1st Class v 2nd Class

Oct 11th, 2015, 09:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 4
1st Class v 2nd Class

We are travelling in Austria and Hungary via Railjet and Intercity trains at the beginning of January 2016. Obviously 1st class is a lot more expensive, but we are thinking our bags might be closer to us and more secure in 1st class (approx. 20kgs each).
Any advice from seasoned travellers out there on which class to travel would be really appreciated.
Alison99 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2015, 09:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,812
What you mentioned is roughly correct. There are more space around you in 1st class. However, the 1st class also tend to attract tour groups with everyone carrying huge luggage. If you are surrounded by these people, you would have wished you were in the 2nd class.

Additionally 20kg is a heavy luggage. That is more than twice what I carry.
greg is offline  
Oct 11th, 2015, 10:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,675
Hi Allison99,

Austria's trains actually have 3 classes: economy, first, and business (premium first).

I travel often on trains, and I've found there are great discounts for buying tickets about 90 days early. I usually get 1st class seats for the price of 2nd class walk-up fares.

You should start researching now, and you should see some of those advance-purchase savings fares.

Some people I know (and I also occasionally) bring along a bicycle-type cable lock to secure the luggage to the luggage rack.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Oct 11th, 2015, 10:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
You can certainly get discounts by buying early. I found the cheapest class on the Railjets perfectly comfortable.

Can you lift that 20 kg into the overhead? Will it fit in the overhead? Because otherwise you'll be leaving it at the end of the carriage, regardless of class. I travel with a 22 inch rolling case which usually weighs a bit over 11 kgs, and I can get it in the overhead if I have to. However, in second clas I can often fit it (sideways) into the gap between the seat backs. I traveled first the other day, something I rarely do, and I couldn't do that as the seats were arranged differently. Will not bother to pay the extra in future - the scenery is the same and you arrive at the same time.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 11th, 2015, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 3,393
we have travelled by train in both places and used economy. Our luggage went in the racks at the end of the carriage when we had large cases such as you do. I am paranoid (so my dh says) about the luggage being stolen so I sit as close as possible to it.
I must admit I was more comfortable when we had lighter luggage that could go in the overhear racks.
northie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 02:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,633
You need to try to think like a thief. First of all, long-distance trains are about the worst territory. You have to buy a ticket, and the stops are too far apart. A city bus or metro is a much richer hunting ground. Second, if you were a thief, where would you expect to find the best loot, in first or second class? Finally, would you be tempted by 20 kg suitcases that you can't make a quick getaway with? There are lots of dozing passengers who leave their iPads on the tray table in front of them, and people who leave their handbags on the seat while they rummage through their bags in the overhead compartment.
bvlenci is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 594
We travel 2nd class and this last time, we looked at the seating charts in order to purchase seats next to the luggage racks. The racks are not always at the end of the car... on our two recent trips -- Budapest to Vienna and Vienna to Prague -- there were two racks in each car, and they were more toward the middle. We try to board early so our bags would be on the bottom, and with these seats they were also within sight.

bvlenci, I know that others seem nonchalant about protecting iPads, etc. I wouldn't encourage anyone to do this, though. We were on a flight a few years back, seated in row 2 first class, when the guy in row 1 discovered that the iPhone he had on his aisle-side armrest had disappeared while the flight was boarding. Of course we all searched endlessly for it on the floor or in between seats, etc, but clearly someone boarding the flight had taken it. The flight attendants tried everything to retrieve the phone including sharing the story that he was coming from the funeral of a very close relative and the last photos were stored only on that phone, but to no avail.
GinnyJo is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 05:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Thank you all so much for your prompt replies. There are some very useful comments - using a bicycle cable lock to attach your luggage to the rack is a great idea.

Sorry, one more question! Does anyone have a preference on which website to use for booking the trains?
Alison99 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 06:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
Go here for ticket booking info:

thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 06:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,490
Cable locks are all very well, but make sure you get it undone in time to get off at your station. Trains often wait only a short time.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 06:46 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,305
"However, the 1st class also tend to attract tour groups with everyone carrying huge luggage."

