About us | Contact | n%2Fa | n%2Fa
Home Get in touch Forum Promo 1st class, are seats guaranteed?
MySwissAlps features ads, commercial and non-commercial links.

Promo 1st class, are seats guaranteed?

Print this page
Posts: 3 
This thread is closed. You are welcome to log in and submit a new thread.
6 posts
new member
Mar 13, 2016 - 1:11 AM

Hi Arno, thanks for your feedback on previous forums. I've been gleaning information on 1st vs 2nd class on various trains, boats etc. the current promo, I'm considering. Can you please tell me, on regular trains services eg, Zurich-Lucern, if one is travelling 1st class, are seats guaranteed? (We try not to travel at peak times however that is sometimes unavoidable.) Or can you find yourself being bumped down to the 2nd due to a full carriage? Had a horrible experience in Belgium of a very full train and not a seat to be had.

1. On the lake cruises, what is the difference between 1st & 2nd class?

2. The Glacier Express vs regular train service. Is there 1st class seating on the regular train, can you take food/drinks on board, is there a food service? And do you need to book a seat. We will be travelling with luggage. We are considering Chur to Brig on the Glacier Express, then regular service the next day to Zermatt as an option as well.

3. The last day of our pass will be Zermatt to Geneva, then on to Lyon by TGV. The TGV leg is to be booked and paid with no Swiss Travel Pass discount?

Thanks for your help. Pam

7180 posts
expert &
Mar 13, 2016 - 10:28 AM

Hi PamAndMurray,

1. Seats are not guaranteed unless you have book seats, which is not required nor the usual thing to do in Switzerland (except for the Glacier and Bernina Express). It's explained in the promo thread you were referring to as well. Only in rare occasions I have not found a seat in Swiss trains. Rush hour around the larger towns is when this happens most. Last time it happened to me was in a train from Zurich to Zurich airport, a 10 minute ride. Also see www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/reservations please.

2. All regular Swiss trains have 1st class seats. Only a few cogwheel trains into the mountains are 2nd class only. The options for luggage are explained here: www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/practical/luggage. The regular trains from Brig to Zermatt are good enough. It would not make sense to book the Glacier Express for that one hour ride, and to wait for the few Glacier Express trains that are available each day (none in the morning probably).

3. Yes, that's correct. No discounts there because it's in France (Geneva is on the border). Booking early may save you money: www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/france.

Kind regards,


7567 posts
Mar 13, 2016 - 2:09 PM in reply to PamAndMurray

Hi PamandMurray-

Seconding what Annika has said, it is extremely unusual to find a Swiss train with no seats available.

I travel both first and second class, using a half-fare card for discounts. I tend to use first class for the longer trips. Second class is perfectly comfortable and acceptable. First class is less full, and the seats may recline just a little bit , for example

I've been visiting Switzerland since 1980, and have made over 80 trips there.

In first class, which I tend to use for longer trips, I cannot recall a time when I could not get a seat.

In second class,maybe once frorm Bern to Burgdorf during the evening rush hour did I choose to stand instead of walking through the train to find a seat. That train would likely have been full or near full most of the way to Zürich; commuters were going home after work. Although I used second class for that very short ride, I passed through first class cars and there were empty seats.

The cars nearest the restaurant cars on the mainline trains tend to be fuller. Also, if you are going to a station which the regular riders know to be a terminal station (tracks dead end at the railhead) , such as Zürich for main line trains, the cars that are nearest the locomotive, which are often first class depending on the train consist ( car/class makeup) will fill up first. Knowledgeable Swiss travelers my try to sit in those cars.

At stations which are not terminals, such as Bern, the cars at each end are further from the central pedestrian walkway.

These are not absolute rules. The newer IC trains are made of train sets with a particular configuration, and two of them may be coupled together to make up a longer train. Thus, first and second class are distributed throughout the train in those cases.

On boats, the first class sections have better seating areas, but the second class are fine. First class might have the highest outdoor deck, for example.



All you need to know about traveling by train, bus or car in Switzerland.



Hand picked Swiss hotels and other accommodations are right here.


Who's MySwissAlps.com?
We're passionate tourists and locals. We share tips about planning a trip to Switzerland since 2002.
More about usNewsletter signup

© MySwissAlps.com 2002-2023