Please sign in to post.

Eurail Global Pass

What's the real difference between 1st and 2nd class tickets? I've read on the Eurail website, but they're not that clear. I'll be wanting to buy a 22 day continuous Eurail Global. I'm tempted to go with 1st class because of "perceived" travel comforts and probably not as crowded as 2nd class (steerage) LOL

Thanks!

Posted by
19022 posts

I have not found there to be a significant difference between 1st and 2nd class on trains in Europe, except for the price. If you want steerage, look at economy on an airplane, not 2nd class rail. Perhaps if you are really obese, you need the extra room on 1st class, but for normal people, 2nd class seats are fine.

When I first traveled on business in Europe, the company paid for 1st class, but when I went on my own dime, I got a special deal on a German Rail Pass from DER and it was only available for 2nd class. After riding in 2nd class for two weeks I decided 1st class wasn't worth it, and I have ridden 2nd class ever since, even when someone else was paying for it. I have very rarely found even 2nd class to be crowded.

Posted by
23110 posts

Agree with Lee. First class seating is 2x1 and second class is 2x2. So you get a little extra width. I don't find the distance between seats - legroom - to be significantly greater. Second class (economy seating) on trains is similar to business class on an plane as to space. At 6-2" I find 2nd class on the train more than adequate. We rarely pay for the difference unless we get deal for first class. First class is less crowded because of few seats but personally find little advantage to first class seating.

Also do your homework regarding the train pass. Train passes these days are rarely cheaper especially when you factor in reservations fees and limited availability on some trains.

Posted by
104 posts

I'm flying economy via Norwegian Air! I'm not obese. But since I'll be spending more time on trains than anywhere else, I think I'd be comfortable in 1st Class:

1st Class Benefits:

Individually adjustable seats
More room between the seats sideways
More legroom
Extra wide tables
Electric outlet per seat
Cabin service: menus are served at your seat
Wifi

2nd Class Tickets are;

Modern seats in open cars
Compartments (6 seats)
Generous luggage racks / luggage compartments
Multifunctional tables
One electric outlet per double seat
Restaurant and bistro car
Wi-Fi (Some cars)

I've probably answered my own questions in re-reading Eurail.com I think it would be beneficial for the WiFi alone and the electrical outlet. Plus, if 1st class would happen to be full, I could always schlep it to 2nd class, but not the other way around.

If anyone has experience with 1st vs 2nd, please chime in!!

Posted by
23110 posts

We have chimed in. Most of the above reasons you listed are inaccurate or half truths at best. May be available on some trains but not the majority. And depending on the country seats for rail passes are very limited and in France the seat reservation fee can be higher than a discount ticket. You really need to do your homework and not rely on marketing hype designed to sell passes.

PS -- First, train rarely if ever sell out. If they do it is second class and not first class that sells out. So ifnfirst class was sold out, you will not find a seat in second class. AND -- since you are required to have a seat reservation on many trains, the idea of going back to second class doesn't work either.

Posted by
7209 posts

Did you choose a Eurail based on price comparisons of point to point tickets? perceived ease of use? Just curious...because if you're a regular reader on these forums you've probably already read about the ease of use and lower price of point to point tickets.

Posted by
19022 posts

If anyone has experience with 1st vs 2nd, please chime in!!

Two of us just did. You are apparently looking for validation, not opinion.

Hey, it's your money. You seem to want to spend it on 1st class. If that makes you happy, go for it.

Posted by
3196 posts

I choose to spend some of my hard-earned money on first class train travel in Europe. I like the occasional free drink and free meal. I like a bit more space and fewer people around me. I also like a bit more room for my luggage.

I traveled a lot for work - long flights in coach. Those days of coach travel are paying for my business class flights and first class train rides now.

Posted by
5697 posts

OK, I have bought first class tickets on occasion -- when the difference in price was minimal (€10 or less on a long trip for two.) If there's a first-class lounge at your departure station, that can be a minor bonus. Second class seating is plenty comfortable and gets there at the same time as first class seating.
Are you sure about the pass issue (first OR second class) ?

Posted by
19260 posts

Yeah, and that map the OP posted on the other thread (also available on the RS site) is the spur of the moment prices Eurail uses to convince people to buy passes. There are cheaper ways to buy tickets than walking into the station and just buying a ticket for the next train. Imagine if you did that for airline tickets.

Posted by
8151 posts

If the OP wants to spend her travel money one way it is entirely her business. We each have our likes and dislikes.
It is extremely kind of those who responded to her question to share your experiences as it seemed as if this was what she was asking for. Thank you for your time.

Please don't take it personally that she decided to go ahead and do something different.

Posted by
1396 posts

2nd class is fine, but my husband strongly prefers 1st class for the main reason that it is usually much less crowded. (He's not much of a socialite:). It makes a difference if the trips are longer ones. 1st class is more comfortable, but I do agree with others that for the most part the reasons you gave are not valid. Sometimes you can find a compartment in first class and it may have an electrical outlet. The only train I've ever seen that actually serves food in 1st class is the Eurostar. For the most part you are getting a quieter less crowded train car than 2nd class. It is your money and only you know your priorities.

