differences in TGV ticket levels

Nov 12th, 2009, 11:39 AM
  #1  
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differences in TGV ticket levels

Hi:

I'm buying some TGV tickets and wondered if it's worth it to spend more for first class tickets, or is it a waste of money? We're traveling from Paris to Avignon.

Any suggestions or tips would be welcome. Thanks in advance.
ksbeem is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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I was about to ask that question for the exact same route! Seems like a big cost difference for food and beverage service. Knowledgeable input would be greatly appreciated.
SuzChicago is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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I don't think the minor difference in seating is worth the extra expense. You can bring a wonderful picnic on board for a lot less than the cost of the upgrade.

BTW, when last we were at Avignon TGV station, there were no signs for the car rentals. They are all on the west side of the station. So far as I can recall, no one has posted that signs have been put up in the last 18 months.
Jeff801 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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Thanks for that info, Jeff801! I did need to know about car rental, too.
ksbeem is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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no, it's not a waste of money, first and second class aren't identical. But no one can tell you how you will value that service, people have completely different opinions based on their taste for the differences and how they value that. I don't think anyone can predict for you what's important or how to value it. I like first because it's less crowded, mainly, and thus you have more room for your stuff and it can be quieter due to that, also. I guess mainly the seats are a little nicer, I'm not sure -- it depends on the route, I have been on some second class TGVs where the seats were not even upholstered, I think, but maybe those were regular trains.

I've been on second class TGVs near Paris that were filled with quite loud young people, also, and some were drunk, but that's not the norm. That was on a Sunday going back to Paris. That was a Tours to Paris run, actually, don't know if they were at some soccer game or just drunk in general (it was late afternoon, I think), but I don't think that would happen in first class. Now that wouldn't be an issue Paris to Avignon in the morning, I'm sure.

Tickets first class often aren't much more expensive, anyway, that's why I do it, in fact, sometimes they are the same price or almost (if you buy PREMs).

Some people will tell you it's a waste of money, they think it is. It's just opinion.
Christina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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oh, I was going to add that the difference doesn't have anything to do with food and beverage service to me, in fact, I'm not sure what that means. YOu don't get food or beverages as part of your price like you do on an AVE, for example. Maybe they have someone asking you if you want to buy something, but anyone on the train can buy something somewhere, as far as I know, if you go to the right car. I never buy food on a train.
Christina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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There is a difference between 1st and 2nd class - duh that's why folks will pay a lot more for first class - if no one thought it worth the extra euros there would be no first class. But i did not know you got food and beverages at your seats - at least not complimentary IME but perhaps this is new within the last year since i've ridden them. But anyone this frequent 'no difference between classes except money is nonsense.

IMO anyone who says there is little difference between the classes simply has not gone in first class and a quick glance won't tell you much.

Much more room for luggage and seats are bigger - 25% less seats in same train car size - lots of aisle and window - so called isolated seats - these seats can face each other and there may be a table in between them - ditto for 2 by 2 seats but i think rarely so in 2nd class.

Apply the same criteria to a long train ride as you do to the choice of a hotel, restaurant, etc. You can feed yourself perfectly well at McDoos as at more expensive restaurants, etc.

And as Christina says sometimes the PREM first class tickets can be cheaper than full-fare 2nd class tickets.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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I agree with what Christina 100% or almost, including :

> I was going to add that the difference doesn't have anything to do with food and beverage service to me, in fact, I'm not sure what that means.

