First class seats are wider and have more legroom than standard class seats. The carriages feel calmer, quieter and more spacious, since there are fewer passengers.
On some high speed trains – Eurostar and Thalys, for example – first class fares include food and drink served to you at your seat. There may be other benefits as well, such as complimentary broadband access (e.g. France-Netherlands Thalys high speed trains) and daily morning newspapers.
Where you don’t need to reserve a seat – on local and regional services, for example – there’s less of a difference between first and standard class.
They’re actually more affordable than you might think. In fact, first class fares in Europe are only around 50% more than standard class fares.
And after all, if you’re travelling a long distance, why not do it in style?
Rail travel in places such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe is quite cheap anyway, so first class travel here represents excellent value.
If you want to experience the very finest service and facilities, take a trip on a ‘train hotel’.
Consider, for example, the ‘Gran Class’ tickets on the Spanish Elipsos Trenhotel. Each 1 or 2 bed compartment has a private shower, toilet and washbasin. And your fare includes a 3 course à la carte dinner with drinks, as well as a five star continental breakfast in the morning.
See our train guides for more details on travel classes »
If you really want to experience the luxury of a bygone age for that once in a lifetime trip, the Orient Express website will give you plenty to think about…
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