What do you value about First Class on long distance services?

What do you value the most?


  • Total voters
    174

py_megapixel

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I thought this merited a thread of its own as, in the Standard Premium thread, there seems to be quite a spectrum of opinions about why First Class is worth it (some examples quoted below).

I think the question is pretty self-explanatory, and I'm more than happy to add other options to the poll if required.

Me too. I have long believed First Class should just be about the extra space, not gimmickry to justify a higher price. This is potentially made for me and if the price is right I am likely to use it a lot.
The problem is though, that this is subjective. While many will agree with you, others like myself enjoy the convenience of not needing to factor in a trip to a supermarket before I travel. I also like a hot meal on board, such as the breakfast, rather than a cold Danish from the pumpkin cafe and a rather lukewarm latte.
Yes I am. My expectation is a quiet and relaxed atmosphere not full of hen parties on cheap tickets. If the price for that is no cheap tickets, then so be it.
 
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LSWR Cavalier

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I should consider the price difference too of course. Someone here mentioned an occasion when first-class travel was cheaper than standard. But how is first-class travel when all seats are occupied? Not much better than standard maybe

Is there a way, when one finds oneself in overcrowded standard accommodation, to upgrade to first, and pay on the spot?
 

Bletchleyite

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I should consider the price difference too of course. Someone here mentioned an occasion when first-class travel was cheaper than standard. But how is first-class travel when all seats are occupied? Not much better than standard maybe

One of the ideas of 1st is that it should still be comfortable in such a case, which is why the single individual seats are important.

Is there a way, when one finds oneself in overcrowded standard accommodation, to upgrade to first, and pay on the spot

On a weekend on IC TOCs yes, and I think Avanti's standard premium will offer this.
 

Journeyman

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I should consider the price difference too of course. Someone here mentioned an occasion when first-class travel was cheaper than standard. But how is first-class travel when all seats are occupied? Not much better than standard maybe

Is there a way, when one finds oneself in overcrowded standard accommodation, to upgrade to first, and pay on the spot?
If First is sufficiently crowded for me to have to share a table with three strangers, I absolutely won't bother with it, even if it's cheaper than Standard.
 

unlevel42

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More space*=Calmer atmosphere=Less stress=Quieter.

From South Yorkshire to London I always travel 1st. This avoids the increasing stress as claustrophobia and stress increases.
On return, a booked seat in second will suffice as people become happier and quieter, the train emptier and the world inside and outside of the carriage becomes a nicer place to be, the further north we go.

*If/when covid goes away the term 'social distancing' can be recycled and used to define a pleasant zone around you.
Personal space would still be used to define the zone of tolerance.
 

yorksrob

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When it comes to the MML HST, I'd have to say everything.

We'll not experience such comfort on a train again.
 

RailWonderer

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First class needs more comfortable seating, the LNER and GWR IET's first offering is not sufficient unless ammenities are free, and/or the train is overcrowded otherwise and my journey is long. Also having hot food and drink in first is important.
Is there a way, when one finds oneself in overcrowded standard accommodation, to upgrade to first, and pay on the spot?
Either download Seatfrog or ask your train manager.

Me too. I have long believed First Class should just be about the extra space, not gimmickry to justify a higher price. This is potentially made for me and if the price is right I am likely to use it a lot.
In that case, Standard premium would provide that. First has, and should always be about more than just the space. First is the ammenities, and the convenience.
 

Ianno87

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I seldom travel First (other than the rear part of 700s...), but I'd also add the general less kerfuffle in finding a seat due to the lower load factor in First.
 

Purple Orange

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This is an interesting poll. I know it’s just 35 votes so far, but I’ve always thought that the food offerings are not worth the price. I understand if you’re on a trip to longer than 3 hours you might want a snack (who can’t go five hours between meals?), but I think first class would be better without a full meal but a cheaper price.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Last time I travelled First Class was by XC from Southampton Central to Manchester Piccadilly in 2019 using a Weekend Upgrade. Value for money IMHO at £20 for a four hour plus journey, comfortable enough seats, air conditioning working efficiently (it was a warm day outside) and frequent at seat snacks and hot / cold drinks service.

What's not to like compared with XC's Standard Class offering?
 

py_megapixel

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This is an interesting poll. I know it’s just 35 votes so far, but I’ve always thought that the food offerings are not worth the price. I understand if you’re on a trip to longer than 3 hours you might want a snack (who can’t go five hours between meals?), but I think first class would be better without a full meal but a cheaper price.
I think it would be better if they served an actual full meal - I've often found the portion sizes to be small or sometimes the selection is just sandwiches and light snacks which isn't ideal. Of course this depends on the TOC.
 

Purple Orange

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Last time I travelled First Class was by XC from Southampton Central to Manchester Piccadilly in 2019 using a Weekend Upgrade. Value for money IMHO at £20 for a four hour plus journey, comfortable enough seats, air conditioning working efficiently (it was a warm day outside) and frequent at seat snacks and hot / cold drinks service.

What's not to like compared with XC's Standard Class offering?

