Which train class?

Oct 19th, 2010, 09:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 241
Which train class?

I'm planning to travel by train Barcelona - Madrid, Madrid - Seville and Ronda - Granada + for day trips to Segovia, Toledo, Cordoba.

Noticed that there are 3 classes - Turista, Preferente and Club. What are their major differences and plusses? Is it worthwhile to spend a bit more for longer trips? How basic and comfortable is the Turista class?

During a trip in Italy this year, we felt that travelling first class for longer journeys (Rome - Venice) to be a worthwhile investment because of the larger seats, less crowded and hence more storage space.

Also read from the forum that there are discounts available if we purchase tickets online and in advance. Our trip is in May 2011, but the Renfe website doesn't seem to allow us to book so far in advance (no train schedule came up).
If Renfe is anything like Trenitalia, there are limited number of discounted tickets. Want to make sure we can get the savings, esp for the Barcelona - Madrid trip as it is quite expensive. When can we start buying tickets?

Appreciate advice and help. Thanks
kakijalan is offline  
Oct 19th, 2010, 11:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 543
I have no experience of any journey but by Turista. There are descriptions and 'photos. of how you are accommodated on the RENFE site as far as I was aware, but you may have to dig for it now that there is a large amount of info.

You will not find schedules beyond possibly Dec. 12th when prices may change and possibly schedules, but if you input imminent dates you will find what is very likely.

If you do not already have, read this brief account on discounts -
http://www.seat61.com/Europe-train-t...ways%20website
and this expansive work which covers almost every part of proceeding and problems - http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-...s.Online..html

Best wishes.
WomBatt is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 06:27 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 241
Thanks! The info on the tripadvisor link is very comprehensive
kakijalan is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 06:32 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 543
Thanks for the thanks, as it is rare.
WomBatt is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 07:33 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 249
here is my experience. hubby insisted on club for at least one trip and we did the club level on the AVE from Barcelona to Madrid and it was rather comfy. they treat you very well, or at least they treated us very well. some routes do not offer club level and such was the case for our trip from Granada to Madrid. That was the only trip we had an issue with storing our bags. and it was very nice in the club level to be able to store our luggage in the racks just outside the car on our trip from Barcelona to Madrid. It was too bad club level wasn't offered from Granada to Madrid as that train was very full and the station was overflowing with passengers that morning (a Saturday). so if we could have travelled club on that route, it would have helped tremendously. However, there was enough room to store our bags overhead. It was just a minor pain for us.

and we purchased all train tickets ahead of time and saved lots of money so I highly recommend it! the trip advisor link says you can purchase tickets up to 62 days in advance of your but some more popular routes (like Barcelona to Madrid) are available even sooner. When I read that I went right out to check that route and we missed getting the 60% discount simply because I had it on my calendar to look at 62 days ahead whereas it was available sooner. so...keep that in mind as well.

good luck and enjoy!!!
tobyo is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 07:57 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
"it was very nice in the club level to be able to store our luggage in the racks just outside the car on our trip from Barcelona to Madrid"

Actually on any of the long lines (Madrid-Sevilla, Madrid-Barcelona) you store your bags just outside your car in ALL class.

I've traveled the AVE from Madrid to Sevilla in all 3 classes. They are all comfortable and it's only a 2.5 hour ride. Unless I could score a great deal on a class other than turista I'd probably just stick with turista.
CathyM is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 12:36 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 249
yes, except that those racks were completely full by the time we got on the train. and so we had to store them overhead. I guess I didn't state that, sorry.
tobyo is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 12:42 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 709
This is the link to a picture I took in the Turista class on the AVE from Sevilla to Madrid earlier this year: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_oIdje-g2eI...drid%2B002.jpg.

I was seated in a single aisle across from this gentleman, but was trying to take a picture to show my boyfriend how roomy the seats were on this train. It also had a movie on the entire journey (Slumdog Millionaire) with headphone jacks at the seats. Super comfortably journey, and speedy!
Kyliebaby3 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 12:47 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
tobyo-
Luggage racks can get full in any class - it all depends on when you board the train and how many bags the travelers in front of you had to put in the racks. Buying a higher class fare doesn't ensure there's going to be room in the luggage racks.
CathyM is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 01:26 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 31
I've taken the AVE train once from Barcelona to Madrid last year. I only bought a first class ticket (can't remember what it was called on the renfe site) because with the web discount it was cheaper than available turista tickets. I remember it was quiet with lots of personal space and leg room. There was a movie and meal with real flatware (not plastic). I never buy first class tickets, so it was a nice change.
Cosmia is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 02:04 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 249
I was just describing my experience. so, the club car on the AVE the day we took it was not very full whereas the train from Granada to Madrid was. and we had the bad luck of being at the end of the long line to get on that train. Probably had something to do with the days/times we rode the train. I wasn't trying to imply that by buying a higher class ticket would ensure that you have a spot for your luggage on the racks outside the car. sorry for the confusion.
tobyo is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 05:09 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 241
Thanks everyone for the feedback!

I'll keep in mind to check the website frequently for the Barcelona - Madrid route. So far it is only available up to mid-December.

I have a follow up question though...
Read on the tripadvisor.com report that there is a security check (a la boarding a plane) at the train station before boarding. Is that still happening? Is it for all routes?
kakijalan is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 05:14 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 47,360
I think the security is only for the AVE trains.
jubilada is online now  
Oct 20th, 2010, 05:33 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,041
The security check for the long distance trains is nothing like an airport security check. Barely any line, if any, and you just throw your luggage on a large belt leading through the luggage screener then walk to the other side and pick up. Not a big deal.
CathyM is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 07:40 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
www.seat61.com is likely the best web source for answers to your queries - and two other sites I think are loaded with practical info on Spanish and European trains are www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 20th, 2010, 10:50 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
We take the train often when traveling in Spain. The Tourist class if fine for trips under 3 hours, just make sure you are one of the first in line for your coach to be able to store you luggage in the racks at the front of the car.

The major difference between Tourist and Preferente Class is the seating arrangement, 2+2 versus 2+1. Preferente allows for a little more room and one I prefer on the Madrid-Barcelona train. Personally, Club Class is a waste of money when you have nearly the same treatment in Preferente.

Security checks are only done at the major stations, Madrid, Barcelona, etc. Many of the smaller stations, Pamplona, Logroño, San Sebastian, do not require you to pass through a formal security line/x-ray screening, but there are armed security officers present at each boarding.
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2010, 08:59 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Does not Preferente Class passengers also get a modicum of complimentary beverages and snacks - I did get a few years back but maybe no more?
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 21st, 2010, 11:57 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Yes, Preferente does include a meal, depending on the route, and access to the private lounge in stations large enough to have one where you can go to wait for the train, but most don't arrive early enough to take advantage of the lounge, snacks and free WiFi.
Robert2533 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2010, 05:20 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,689
Club & preferente include an at-seat hot airline-style meal with wine, and access to the first class lounges at major stations such as madrid Atocha.

So if you can afford it, either of those are the ones to go for.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2010, 05:54 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 249
we had preferente seats from Granada to Madrid and they served us a yummy breakfast. on the AVE from Barcelona to Madrid we rode the club car and it was appetizers with caviar in two different appetizers. afterwards they served us a plate of 4 different sweets and they were yummy! and yes, we had wine or beer or whatever we wanted to drink.
tobyo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:36 AM.