Germany is one of the countries with the most extensive train networks in the whole world. It’s not surprising that there are several luxurious high-speed trains, too. The ICE (First Class) is the best product the operator (Deutsche Bahn) has to offer. Leather chairs, complimentary entertainment, special service and more space are the main advantages of first class.
ICE trains are the fastest trains that operate in Germany. The high speed trains usually connect large cities with each other and only stop at important interchange or city stations. The ICE First Class is also a very luxurious product that’s an important competitor for airlines like Lufthansa and Air Berlin.
As taking a train can be faster on shorter distances, the ICE First Class is a good alternative for business and leisure travelers seeking a little more comfort alike.
As there are different generations of the ICE trains, there are several different seating arrangements. At the same time, all seats are the same.
The leather seats in first class are quite spacious and wide and offer a decent seat pitch. There’s also a fabric cushion which serves as a head rest. All ICE First Class seats got two leather arm rests.
Only in compartment cars, there’s a shared arm rest between the seats. Compartment cars are a little different in another regard as well as there are three seats next to each other facing another three seats (comparable to the ICE Second Class) with a table in-between.
In the open seating cars of ICE First Class cars there are either two seats on the one side and one seat on the other side of the row or little compartments with two seats facing another two with a table in-between and single seats (some facing another single seat) on the other side.
Whichever style you’ll encounter, you can be sure that the seats which all have a very solid recline are very comfortable and very good even on longer rides.
Food is never included when taking a train in Germany. That’s true for both, second and first class in ICE trains. Nevertheless, passengers may enjoy the changing offerings of the BordRestaurant or the BordBistro (with a smaller menu).
Depending on the season, there are several warm dishes as well as salads and several snacks available. As there’s no kitchen in ICE trains, the food is reheated. Nevertheless, the quality is decent and the taste was fine every time I had a bite in an ICE train so far.
As the prices are quite high, the value for the money is just average. Nevertheless, it may be worth having a bite in ICE First Class as you benefit from service on your seat. On some rides, first class passengers are also offered a small complimentary snack like nuts or chocolates.
Entertainment options in the ICE First Class are getting slightly better since the bus market got liberalized lately.
Since a few months, all ICE First Class passengers can benefit from free Wi-Fi throughout the fleet. Moreover, complimentary newspapers are available in all ICE trains. Sadly, there are only German newspapers including Bild, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung available.
Other entertainment options include the board magazine (named “mobil”) and special magazines focusing on train projects in Germany.
I’m a huge fan of train travel, so I love the ICE trains which operate on several different routes throughout Germany. In conclusion, I’d recommend giving that way of travel a shot as it is way more comfortable than taking a plane on shorter routes.
The seat pitch and the quality of seating are way better, the menu for food is rich compared to planes and the entertainment options are on the same level. Be sure to always check the price different of first class and second class as the difference is quite small. If the price difference is below 20 Euro, I’d definitely choose the ICE First Class!