First Class Benefits

The benefits of traveling First Class

Choosing a first class train ticket, particularly on longer journeys, can be the difference between simply getting from A to B and choosing to make the journey as important as the destination.

The majority of train companies offer first class services which include free Wi-Fi, complimentary food and drinks, free newspapers, extra leg room and reclining seats as well as first class lounges at certain stations.

First class train tickets can also cost a lot less than you probably think, as long as you book up to 12 weeks in advance and you’re prepared to put in a little bit of internet leg work.  Be flexible with travel times and, where possible, dates and you can make considerable savings.

Use our Best Fare Finder widget to check out your options and see how much you could save on first class train tickets.

UK train operating companies with First Class services

Transport for Wales 
East Coast

East Midlands Trains
Great Western Railway 
First TransPennine Express

Gatwick Express 
Grand Central

Heathrow Express
West Midlands Trains 
South Western Railway
Southern Railway
Stansted Express
Avanti West Coast

Hints and tips for finding cheap train tickets.

  • Book in early – Advance tickets are the cheapest train tickets. The earlier you book the greater the saving, up to 80%.  If you see a deal, then grab it now!
  • Be flexible – Avoid the busy peak travel times 0630 – 0930 and 1530 – 1830
  • Get Single – 2 singles can be better value than 1 return journey
  • Split your journey up – Instead of booking one ticket for your journey, try splitting the journey into differant stages with a ticket for each stage.

1. Book early

Book up to 12 weeks in advance for great savings.

For some journeys, where the train companies estimate demand will be low, they release a limited number of tickets 12 weeks before the date of travel at a significant discount. So just like booking flights, it pays to get in the habit of booking your train travel well ahead.

The earlier you book the better your chance of getting a discounted ticket. Our Best Fare Finder allows you to search and see whether they’re available for your journey. If you can be flexible have a look at several dates; they don’t sell out in order.

Advance discounted tickets are only available as single (one-way) tickets, so if you need to book a return journey, book two singles. The tickets are specific to the date and train they are booked for and can only be bought online. Although they are non-refundable you can amend the date and time up to 18.00 on the day before departure (booking fee may apply).

Put your journey into the Best Fare Finder widget to see how much you could save and if you find tickets at silly cheap prices BUY THEM before someone else does.

Note: If you need to make your journey soon, don’t panic. You can sometimes get advance rates up to midnight on the night before travel. Worth checking.

2. Avoid the commuters

Try to avoid travelling between 0630 -0930 and 1530 – 1830, which is the peak of commuting. Instead, try to travel Off Peak as these tickets are much cheaper than flexible Anytime tickets.

Use our Best Fare Finder widget to see what difference this makes to the cost of your journey. You may find early booking Advance tickets (limited number released 12 weeks before date of travel as explained above) or Super Off-Peak tickets (available later in the day) are available and offer even better rates that standard Off Peak.

3. You might be better off single

Sometimes two singles are cheaper than a return.

Check the theory for your journey by using our Best Fare Finder widget.

4. Split your journey up

Instead of booking one ticket for your journey, try splitting the journey into differant stages with a ticket for each stage. Crazy though it may seem, you can often achieve great savings by doing this.

A few things to note before using our Best Fare Finder widget to see whether this wheeze applies for your route:

1. The train must stop at all the stations you are breaking your journey at (you don’t have to get off but it must be possible to do so).
2. If you split your ticketing at stations where you are changing trains, be aware that if your first train service is delayed and you have a time-specific ticket for your second and miss it, you may need to pay extra to catch a later train.
3. Split ticketing savings can be made on singles and returns
4. If you are making a long journey and the first part of your journey is in peak time, try making the journey split after the rush hour (i.e. minimise the expensive part of the journey).

To find the best deals, you’ll need to work out where your train stops and spend some time on our Best Fare Finder widget . Get to it!

Here’s how you might split tickets for a journey from xxx to Plymouth:
Put this journey into the Best Fare Finder. Make a note of the cheapest ticket option (taking into account all previous tips).

Click on the ‘i’ icon at the bottom of the results (see image above), and then click on Calling Points which will show you all the stations the train stops at, for example Derby. Now play around with the options for splitting your journey, e.g. xxx – Derby + Derby – Plymouth, to see whether you can get a better deal.

If you’re crossing London with a shorter journey at one end (i.e. within the Travelcard Zones) it is definitely worth considering ticket plus Travelcard versus one ticket for the whole journey.

5. Get a Railcard

Finally, see if you are eligible for a railcard– it’s definitely worth checking out the savings you would make by using one.

* Savings not available on all routes. Savings only available on Advance fares.

† Fares sourced from Prices based on cheapest available one way Standard Class Advance ticket, excluding booking fees. Prices are based on payment with a debit card and ticket collection from the station. Saving calculated against cheapest fare available on the day.