OUIGO trains: low cost fares to compete with Renfe

ouigo trains

OUIGO trains take you to some of the most popular destinations in Spain at some of the most competitive prices.

Do your research and compare fares! The good news is that there’s a great site for that.

Purchase your train tickets online with the best booking platform.

OUIGO Spain is the first Spanish railway operator specialized in low cost high-speed trains. It’s a subsidiary of the French national state-owned railway company SNCF and was the first to compete with the incumbent Renfe after the liberalization of passenger rail transport.

Nowdays it also competes with Renfe’s low cost company – Avlo , and the market’s new entrant – iryo.

It’s also the only Spanish company that uses high-speed double-decker trains.

OIUGO trains: long distance routes

Currently OUIGO trains operate on 3 routes:

  • Madrid Atocha – Tarragona – Zaragoza – Barcelona
  • Madrid Chamartín – Valencia
  • Madrid Chamartín – Albacete – Alicante

OUIGO Spain services will gradually be extended to other high-speed lines in Spain.

OUIGO fare system

OUIGO trains have a mixture of increased capacity all being double-decker trains, and what I would call ‘stripped-back’ interior, allowing for discounted prices.

Some of the things you would get as standard on other high-speed trains are available as optional extras at a cost (ticket flexibility, seat selection and XL size, additional luggage). This helps keep seats as cheap as possible as you’re paying for the bare necessities: a seat and a minimal baggage allowance.

There’s only one class (Economy) with assigned seats:

  • The only ticket offered in OUIGO trains is called Estándar (or Standard), which is a 2nd class seating 2+2 across the car width.
  • OUIGO offers dedicated rates for child tickets:
    • 0-3 years. They don’t require a ticket if they travel on an adult’s lap, but they will need a child ticket if they are placed in a seat. This includes a hand bag (27x36x15 cm) to carry everything the baby needs during the trip.
    • 4-13 years. They travel at a reduced rate.

Two different add-ons or upgrades are available: OUIGO Plus and OUIGO Flex.

OUIGO Plus

For an additional fee per person, OUIGO Plus offers:

  • Seat selection.
  • Priority assignment in XL seats when available.
  • 1 additional or XL baggage.
  • Unlimited ticket holder changes.
  • Access to premium entertainment service.

OUIGO Flex

With the OUIGO Flex option you can change the time and/or date up to 30 minutes before the train departs, at no additional cost. You’ll only have to pay for the price difference if there’s one.

However, you cannot change the departure and/or arrival destination.

You must take the OUIGO Flex option at the time of the booking.

You’re entitled to compensation if your train is delayed

If your OUIGO train is delayed, you’re entitled to claim compensation.

However, you’ll receive a discount voucher for your next trip. No cash will be reimbursed into your credit or debit card.

The conditions are as follows:

  • A delay over 60 minutes entitles you to a 50% refund of your ticket price.
  • A delay over 90 minutes entitles you to a 100% refund of your ticket price.

OUIGO trains luggage allowance

For the basic price, you’re limited to a personal item and carry-on sized suitcase if you want to travel free of charge:

  • 1 piece of hand luggage (bag, backpack, etc.) subject to the following size limitations: 36x27x15 cm.
  • 1 carry-on luggage, subject to the following size limitations: 55x35x25 cm.

Babies and children are subject to same baggage allowance. You may also take a stroller for them but you must declare at the time of the booking. And you must be fold it in the train.

As an add-on paying an extra, you can take up to 2 XL luggage pieces (maximum 2 m and less than 30 kg).

If you don’t pay online in advance you will be charged a penalty fee per item at check-in. So it’s definitely cheaper to purchase an additional bag before boarding rather than taking the risk of arguing with OUIGO’s staff.

OUIGO trains onboard services

Unlike the AVE, Avlo and iryo however, to use on-board WiFi you must pay an extra fee per ticket when you book.

All seats have a European power socket and USB connection for charging your devices. Take with you a universal travel plug adapter if your devices don’t have two round pins in their plug and/or if you want to charge more than one device at once.

There is a cafeteria called OuiBar on the upper level of one of the cars. There you can get snacks like chips and candy, small sandwiches, sodas, beer, wine, other alcoholic drinks, water, coffee, and infusions. Oftentimes, many products are out of stock. Payment is only by card, and foreign credit cards usually don’t work, so make sure you have a travel money card with you.

You can take pets on OUIGO trains under 10 kg if they are in a cage measuring up to 60x35x35 cm for an extra fee.

Should you take OUIGO trains?

For the most part OUIGO has plenty of perks that are worth highlighting, not least the below average prices for train tickets.

But there are some limitations and extra costs you should know about before booking your first ticket.

Advantages of OUIGO

  • OUIGO offers cheap tickets, usually cheaper than those of Renfe’s AVE.
  • You can add many extras (ticket flexibility, seat selection and XL size, additional luggage) to the basic fare.

Disadvantages of OUIGO

  • The basic seat are smaller and less-comfortable than on other company’s high-speed trains.
  • OUIGO staff checks your luggage on boarding to make sure you comply with the company’s restrictive baggage limits.
  • You must arrive at least 30 minutes before your train departs, which none of its competitors do prior to the boarding.

This article is part of a complete tutorial about train travel in Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your train journeys around the country.

Here is a complete summary of all the guide:

1. Spain trains: everything you need to know
2. How to purchase Renfe train tickets online
3. 7 tricks to get cheap train tickets in Spain
4. Renfe: Spain’s state-owned railway company
5. AVE trains: Renfe high-speed trains in Spain
6. The Combinado Cercanías ticket
7. The Renfe Spain Pass
8. Avlo: Renfe’s high speed low cost trains
9. OUIGO trains: SNCF’s high speed low cost company
10. iryo: Spain’s low cost high-speed rail operator
11. 7 packing tips to comply with your train baggage allowance

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