The differences between first and second class trains. Is it worth upgrading?

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By David

According to statistics, from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, 990 million rail passenger journeys were made across Great Britain. Travelling by train is a very popular method of transport for those in the UK, but for those travelling by train for the first time, they may be confused by the difference between first and second class tickets. This article will explore the main differences between these two tickets, and whether or not it’s worth upgrading to first class for your next journey.

First class tickets

Due to the extra cost, first class carriages are often less crowded, which can be great if you’re travelling on popular routes at peak times. The seats and aisles in first class are often wider which gives you more elbow and leg room, and more comfortable which is essential for longer journeys like getting the train to the airport. There are also likely more amenities like air-conditioning and a higher number of power outlets in these carriages.

Most passengers in first class are travelling for work, which means it’s often quieter. The majority of people in these carriages will be working on the train, so if you do want a less noisy seat with fewer families, it’s a great option.

Perhaps the biggest difference between first and second class is the meal service at your seat. While not all first class services offer this, most premier operators will offer you a hot or cold meal served directly to your seat – and included in the price of your ticket. There isn’t however, a luggage allowance difference between first and second class, which means you’ll still have to find somewhere to put your suitcase no matter which carriage you’re in.

Second class tickets

Although the cheaper option, second class carriages are still comfortable and have plenty of leg room and space for your luggage. While most business people and workers will opt for the first class upgrade, second class is generally a no-brainer for the majority of travellers on a budget. And if you’re looking to chat to those around you, you won’t have much trouble striking up conversation if you know where to look…

For those travelling with kids, second-class is usually the better option because there aren’t any noise restrictions. And while you don’t get a meal served directly to your seat, bringing some snacks on the go will make up for this easily.

Is it worth upgrading to first class?

Upgrading to first class can definitely be worth the cost, especially since most train carriers offer a very small price difference between the two tickets. For longer journeys and business trips, paying that little bit extra can sometimes have a big reward…

The next time you’re travelling by train, keep these tips in mind for deciding whether or not to upgrade.