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First Class vs Second Class on China High-speed Rail

Written by FabioUpdated Jan. 23, 2024

With the ongoing development of our society, transportation has become increasingly convenient. Long journeys, which were once inconvenient, are now easily accessible through modes like high-speed trains and planes, with planes offering remarkable speed. However, the high cost associated with air travel is a significant drawback.

As a result, when people embark on travels, the majority opt for the cost-effective option of high-speed rail. Much like planes, high-speed trains offer various classes, including business, first-class, and second-class seats, each with different fare structures. Typically, second-class seats come with a ticket fare 20-40% lower than that of first-class seats.

The differences between first-class and second-class seats on a high-speed train lie in factors such as seat size, amenities, and overall comfort. First-class seats often provide more spacious and comfortable accommodations, along with additional services. The price discrepancy reflects these differences in comfort and services, allowing passengers to choose a class that aligns with their preferences and budget.

Second-class coach of a high-speed trainSecond-class coach of a high-speed train

1.First class seats are more spacious than second class seats

In a high-speed train configuration, first-class seats offer greater spaciousness and comfort compared to second-class seats. With a layout of 4 seats in a row (2+2), first-class cabins provide ample room for passengers. In contrast, second-class seats accommodate 5 seats in a row (3+2), resulting in a more compact arrangement with less space between rows.

The seat width in first-class seats is approximately 47 centimeters, offering a broader and more comfortable seating experience. On the other hand, second-class seats have a slightly narrower width of about 42 centimeters. Despite this difference, it's worth noting that even a second-class seat provides more width than an economy class seat on an airplane.

First-class coach of a high-speed trainFirst-class coach of a high-speed train

2.The seat back of first class seats is more comfortable

In both first-class and second-class seats on high-speed trains, passengers have the option to recline their seat backs for added comfort during the journey. While the seat back of second-class seats typically reclines to an angle of about 45 degrees, the first-class seats offer an even more comfortable recline of approximately 60 degrees.

3.First class carriages are quieter than second class carriages

Certainly, first-class carriages are designed to accommodate fewer passengers compared to second-class carriages. This intentional spacing results in a quieter environment in first class, offering passengers a more serene and peaceful travel experience. The reduced crowd contributes to a tranquil atmosphere, allowing passengers to enjoy a quieter and more comfortable journey.

4.The toilets in first class carriages are larger than those in second class carriages

Generally speaking, first class carriages are more spacious. Thus, the toilets of first class carriages are also relatively larger than that of second class carriages. Both toilets are equipped with necessary facilities(also for disabled).

5. The first class seats are equipped with more humanized foldable tables

Both first class and second class are equipped with foldable tables and their seats all can be changed the directions. You can choose facing towards the moving direction of train, or face to face of the rows in front/behind you. The foldable tables of second class seats are on the seat back of the front seats. Taking second class seat, you cannot use the foldable table when you face to face of your partners. The foldable tables of first class seats are in the right arms, which is more humanized design and enable you to continue using the foldable table though you're facing your partners.

6.First class carriages offer more considerate service than the second class carriages

The service in first class carriages are better than that of second class carriages. It is inconvenient to use toilet or even hot water in second class carriages. Passengers sometimes have to wait for some time in rush hour. It is quite different in first class carriages and it isn't as crowded as second class carriages. In first class carriages, high-speed train attendants sometimes offer free snacks and bottled water. Attendants will remind passengers when next stations is approaching.

7.First class seats are equipped with small pillow and footrest

A small pillow and footrest are equipped on first class seat, which is more comfortable when you sit on it. Your feet and neck would fee more relaxing.

You may find that most passengers in first class carriages are business people. Family groups usually don't take first class seats. Now that you know the difference between first-class and second-class seats on high-speed trains, you may have an idea of the type of seats you want to choose.

You get what you pay for. Even if you take the same high-speed train for the same destinations, the more you pay for, the more you get. No matter it is first class seat or second class seat, as long as you can arrive at the destination safely. The choice depends on you.

footrestfootrest on first-class seat chair

For more information about seat classes on high-speed rail in China, please read this article: How to Choose Between Train Types and Seat Classes in China

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