I don't know what you mean by that either. It is possible when you are in the first class, you can reserve a meal ato be served t your seat, that they don't in the 2nd class. But you have to pay like €30 (very approximate) and often heard the food is not worth the price. Also I'm not sure if you can reserve the 1st class meal if you buy your ticket on internet.
kappa1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Well not worth it to me - yes there are differences but I'm perfectly comforatble in 2nd class. Sometimes there have been annoying passengers (I hate the cell phone talkers! and sometimes there are some annoying yewts) but I can make do for a couple of hours. Do try to get the PREM fares - they will save you lots of E's!
suec1 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 12:58 PM
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suec1's take is a good one - to her it is not worth it - this is a personal decision of whether it is worth it or not to each individual - but there is quite a bit of difference but that don't mean 2nd class is uncomfortable, etc.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 01:39 PM
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actually, what I meant about first class being the same or cheaper than second class was even when both were PREM fares -- I think it depends on how many seats they have left. I'm pretty sure I've seen options where they say you can buy first class PREMs and the price was about the same as the second class PREMs.
Christina is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Due to pricing oddities and train times, sometimes 1st class is cheaper than 2nd class! Other times, there may be 5 euros difference. In July on my annual trip to Avignon, I traveled in 1st class for 30€ each way.
kerouac is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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(I am referring to 1st class Prem's being cheaper than 2nd class Prem's -- obviously they are cheaper than full fare tickets in either class.)
kerouac is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 02:03 PM
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Due to pricing oddities and train times, sometimes 1st class is cheaper than 2nd class!>

brings to mind a thing i witnessed in line at CDG TGV station - an elderly American couple asked for tickets to Angers and the guy quoted them 2nd class fare and then said but for seniors it would be cheaper for them to buy 1st class senior tickets - now this was a few years ago and i do not know if senior standing any longer makes such a difference but indeed they went first-class cheaper than 2nd class.
Palenque is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Alright -- Went on to TGV site. Picked a Saturday in mid-January and here's what pops for fares (mid-day.)

Economy Restricted 2nd class -- $100.00
Freedom Flexible 2nd class -- $158.00
Comfort Restricted 1st class -- $137.00
Premier 1st Class -- $260.00 (meal included)


These are one-way fares. Seems like the higher end 2nd and 1st allow you refundable/flexible fares if you end up wanting to take a different train. Why would I spend $58 extra in 2nd class for that or almost double the differential for "flexible" and yes, (per the website) a meal. The only info the website provides is the claim "Dining cars are a unique part of the train experience, where the quality of the food and wine can rival that of a gourmet restaurant."

I realize that everyone has different standards of what is worth it, but it's hard to judge why it is worth it to pay an extra $160 by looking at the website. Less crowded and hectic does sound nice, but with 3 travelers that is a costly "nice."

A couple of years ago we took the train from Rome to Venice and had a killer meal and wines in First class -- I enjoyed it immensely but I wouldn't say the experience is worth $120 extra to get the "Premier". Any further knowledge out there?
SuzChicago is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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Don't know what you're looking at, but I just checked the TGV site and there are prices as low as 44 euro one-way Paris to Avignon in 2nd class on Saturday, January 16.

I would never order a meal on a French train, so I wouldn't plan to do that no matter what trains you end up taking. Save your euros for when you can sit down and enjoy a restaurant. Take a picnic on the train - that's what the French do.
StCirq is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Googled TGV and came up with this:

http://www.raileurope.com/index.html

Is there a different website? Is it more expensive if I'm buying from the U.S.?
SuzChicago is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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No wonder you're getting such high prices. That's the RailEurope site, where you can easily pay 2-3 times more than you need to. Go to www.voyages-sncf.com and look for PREM fares.

No, it's not more expensive if you're buying from the USA; it's more expensive if you're buying from RailEurope.
StCirq is online now  
Nov 12th, 2009, 10:22 PM
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SuzChicago, most people who have read about RailEurope on this forum would not buy from them. Do a text search here for " RailEurope ". It's often mentioned (usually negatively) relating to TGV and other European train travels.
kappa1 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 12:24 AM
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If you could find PREM fares (www.voyages-sncf.com) in 1st class and you know for certain that you want to take that train, buy the ticket before it's gone.

Bringing your own food onto the train is a good idea.

I personally don't think there's much difference between 1st and 2nd in terms of the seat size; it's more about the space to store luggage and the number of people in the train car.
For some, these two factors might be big issues.
nancicita is offline  

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