Posted by
8889 posts

1st Class Benefits:
Individually adjustable seats
More room between the seats sideways
More legroom
Extra wide tables
Electric outlet per seat
Cabin service: menus are served at your seat
Wifi

2nd Class Tickets are;
Modern seats in open cars
Compartments (6 seats)
Generous luggage racks / luggage compartments
Multifunctional tables
One electric outlet per double seat
Restaurant and bistro car
Wi-Fi (Some cars)

That looks like some text I saw on on the Eurail website. And as much of the Eurail pass website, it is carefully crafted near-truth designed to mislead the novice traveller without actually lying.

It cannot possibly be true, because Eurail doesn't run any trains. The trains are run by many many (probably nearly 100) different railway companies in different countries. And each company buys its own trains, different models for long distance trains to those used for shorter runs, and of different ages from brand new to 30 years old.
It is about as factual as saying cars running on US roads have GPS fitted.

2nd class is 2+2 seating, 1st class is 2+1, with a little bit more legroom. Seats may be "airline style" (facing back of set in front), or the more traditional facing front to front. Most coaches have a mixture. Whether WiFi, electrical sockets, buffet and other facilities exist depends on the policies of each rail company a lot more than on 1st/2nd class.

If you want to see what the trains are like, go to the "Man in Seat 61" website ( https://www.seat61.com/ ), and select the section for the country you will be travelling in.
Note this site separately describes the trains in each country on different webpages, because there are significantly different.

Sorry for the rant, but the Eurail website needs very careful reading if you are not to get the wrong impressionism.

Posted by
104 posts

Thanks to those who answered without giving me a hammering. Thank you to Carol, traylaparks, etc. I went ahead and ordered my 1st Class voucher. Yes, I was also looking for validation. Sometimes it's a nice feeling to have. I have money to spend, despite this trip being a "non glamorous" trek. I remembered getting hammered by people who assumed that I wasn't able to afford anything more than a youth hostel. Some of you folks have become indentured here, too much time posting advice without taking the time for the travel - by the high post counts - it seems this way to me. Time to reel in the claws!

The fare calculator map I posted in the other thread is directly from this website, and the quoted text of the benefits of Eurail Passes were taken from, Eurail.com. No surprises! And yes, I am fully aware that Eurail doesn't own the trains LOL!

I'm not interested in buying point to point tickets for every journey. And by getting the 22 days continuous ticket will allow me to concentrate on the travel, not the ticketing. Go on a day trip out of the area will be easier for me with just 1 voucher.

Thanks to those of you that spoke to me as a person. I really appreciated that!

WhateverLA

Posted by
7209 posts

While you're concentrating on the traveling instead of ticketing you might want to give a thought or 2 to reservations because those are NOT included with Eurail, and without them you could possibly find yourself in a pickle on some journeys. Of course they ARE included where required if you buy a normal ticket :-)

Posted by
26441 posts

I suspect the reason some of us are so pushy about the negative financial aspects of rail passes is precisely because we do travel a lot, and it pains us to see people spending more than we think they need to. I might not feel I could afford to travel as much if I were paying double (or more) for my ground transportation. I used a rail pass on my first trip to Europe. In 1972. The world of European rail travel has changed since then.

It usually doesn't take more than 2 or 3 minutes to buy a train ticket out of a vending machine. International tickets may take longer but, as noted up-thread, those trips often require seat reservations, so there's still going to a purchase required even if you have a rail pass.

Posted by
14451 posts

Hi,

If the particular train intend to board without a reservation, say an ICE or IC or EC train and it appears that tons of people, maybe even a school group, are waiting at the 2nd class platform letters of A, B, C, etc, there is that distinct possibility that that you just may not find a seat in the crush of passengers. So, rather than chance that, you can wait at the 1st class platform letter and get on the 1st class coach, fewer people, more of a chance of finding an unreserved empty seat. You don't have to sit in 1st class always only because you have a 1st class Pass. When I had the 1st Pass Select or Regional Pass, there were more times I popped on the 2nd class when the train didn't have a ton of people waiting. Now I use only a 2nd class Pass.

How long is your trip where you want to use this 22 day consecutive Global Pass? Hopefully a month or more, and what is the geographic extent of the trip , ie from where to where? You'll get more using the Pass if you take night trains if they fit in the itinerary. That's another reason I use the Pass, ie for taking night trains.

Posted by
14451 posts

I buy point to point tickets too on the trip, obviously not every ride I take, far from it, is on the Pass. But it takes time to get the point to point tickets, be it at the Reisezentrum, waiting in line before your number appears on the screen, a la the DMV regarding your car, or standing line in front of a DB machine.

If you do zig zag traveling, (I do ), are willing to take night trains, ride mainly IC or ICE trains instead of regional ones, use the Pass.