I guess at £20 for more space and frequent at-seat hot-cold drinks etc is worth it. What isn’t worth it, in my view, is paying an additional £50 or £100 for the above plus a really crap meal.
 

brad465

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I've twice done the Highland Chieftain and KGX-Aberdeen services throughout both ways, always in 1st class in both directions for the first 3 reasons in the poll. I don't always get the quiet atmosphere as it's often full (I've reserved seat of choice though), though mainly south of Edinburgh. I haven't used 1st class on GWR or Virgin/Avanti as I don't think they offer as good a service as VTEC/LNER and/or I've often not travelled far enough to justify the need, despite using the former two more than the latter. I have though with Greater Anglia to/from Norwich as it was only marginally more expensive (£4-5 more each way advance).
 

GRALISTAIR

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Same as on an aircraft really. Of course the food and free booze is nice but it is all about the seat and comfort on long journeys for me.
 

47271

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The space, but in my case particularly so I know that I can my laptop and a few papers and a notebook out without encroaching into other passengers' working area.

Equally I actively avoid single seats in First because I find the table too small and hemmed in.

A cup of coffee poured for me is handy but I'm take it or leave it about the increasingly poor food offering on most operators, sometimes you're left wondering why they bother at all after you've worked your way through a soggy sandwich and a tiny bag of crisps.
 

PeterC

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Its a long time since I have used first class, last time was recovering from heart surgery when I didn't feel up to driving and really needed the space to relax. The previous time was on an HST from Aberdeen to London and appreciated the space to watch DVDs on my laptop as well as practically being drip-fed coffee. The lunch service (not free then) wasn't in much demand although I would probably have used the sleeper or put up with the inconvenience of hacking out to airports without it.
 

RH Liner

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A few years ago my wife took ill while at our daughter’s in Dundee. So daughter contacted LNER (or VTEC then, I think it was) to rebook us in first class for the journey home to Newark Northgate. We’ve never gone standard since. First is so much better in every way and well worth the extra cost for a journey of that length, even though a change of train is required as Aberdeen trains don’t call at Newark.
 

YorksLad12

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This is an interesting poll. I know it’s just 35 votes so far, but I’ve always thought that the food offerings are not worth the price. I understand if you’re on a trip to longer than 3 hours you might want a snack (who can’t go five hours between meals?), but I think first class would be better without a full meal but a cheaper price.
It does depend on the time of day. When returning from London I've usually timed to take one of the three trains on which dinner is served so I get something decent, and a seat to myself. Otherwise it's just the seat; on a quieter service Standard is fine.

When I did Edinburgh over a weekend last January it was the basic sandwich-and-crisps offering. On the plus side they change catering staff at Newcastle, so you can get served the really nice cake twice if you're clever!
 
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I sometimes used to get a single between Sandwell and Birmingham New Street or Coventry in 1st Class as the single ticket cost was about £1.50/£2 more than the standard single.

The staff in 1st Class were normally quite speedy with the tea/coffee service meaning I could get at least one hot drink on the way - which offset the cost of the more expensive ticket nicely.
 

Emaharg

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I have done First Class all line rovers the last 4 years. The overcrowded Standard Class only trains before Covid19 put me off travelling on rural routes with certain operators.
As a previous poster has said the LNER north of Edinburgh trains can also be really full south of Edinburgh even in 2020.
Hoping to travel again in May. There are some routes which only have standard class I want to go on, will still get a First Class ticket.
 

Purple Orange

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I believe there is much more comfortable seats in 2+1 rather than 2+2, more available plug sockets, and, in normal times, a modest catering offer.

I guess it depends what modest means vs the catering on Avanti, LNER, GWR & XC. However given that the biggest intercity markets will be about an hour journey time and a drive for standardisation, catering will eventually be considered 'modest'.
 

py_megapixel

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I guess it depends what modest means vs the catering on Avanti, LNER, GWR & XC. However given that the biggest intercity markets will be about an hour journey time and a drive for standardisation, catering will eventually be considered 'modest'.
I must say I haven't tried TPE first class lately so I'm not 100% sure what they offer. I don't believe it's as extensive as LNER or Avanti.
 

Purple Orange

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I must say I haven't tried TPE first class lately so I'm not 100% sure what they offer. I don't believe it's as extensive as LNER or Avanti.
It's been a while since I last went in first with TPE, but I would bet that HS2 leans more towards the TPE offering than Avanti or LNER, with an on-board shop too. Even then on the core London, Brum, Manc services that are an hour or less, would it be worthwhile opening a shop even?
 

yorksrob

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It's been a while since I last went in first with TPE, but I would bet that HS2 leans more towards the TPE offering than Avanti or LNER, with an on-board shop too. Even then on the core London, Brum, Manc services that are an hour or less, would it be worthwhile opening a shop even?

An hours journey is long enough to want a hot drink and a kitkat.
 

Ianno87

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It's been a while since I last went in first with TPE, but I would bet that HS2 leans more towards the TPE offering than Avanti or LNER, with an on-board shop too. Even then on the core London, Brum, Manc services that are an hour or less, would it be worthwhile opening a shop even?

An hours journey is long enough to want a hot drink and a kitkat.

Something like vending machines would fit the bill and be reasonably undemanding in terms of space requirements.
 

Ianno87

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Or even the good old fashioned buffet trolley !

With a 400m train it'll have the "Stansted Express" problem. By the time it's got to some passengers leaving Euston, Washwood Heath will be coming past the window!
 

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