Read the article « Voyages professionnels : la SNCF fait la chasse aux réductions Familles Nombreuses » :

In a message sent to travel agents, the SNCF reminds them that « the Large Family discount is intended for cardholders and not for third parties, in particular the passenger’s employer ».

SNCF added: « The Large Family price, governed by the French Social Action and Family Code (article L. 112-1), was created by the law of 29 October 1921 (Article 8). The principle laid down by the legislator is to grant a reduction on the price of rail travel in order to lighten the financial burden for families with more than three children ».

From 1 January 2017, the carrier will introduce measures to restrict the use of Large Family prices to personal or leisure travel only.

The Large Family price

It’s a price we’re all familiar with. In order to lighten the financial burden for families with more than three children, a reduction is granted for large families. This provision should only apply to stays for personal reasons, even if the rule in Article 8 (see top box) is not very explicit on this subject. The spirit is clear, but it is not really specified.

The aim is therefore to clarify the conditions of application of this price. And to put in place measures to ensure that these conditions are respected.

SNCF & Revenue Integrity

Cases of misappropriation of pricing conditions are fairly widespread in the transport and tourism sectors. In a previous article, we looked at the case of airline cruisers who cleverly combine several tickets to make up a round trip during the week and avoid the Sunday Rule (the obligation to spend Saturday night on site).

Aware of the stakes involved in the correct application of pricing rules, SNCF is embarking on a Revenue Integrity approach, without saying so or formalising it in these terms. It has already done so by tightening the penalties for fraud. And that’s a good thing.

How do we go about it?

The difficulty for SNCF will be to find a way of enforcing the rule. When the father or mother of a large family travels for business reasons, with payment made by their company, how can this be detected? Can SNCF identify that the trip is for business reasons?

Will it check the means of payment? The credit card holder? Check the passenger’s luggage? Obviously not.

Will it technically prohibit access to Leisure prices on weekdays/time slots that are very business-oriented? Probably, at least that’s what we would do.

But that’s not the case at the moment…

In fact, after a few quick simulations on the booking site, I was able to easily find a TGV PRO LOISIR price for a return trip from Paris to Lyon on the first Tuesday of the week (departure very early in the morning, return around 6pm). In short, a purely business trip with a price labelled LOISIR! In short, a purely business trip with a price labelled LOISIR! (There’s also a TGV PRO 1ère fare available for just 5€ more, on an outward journey at 138€).

It would be difficult to deny me access to the Large Family discount on this type of holiday on the grounds that it’s a business holiday if the name of the price I’ve been offered turns out to be TGV LOISIR.

Dear SNCF Pricers, the ball is now in your court: amend your general terms and conditions of sale to allow the Large Family discount only on LOISIR price and prohibit it on PRO price. Then close the sale of these LOISIR prices in the early morning and 6pm-8pm business slots on weekdays.

But that’s just a suggestion. We can’t wait to see what you come up with…

Keywords: Revenue Integrity, SNCF, Large Family price, TGV, General Terms and Conditions of Sale