different countries). It shows transaction "Not captured".

I was on a hold for a long time with my bank and they confirmed my cards were fine.

I am going to send an email to tourism@irctc.com to see what they say about it.

Anyone has any suggestion?

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