Please sign in to post.

Are 2nd class train seats enough for big & tall types?

My husband and I are about to buy passes and he is considering getting 1st class so that he can have more room. He's quite tall so ideally he'd like decent legroom and he is also wondering about the difference in seat width between the classes. We will be traveling in France and Italy.

Posted by
2297 posts

At 6'3" and 250 lbs the second class seating on German trains (regional/IC/ICE) felt more than adequate to my husband. Much much better than comparable to economy seating on a plane! He's done the TGV in France as well and was quite happy in second class.

He's constantly complaining that his company is so cheap that they only allow him economy airfare in such a cheap category that he can't even upgrade the tickets on his own (it is ALL travel of more than 10 hours flying!). But he's never complained about them cheaping out by paying only second class train fare.

Posted by
12040 posts

Before you read further, a big caveat: my only experience in first class seating was on a Deutsche Bahn ICE, which may or may not be comparable to French and Italian rail. When comparing a 2nd class to a 1st class compartment, there didn't seem to be much difference in either the size of the seats or the width between them (the seats face each other). The difference is that there were less seats in the 1st class compartment. There was a work space where there would be an extra seat in 2nd class.

Posted by
12172 posts

I've ridden both. I haven't yet seen a reason to need 1st class. The size is about the same and comfort level isn't significantly different.

The only advantage I've seen to 1st class is it's usually quieter (less talking and kids).

Posted by
3580 posts

In my experience, the first class cars in Italy tend to be less crowded. Often the seats are wider and plusher in first class. In your situation, I would recommend buying first-class passes or just buying point-to-point tix. The advantage of passes is that you can have that part of your trip pre-paid. The dis-advantages are that you often pay more and have to get reservations for your trips, anyway. This could require a trip to the train station.

Posted by
23471 posts

To give a bases for comparison I would equate 2nd class train seats as about equal to business class on a airplane. Absolutely nothing like economy class. You need to explain -- quite tall -- I am 6-2 and the seats are more than adequate. First class seats are wider but only marginally so. You will find three across seating (2x1) in first and four (2x2) in second. Now if he is a Seattle tackle then I think first class would be preferred.

And be sure you absolutely need a rail pass. These day it is hard to make a rail pass pay, especially with the extra fees, unless you are taking long journeys every other day.

Posted by
14580 posts

Between the 1st and 2nd class TGV in France, there is a definite difference aside from the seat being a bit more plush. The 1st class TGV has more leg space, and it's worth the few more Euro to reserve a 1st class TGV if you going more than 3 hrs. The 2nd class TGV is too cramped for me. Without a doubt riding the 1st class TGV is more comfortable.

Posted by
83 posts

Thanks for all the input. My husband is around 6 feet 6 inches tall and 300 pounds. So a pretty big guy. As far as the passes go, my husband said it will cost about 50 dollars less to get a regional saverpass instead of doing point-to-point. Of course, that figure does not include the extra fees they will tack on for some rides.