My friend Anne gave me two books on snobbery for my birthday. She made light of my concerns, telling me she felt this was “your kind of humor.” I’m not sure if I should be insulted or re-assured. 😉
Recently, I was able to exchange some of my copious bonus points with the Deutsche Bahn for a reward, more tellingly, a free upgrade to First Class. If you’ve ever ridden second class, also known as economy, you know that it’s really not bad. Usually, there is more than enough legroom, on some routes, you still get offered coffee at your seat, and most times, you don’t need a reservation, except on holidays and during event season (e.g. September during Oktoberfest).
But First Class… why, it’s a different continent! Generally speaking, you ride all the way in front or all the way in back of the train. You’re always located near the bistro. There is no such things as a Grossraumwagen, so the most bother you’ll have is with a maximum of five other travelers in the compartment. The seats are wide, the headrests cushioned, and a nice Bahnmitarbeiter will come and take orders for drinks and snacks (I highly recommend the cherry cheesecake, fluffy and slightly warm!). And although I did not have a reservation -at the beginning of the Easter holidays, which means second class was packed- I was alone in my compartment, feeling rather like royalty, indeed! Should I, perhaps, upgrade my new Bahncard to First Class at renewal time in November? I cannot fathom going back to the rabble! 😉
I can tell you, however, that riding first class on the S-Bahn is much less glamorous. I shared the small space with two DB-employees from Berlin, wearing the railway equivalent of construction worker vests and work pants, and the distinct stench of old vomit, not really an improvement over the smell of the unwashed bodies of two elderly people who grazed me on the journey down South.
Perhaps next time I’ll be lucky enough to catch a borrowed car from the Swiss railway again. There, even Second Class has the look and feel of First.
Apparently, Anne was dead on about my humor…