Possible to book an upper train berth in advance?

#1 Jul 11th, 2018, 10:19
Join Date:
Jul 2018
Boston, USA
  • MonoNegro is offline
Hello community,
I'm taking my mom to India this October. Since we will only have 2.5 weeks there, I decided, against what I normally do when I travel, to book all the trains/planes in advance. Reading about the hassle of setting up an IRCTC account, I accepted a friend's offer (Indian living in the US) to use a travel agent in Bombay he knows to do the booking. In my request I specified that we would like at least one upper berth on each train we will take, so mom can rest if she needs to and not wait for all people to go to sleep. The agent booked the tickets yesterday - and they are ALL lower berths (4 overnight trains). Needless to say, I'm not too happy.

He claims he requested upper berths, but that the assignment is based on availability and he has no control over it. Is that true? I have a hard time believing that all the upper berths on a train are already taken 3 months in advance. When I was in India in 2012 by myself, I booked number of tickets in SL and 3AC just 2-3 weeks in advance each time by walking to a travel agency wherever I was and I always got the berth I asked for.

Now the agent says the tickets cannot be changed and if I want an upper berth, I can ask someone on the train to change places with me. Yeah, right... Is there any fix for this now? I haven't paid him yet. Can I actually book somehow an upper berth? He said the tickets are returnable, though he did not specify how much I would get back. I'm fine giving up his commission and some more if I can somehow get at least one upper berth on each train (in the same compartment of course).
Thanks for your advice!
#2 Jul 11th, 2018, 10:31
Join Date:
Mar 2012
Sydney, Australia
  • Govindpuri is offline
Welcome to India Mike MonoNegro. Are you a musician by the way?

Don't cancel the tickets. Lower births are much in demand in Indian train. Any one will gladly swap with your mum.
#3 Jul 11th, 2018, 10:50
Join Date:
Dec 2008
  • vaibhav_arora is offline
If your mother is a senior citizen (58 in case of women in India), the system would give her a lower berth by default. It is assumed that seniors would prefer not to climb. Since this is a system preference, re-booking may not help. As GP said, keep the tickets, it far easier to swap a lower for an upper than vice versa.

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