swiss trains - 1st class vs. 2nd class

Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:18 AM
  #1  
hkg
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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swiss trains - 1st class vs. 2nd class

Hi,
We are travelling to Switzerland for the first time. Its pretty confusing as to what pass we should buy? There is a $100 difference between 1st and 2nd class pass. What are the advantages of 1st class? For regular travelling, I don't think we would care that much. But for trains like glacier express or golden pass, I think 1st class would be better because they are panaromic coaches? Is that right?
Also, we will be going to Zermatt in addition to spending a few days in BO. So, in that case, is a swiss pass better than regional pass or swiss card?
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:25 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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First class is more comfortable,and the panaromic cars are well worth it.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:42 AM
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Took the family of 6, including 4 wee ones, on the Goldenpass from Interlaken to Montreux in April. Went First Class so as to have the benefit of the panoramic windows, which were well worth it. Also, there are fewer seats in the First Class car, and the arrangement is far more relaxing. The service cart is kind of a joke, but it's all about the view. Also took First Class from Bern to Interlaken, and from Montreux to Geneva. The former was very nice, and the latter was no different from second class. All in all, I have found First Class to be well worth the relatively small additional charge.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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Hi, hkg, Try to search here for threads about the Swiss Pass vs the half-fare pass vs the Berner Oberland pass. Several folks have done their best to explain the benefits of each. In fact, they suggest that you research via the sbb.ch website to compile a list of the point-to-point fares for the routes you'll be traveling to see if the total is more than the cost of a pass.

I always use the first class Swiss Pass because I travel during peak tourist seasons and because I daytrip the life out of them -- using trains, buses, lakeboats, and in-town transportation. I absolutely love the reckless freedom to hop on a boat or a train w/o a trip to the ticket window.

One thing I've noticed here is that we all choose to splurge in different ways. I stay in two-star hotels and often skip lunch to save money, but I consider my Swiss Pass (saver pass when I travel with a friend) to be my reward for being such a patient teacher all year long. J.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:21 AM
  #5  
yk
 
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I used a 2nd class 8-day pass in last May. I felt the 2nd class was clean and comfortable enough. It was end of May and the trains weren't crowded at all. I did ride in the panaromic car for the Bernina Express trip (a small reservation fee). One major advantage (to me at least) to ride in the 2nd class is that you can open the windows, which is something you cannot do in panaromic cars. The pictures taken with my camera sticking out of the window are better than the ones taken in panaromic cars (they all had reflection of the window even though I didn't use flash).
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 08:15 AM
  #6  
 
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I just got back from using a 3-day Swiss Flexipass in 2nd class, and the only time I really wished for first was from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, as that train was rather crowded. But I don't know if they even *had* a first-class on that route.

The rest of the time, I was perfectly happy in second class, and indeed preferred being able to open the windows. The one time I got a car that didn't allow me to open the windows, I was very frustrated. But because of the open windows, I was able to get some pretty good shots out the window of the train.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 08:32 AM
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trrapp--I have to ask--in the cars with open windows did you stick your head out the window a la Rick Steves/family dog? ;-)
Good point about the glass reflections in photos. I usually ride first class in Switzerland and enjoy the roomier seats and less crowded cars, plus the luggage storage spaces between the back to back seats.
hkg, it's not necessary, but it's not a bad idea to get seat reservations when you get to Switzerland. They don't cost much. On one of my few trips in second class, we boarded the train early in Basel to get good seats for the ride down to Lugano (the train started in Basel, so you could board about 20 minutes early). The train filled up pretty quickly. We were congratulating ourselves on boarding early for choice seats when at the last minute a couple showed up with reservations for our seats There hadn't been any notices above our seats that they were reserved so we thought we were safe. We ended up with two aisle seats in different rows. Just another reason why I'm a fervent believer in seat reservations.
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Old Jun 30th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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if you get a 2d class pass, you can always just sit in first class when you want to, and pay for an upgrade - for instance on the Glacier Express. if you don't do it each time, it's cheaper in the long run.

don't forget to make seat reservations on specialty trains, such as the Glacier Express!
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Old Jul 1st, 2004, 02:44 PM
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BTilke

Yes, actually. LOL!! Not very far out as those poles and the tunnels are pretty close to the train, but in the open areas between Lugano and Lucern then Interlaken, yep, we sure did. And we both remarked about how we felt like dogs with our faces in the wind and kids with the huge grins on our faces.

I do have to admit, I LOVED that Alpine air directly on my face.
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