Our experience traveling in Germany, Austria and Switzerland over the past several years has been the exact opposite. Tour groups are far more common in second class, esp during the summer or on school holidays.

We've taken the Railjet a few times this year in 1st and had no problems finding a place to store our luggage on the train (and our main suitcases weighed more than 10 kg) and we didn't worry about suitcase theft. FWIW, we almost always book seats in the quiet car. It's much easier to enjoy the passing scenery without having to hear people yammering on their mobile phones or loud music leaking from ineffective headphones/earbuds. The quiet car sometimes has fewer pax than other 1st class cars; sometimes it's in high demand.
WeisserTee is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,672
Choosing 1st class on a train because of luggage arrangements is a bit like, well, paying for $10,000 first class airline ticket instead of a $700 economy one purely because the airline's first class cabin has better coat hooks.

You go 1st class if you can afford it because it's more comfortable for you, not your bags, which pretty much goes for plane OR train. ;0)

All classes have luggage space, and if you sit next to it you're close, if you sit far away from it you're not.

By definition, 1st class has more space per passenger and tends to be less crowded, but that's what you pay for.

2nd class is fine

PS. Austrian trains have 1st & 2nd class, but their new Railjet trains have Business class (= premium first class), First class and Economy class.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 01:19 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,541
My experience is more like Weisser Tee's - after zillions of train trips all over Europe first class almost always has ample empty seats - i often put my bags on an empty adjoining seat (assuming there are other empty seats!) - much easier for luggage - 2nd class often is quite full with space in overhead luggage racks often hard to find.

2nd class is fine - first class is IME a lot more relaxed - for lots of info on trains including the class issue check not only Man in Seat 61 who posts above his commercial site - www.seat61.com (great tips about booking online thru national rail sites for discounts); www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

On the trip of a lifetime don't pinch and travel in a much IME much more relaxed style - especially if carrying lots of luggage.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 12th, 2015, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 594
I will second the advice to use Man_in_seat_61's site -- makes it so simple to book tickets. He is also wonderful about answering specific questions when the need arises. Thank you, Man_in_seat_61!
GinnyJo is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,541
Pack light when taking the train - you always have a fair amount of walking and stairs in stations and walking thru crowded train corridors, etc. there are luggage trolleys at most stations that are free - carry some euro coins to put in them to get them disengaged from the rack and you get the coin back if you return the cart to another rack somewhere else in the station.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
I think a 20 kg bag is fairly normal myself, it's a bit under airline limits and it's about what mine sometimes is. I have never once had to lift it overhead on a train, in fact, in any country. Most people don't on the long distance trains I've been on, unless they are just doing short weekend trips or something. There are other places to put your bags. I've never had problems, I don't think it would be easy to bag an 11 kg bag for your vacation myself unless it were a weekend.
Christina is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,348
A 20 kilo bag weighs 44 lbs. I certainly do not think that's " fairly normal". Even in my youth when I was schlepping around a 28" bag filled to capacity, it did not weigh that much. It is definitely not an easy amount to haul on/off trains or into over heads if necessary. Some trains do run to capacity, and the luggage racks may be full when you board. I doubt that a 20 kilo bag will fit between the seats, and the conductor will insist it be placed in the overhead.

BTW, I have traveled in First Class when it was full or nearly so. There's no guarantee that it won't be. No guarantee that there'll be plenty of luggage space either. A lot will also depend on where/when you board.

Unless you're into weight lifting, I'd strongly urge you to lighten your luggage load. Remember, no one ever comes home and says they wish that had taken more stuff.
historytraveler is offline  
Oct 13th, 2015, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,541
IME after zillions of trips in first class I have rarely not seen empty seats - that's my experience anyway - first class will always be less crowded than 2nd class though it can at times be full but I've rarely seen that. Indeed I usually have an empty seat next to me where I can put my bags. Well that is my experience - if worried about luggage go first class and PACK LIGHT!
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 17th, 2015, 04:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 4
Hi All

Thanks again for taking the time to write all your helpful comments. There was some really good advice. We're getting very excited about our holiday, and hoping the train travel will go smoothly!!!!

Alison99 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2015, 11:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,541
Please report back after you return!
PalenQ is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:00 AM.