Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Seating choices on German trains between 1st and 2nd class

Seating choices on German trains between 1st and 2nd class

Apr 28th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,256
Seating choices on German trains between 1st and 2nd class

I'm trying to decide whether to choose 1st or 2nd class between Munich and Frankfurt. It's a 3 hour ride and I can't tell if 1st class gives me the options I want to justify the additional cost. I want to ride in a quiet car which is offered in both classes but my husband does not want to take the chance of being placed in a seating configuration with a table between two sets of facing seats.

For the train time I wanted, selecting a reservation in 1st class on an open saloon and a quiet car gave us restricted seating which I guessed is our seats would not be together. If I remove the restrictions of open saloon with tables our seating is not restricted but we don't want a seat with a table. I know there are less seats in 1st class but do more of the seats have tables or is it that there are fewer 1st class seats so our options are fewer.

FWIW, 1st class is 139 euros for the two of us and 2nd class is 109 euros. There is a 4 euros per seat reservation fee for either 1st or 2nd class.

Thanks for any help you can give me regarding the differences between 1st and 2nd class cars. Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 04:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,727
I have never travelled 1st class on a German train, but I have travelled 2nd class quite a few times - on the ICE trains, it is perfectly comfortable. I wouldn't spend the extra money for 1st class.
november_moon is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,093
The so-called "quiet car" means that mobile phones are not supposed to be used. This has proved rather useless because there are too many people around who don't bother - especially businesspeople who feel too important to care about the rest of the world, and you'll have these in first class just as well.
quokka is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 11:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 308
DeborahAnn, unless your selection is a Friday afternoon or a holiday, you will not have any trouble finding 2 seats together without reservations in 1st or 2nd class. I wasted a few Euros last summer making seat reservations and we used them only one time out of 7 trains. I finally got smart and spent the money on beer instead...In fact we rode 2nd class with a first class ticket 3 times because there were more seating options. One of the legs was a Munich to Frankfurt morning trip...
Travelforbeer is offline  
Apr 28th, 2012, 11:46 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8,040
The traveling beer and quokka speak the truth.

Assuming that you plan to ride on a northbound ICE service from Munich, 99% of those start at Munich central station. So you will be the first to board the train. And as always a good percentage of seats is blocked from seat reservations, you should have no troubles at all to find two seats together, either in 1st or 2nd class.
When you search connections at bahn.de you would see a little warning icon saying "Reservations recommended" if that specific date and train was notorious to get full.

As you said, there are much more 2nd class than 1st class cars. And as the seating layout is 2-2 in 2nd class compared to 2-1 in 1st you have even more options in 2nd class.

I perfectly understand your dislike of the "vis-a-vis" seats with the table in between. I does cut into the legroom substantially.
And especially in 1st class these seats attract business people who hammer away on their notebooks and chatting non-stop on their mobiles and make that "compartment" their traveling office.
And the "quiet car" designation has a more technical meaning as it just says that those cars are not equipped with repeaters for mobile phones/data but still the connection is usually good enough for people to get on your nerves with endless chatter.

I do travel 1st class on business once in a while but aside from peak travel times I'd never waste my own money on it (while with the fares you got the difference in costs is not that relevant, I guess).
A certain bonus of travelling in 1st class could be that you can order drinks and meals from the dining car to be served at your seat. And that you may have more space available at the luggage racks. Otherwise the seats are not that much more comfortable or special to justify a more steeper surcharge than the one you are quoted.

Currently there are major works going on on that last bit of your upcoming trip before you get to Frankfurt. If you need to connect to a certain other train there and plan to travel during the next weeks, I'd allow 30 minutes more time on top of what the connections at bahn.de tell you.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2012, 03:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,256
Thank you, all your comments have been very helpful. Quokka, when I think of Germany I imagine people being very "orderly" so I was hoping that I would find the quiet cars to be free of loud cell phone conversations I appreciate the comments about the reasons to opt for 1st class and they don't seem to matter to us on this particular journey. We are still train "rookies" so I will probably opt for reservations just in case there is a run on seat reservations at the last minute. Thanks again, Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Apr 29th, 2012, 11:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 938
If things are really crowded, the restaurant car is also full. But otherwise it's often a good option to simply sit down there and spend the difference of the 1st and 2nd class fare on a breakfast.
Hans is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Nov 1st, 2016 11:28 AM
Jun 18th, 2003 03:06 PM
Jul 3rd, 2002 07:13 AM
Feb 20th, 2002 02:07 PM
Aug 20th, 1999 12:27 AM

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 07:00 PM.