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1st vs 2nd class on ES trains

Can someone please clearly tell me the difference between 1st and 2nd class seats on the ES trains? I know a lot of people say don't spend extra for the 1st class seats, but I am wondering why. My best friend who is from Italy only recommends the 1st class seats, so, I'm curious to know what the real differences are so that I can decide between the two. Thanks.

Posted by
576 posts

The first and second class trains looked pretty much the same to me. On one train, though, our family couldn't find seats together in 2nd class and sat down in first. We were politely asked by the conductor to go to 2nd class (as were many other people). This only happened one time. We found seats near each other and moved together as people got off. It would be easier to find a guaranteed seat in first class, unless you're on a train where second class seats can also be reserved. Then I can't imagine what the difference would be. Maybe if I were European, the price difference wouldn't matter as much. But with the conversion rate as it is, I don't think first class is worth the higher cost.

Posted by
689 posts

Depending upon when and where you are traveling, 1st class may have AC and 2nd won't. If you are on a train for 3 or 4 hours or more in July and August == you will want the AC.

Posted by
683 posts

First class seats cost much more. On some lines, a snack or even a meal, is served at your seat.That latter depends on how long the journey is.
We have only taken 1st when 2d is sold out.

Posted by
32 posts

We took only second because there were 6 of us. We didn't have a problem. But we didn't take any real long trips, just between cities. Someone said they chose 1st class because there would be fewer children, but I'm not sure that would be correct all the time. I'd go 2nd class again, and not spend the extra for first. Just make sure you get on the correct car. We accidently got on 1st class car one time, had to move mid trip and couldn't find a seat.

Posted by
84 posts

I've only been on German/Austrian trains so far, but from my experience first class seats are roomier, more private, and there is more space. I assume this would be similar for the Italian trains (at least the Eurostar)?

When I travel solo, I prefer knowing where exactly I am going to sit for the long hauls, and first class takes away some of the "awkwardness" of sitting with people I don't know (I know I know...but I'm shy!)...but when traveling with others or for shorter rides, 2nd class is fine. But that's just me. :-)

Posted by
1127 posts

on ES trains second class is perfectly comfortable and has a/c. First class gives a bit more space and depending on the length of your journey you may be served cookies & juice. If you are not taking an ES train definately go first class.

Posted by
241 posts

There is not much difference between 1st and 2nd. What matters most is to have a seat reservation. You cannot predict how full your car will be. If it is booked to standing room only and you don't have that reservation you'll regret it dearly. We generally found major trains filled and shore haul runs making many stops not full. Another thing you'll find is if you get on a major train at an intermediate point during its trip you'll be fighting past people and suitcases in the aisle. That reserved seat is mighty welcoming...once you reach it. Expect to have to kick out a squatter. Be firm but insistance and show them your ticket with reserved seating. They will have a ticket but no reservation. What really matters is how crowded the train is, and you can't predict that.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks everyone... I don't think the issue of not having a seat will be an issue with the ES trains as it is my understanding that in both first and second classes there are assigned seats. Those trains are not a free for all. I may try taking first for one, second for another and definitely first for our trip from Venice to Como as that is not an ES train.