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'Premium first-class' seats offered on bullet trains

By Luo Wangshu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-17 09:27

China's high-speed rail network is offering a new luxury option for passengers on the bustling Beijing-Shanghai route, with "premium first-class" seats at a price point between business class and standard first class.

Twenty-four of the shell-shaped electric seats, in six rows in a dedicated carriage, allow for independent adjustments of the backrest and leg angles. Passengers can also enjoy amenities such as foldable tables, power outlets, adjustable reading lights and increased spacing between rows, enhancing comfort and convenience during their journey.

A unique feature of the seats is their ability to rotate 180 degrees, allowing passengers in adjacent rows to face each other. The layout is particularly beneficial for business travelers looking to conduct meetings onboard or for friends traveling together who wish to engage in face-to-face conversations or enjoy a game of cards.

Unlike business class seats, the new seats do not recline fully flat. Passengers holding premium first-class seat tickets can avail themselves of standard first-class services and access exclusive boarding areas at stations.

Priced at approximately 2.2 times the cost of a second-class ticket, the premium first-class seat offers a premium experience at a competitive rate. Tickets range from 1,215 yuan ($168) to 1,422 yuan on services between Beijing and Shanghai. In comparison, business class tickets are priced at 2,318 yuan, while first-class tickets are around 1,035 yuan.

According to the 12306 ticket booking system, 12 services from Beijing to Shanghai and seven services from Shanghai to Beijing offer the premium first-class seat option every day.

China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, introduced the new seats on the latest upgrade of the Fuxing smart bullet train, which made its debut along the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway on Saturday.

In addition to the premium seats, the upgraded trains feature increased seating capacity in second-class, as well as expanded passenger and luggage spaces, enhancing the overall travel experiences for passengers.

The new train includes two formations: one with eight carriages and the other with 17 carriages. The 17-carriage train offers premium first-class seats.

The eight-carriage train can accommodate up to 619 passengers, including an additional 38 second-class seats, representing a capacity increase of about 7.5 percent. Meanwhile, the 17-carriage train has a capacity of 1,347 passengers, with an additional 61 second-class seats, marking a 5 percent increase in capacity.

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