China High Speed Rail First Class vs. Second Class

First class seats and second class seats are the most frequently used seat types on China high speed rail. But which one to choose?

If you care about comfort more than money, or you are a business man who needs a good rest during the trip, or if you are a large person, we recommend the first-class seat. When the second class seat is sold out, the first class seat will be the available best choice.

If you are a budget traveler or a family or friend group, second class seats are recommended for their cheaper ticket prices; they are comfortable as well compared with economy class on an airplane.

China Train First Class vs Second Class

Second class seats cost less compared with first class ones.

Based on the travel distance, ticket price of China high speed train first class seat is usually 20% to 40% higher than that of second class seat.

First class carriage provides wider seats and moving space.

Four seats are arranged in a row in first-class carriages, while five seats are arranged in each row of the second-class carriages. This leads to slightly narrower seats and aisles in second class carriages. Also, leg room between two rows in first class carriages is wider, while the second class seat with shorter leg room may make tall passengers feel uncomfortable. See size details below:
First Class seat  Second Class Seat
Seat Width 47 cm (19 inches)  42 cm (17 inches)
Leg room 40-50 cm (16-20 inches)  40 cm (16 inches)
Aisle Width  60 cm (24 inches)  45 cm (18 inches)
First Class Carriage Second Class Carriage

 Kind reminder: Even the seat and moving space in second class carriage is narrower than in first class carriage, it is wider than the economy class of an airplane. If you can travel in an economy class of an airplane, the second class seat on China bullet train will never be a problem.

Footrest and back cushion are provided in first class carriages.

Passengers can put feet in the footrest when taking first class seats. A back cushion is also attached to the seat back for passengers to have a comfortable experience.

Foldable tables in the first class carriage are more passenger-friendly.

Both the first class seats and second class seats are rotatable, allowing passengers to sit towards the trains’ moving direction, or face to face if they want. However, the foldable table in the first class carriages is set independently inside the armrest by passenger’s right side, while the one in the second class carriage is attached to the setback in front. When passengers in a group sit face to face in a second class carriage, they will not be able to use the tables.
First Class Seats
Passengers sitting face to face can also
use the foldable tables in first class carriage.
Foldable Table of Second Class Seat
Foldable table is attached to the front seatback
in second class carriage.

First class carriages are usually quieter than second class carriages.

In one side, first class carriages hold fewer passengers than second class carriages; in another side, first class carriages are usually less occupied, hence quieter and less crowded. If unlucky, the second class carriages may have kids crying or playing around, or adults chatting loudly in careless of other passengers.

Toilet in second class carriage is smaller than that in the first class carriage.

Relatively speaking, toilet in first class carriage is more spacious and bright. Facilities for the disabled are also provided. Some are even equipped with foldable diaper change tables. In second class carriage, the toilet is relatively smaller, but the basic facilities are all equipped.

Free food may be provided for first class passengers.

This is not a universal case, but passengers of second class seats always need to pay for the food or drinks onboard.  
- Last modified on May. 29, 2019 -
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    4.830 Reviews
    TCG Guest
    Posted on Aug. 21, 2019
    We enjoyed our trip to China. We visited Beijing, Shanghai, Xian .Chengdu, Luoyang. We took high speed trains during the whole journey. The trains are clean and fast. We collected the paper tickets at train station. It is easy, although we do not speak Chinese.
    Posted on Aug. 12, 2019
    Booking is generally good, efficient to communicate by email. I feel that it is very easy to book tickets with TCG, compared to booking with travel agents in USA. So I will continue to use TCG.
    Posted on Aug. 07, 2019
    The booking service was excellent. I would like to make a little suggestion that seats could be requested on confirmation of booking as we were a party of 7 people and we were all seated separately and in the centre seats.
    Posted on Jul. 28, 2019
    I rate my booking experience through TCG booking center is very good. I experienced very personal and effective support. I already recommended TCG to other people.
    Posted on Jul. 16, 2019
    Thank you for the great experience. The G-train was a great experience - very efficient and the 1st class seating was luxurious. Thank you for your help.
    Posted on Jul. 09, 2019
    It was a pleisure to book my train ticket through your website. The whole booking process as well as keeping always up to date was exemplary. The mail express arrived earlier as expected at my destination. Your service is on a very height level. Easy, friendly, convenient and reliable.
    Posted on Jun. 30, 2019
    TCG booking Service is good! We can book in advance. The waiting room was crowded as usual on China train. No distinguish between 1st class and 2nd class on the check-in gate.
    Posted on Jun. 15, 2019
    The train was very convenient for my trip. The 2nd class seats were very comfortable, the train was on-time and very fast, so I arrived quickly at my destination. It was not too crowded and the toilets were clean. I did NOT like that children had no seats - the children were walking around the train aisles and bumping me; it was annoying.

    The booking experience was easy, but I felt like I had to read too many emails. I also think the delivery fee was too high, you may consider to lower this cost....More
    Mr. Berkus
    Posted on Jun. 08, 2019
    We wanted to experience the train in China. Best way to do it is by 1st and 2nd class. There are high speed ones that take only 4.30 hours, but for people who want to save on a hotel overnight train would be great also. We had one sleeper train trip and it was clean and interesting as long as you have food and some kind of entertainment for the duration of the trip.
    Posted on Jun. 01, 2019
    My booking experience through TCG booking center is Very Good.The Business Class was excellent, First Class was very good. Made the long journeys bearable. Every station had different systems. In Qingdao I needed to show my passport to gain entry to the waiting room, Xuzhou East and Wenling didn’t. Xuzhou East was very crowded. Boarding trains was easy and efficient. Facilities on the trains were excellent and were kept clean and tidy throughout the journey. The staff were very good despite my language difficulties.
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