There are three main seat classes on China’s high-speed trains: business class, first class, and second class. Some D trains also provide two types of sleepers: a soft sleeper and a new soft sleeper.

For a long or overnight journey, we highly recommend you choose sleepers. For a short journey, you can choose your preferred type of seat based on your needs.

A business-class seat is the best choice if your budget is sufficient and you want to have a good rest on the train. But if you are looking for the most cost-effective one, a second-class seat is the best choice.

Here, we have detailed the three main classes of seats on China’s high-speed trains. As you discover the differences between them, you can easily choose the one you prefer when traveling by train.

1. Business-ClassSeat: the Most Deluxe Seat Class

The business-class seat is the most luxurious seat type on China’s high-speed trains., specifically offered on G and some D trains. Typically arranged in rows of either three or two seats, these seats provide a premium travel experience. In regular high-speed trains, the configuration consists of three seats in a row, with two seats situated on one side and one seat on the other. In Intelligent EMU(Electric Multiple Units) high-speed trains feature rows with two seats, showcasing a single seat on each side.

These seats are akin to sofas and have the flexibility to fully recline, enabling passengers to lie down comfortably. Positioned on the left armrest or in the front of each seat is a television screen loaded with a variety of movies. Additionally, each seat is equipped with a reading lamp, small pillows, and complimentary amenities such as disposable slippers, beverages, snacks, and boxed meals during meal times. In regular high-speed trains is outfitted with a socket underneath the armrest for passenger convenience. In Intelligent EMU high-speed trains, passengers are provided with an array of socket options, including two USB sockets, a multi-functional socket with a 2 USB charging port, a two-pin socket, a three-pin socket and a wirless charging pad.

This premium class only offers 10-28 seats with a luxurious and tranquil atmosphere with superior service, fewer passengers, and a refined environment, making it the most expensive choice but undoubtedly worth the cost.

Business-Class Seat

Business-Class Socket

(picture from China Railway)

2. First-Class Seat: a Reasonable Price with a Comfortable Journey Experience

A first-class seat offers a more affordable option compared to a business-class seat, while still providing a comfortable journey in a serene environment with ample space. Each row consists of four seats — two on either side of the aisle. These seats are wider than second-class seats, with a width of about 48 cm and a backrest height of around 80 cm. They are plush and can be adjusted to a wider angle than those in second class.

In regular high-speed trains, the first-class seat outlets are located under or in front of the seat, and there is a table inside the armrest. In Intelligent EMU high-speed trains,a multi-functional socket with two USB charging port, a two-pin socket, and a three-pin socket under the armrest. The amenities also include an adjustable headrest and an electronic leg rest and the tray table has been moved from the armrest to the back of the front seat. A public television is also available.

Compared with second-class seats, the seats are bigger, more comfortable and the seats is less than 2nd class so the ticket fare is higher.

First-class seat

First-Class Socket

(picture from China Railway)

3. Second-Class Seat: Cost-Effective and More Comfortable Than Economy Class on an Airplane

Second-class seats are arranged with five seats a row — three seats on one side and two seats on the other. Second class is similar to economy class on an airplane but the space between the seats in the front and rear is wider and more comfortable. The seat can be adjusted to a comfortable angle, but it is not very convenient for you to get in and out if you are in a 3 seats side window seat.

In most high-speed trains, there are no doors between the second-class carriages, so there can be some noise, but in some types of high-speed trains, the second-class carriages do have. Second-class do not have a footrest but a tray table is in the back of each seat and a public television is available. The scoket of regular high-speed train is located under the seat or under the front seat. In Fuxing Intelligent EMU, the multi-functional socket is equipped with a USB charging port, a two-pin socket, and a three-pin socket under the armrest, and an additional USB charging port located behind the front.

The ticket price for a second-class seat is the lowest among all the high-speed train classes so it is the most cost-efficient and popular one.

Second-class seat

Second-Class Socket

(picture from China Railway)

4. Standing Ticket: The Most Misunderstood Ticket by Name

Most passenger will be misunderstood because the "standing". But actually, "Standing ticket" is not exactly a standing ticket. According to the China Railway, in most cases, the standing ticket for trains actually refers to tickets without reserved seats, which means passengers can sit if there are available seats. Passengers with standing tickets can temporarily sit in empty seats if they find many vacant spots on the train. They can stay there until other passengers board and need to sit.

As for how long passenger can occupy an empty seat, passenger can learn to look at the indicator lights above the window seats (some trains may not have the indicator lights):

  • ●Red indicator light: Indicates that the seat is occupied at the current station.
  • ●Yellow indicator light: Indicates that the seat will be occupied at the next station.
  • ●Green indicator light: Indicates that the seat is not occupied at the current and next station.

So passengers who booked a standing ticket can actually take a seat by chceking the indicator light. Just need to pay attention to when the light will become red.

Indicate lights


Now, having read these information, you probably have your choice. Hope this article could help you book the tickets according to your preference. We wish you all the best for your train trip.

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