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JoanieI Mar 4th, 2008 01:57 PM

AVE train Madrid to Barcelona
I looked at the Renfe website to purchase tickets for the high speed train from Madrid to Barcelona. Can someone tell me the difference between 1st class and Club? Thanks!

Maribel Mar 4th, 2008 04:41 PM

About the 3 classes of service on the new Madrid to Barcelona AVE:

Turista (tourist) which is reported to be very comfortable

Preferente, which I think of it as business class, which Renfe calls first class.

The Club car, which I think (??) is more or less equivalent to first class on the US Northeast Corridor Acela Express (which I've only taken once).

Preferente passengers have access to the sala AVE lounges at Atocha and Sants stations (with free soft drinks/water/coffee, snacks, press and computer access) and are served a set meal on board, which actually isn't bad, with accompanying wine, after dinner cordials if traveling at lunch or dinner time.

The seat configuration of preferente and club is 2-1, fewer passengers per car and a quieter ride during peak times.

Two more extras in the club car are a la carte meals and unlimited drinks.

We've bought preferente seats when the trip is over 3 1/2 hrs, but we've never purchased club car seats. On the Madrid-Barcelona route I wouldn't spend 30 euros more.

And for the non-stop Barcelona-Madrid AVEs, now a ride of 2 hrs. 38 min. we wouldn't spend the extra money for preferente.

If you purchase a preferente (1st class) seat at least 7 days prior to departure, you can sometimes find an Estrella, 40% discount fare.

No discounts in club class.

Hope that helps a bit to explain the difference.

JoanieI Mar 5th, 2008 03:36 AM

Thanks Maribel that's very helpful! Now if I could just buy the tickets on their Website. For some reason it doesn't complete the transaction and returns me to the previous screen.

yk Mar 5th, 2008 05:23 AM

Joaniel- Are you trying to buy the tickets on the English website or the Spanish website? From my previous experience, the English version has problems, so I ended up buying the tix on the Spanish website.

You know about discounted "web" and "estrella" fares, right?

Also, you know that you can print out your train ticket immediately after your purchase? Make sure you have your pop-up blocker turned off, or else your ticket (in pdf) will be blocked and you won't be able to print it out.

Maribel Mar 5th, 2008 06:38 AM

I've written a "tutorial on purchasing Renfe tickets online" and have placed it on my travel web page. It might help walk you through the process.

It's at

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