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 updated on Dec. 14, 2022 -
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