Can’t Open a Window at 244km Per Hour

Traveling on high speed trains through Europe has its perks. Going 244km per hour does not allow for opening the windows when the train gets hot and muggy. Likely you would not open your car window if you wanted to cool off while driving 151 miles per hour. What does Deutsche Bahn (DB) do if the air condition is out for a couple of train cars? The train provider gives out free boxed water.

Lucky for the Giants they were only momentarily hit by this neglectful heatwave while traveling Berlin, Germany to Basel, Switzerland with DB in July of 2018. The oldest and youngest male Giants walked end to end on the train to help the latter get out ants, wiggles and whatever else from his pants.

A lesson learned just a few days ago by the Giants would be timely for the overheated to know. How could staff or peers tell them without causing a exodus stampede? The lesson is that trains in Europe are like flying on Southwest and American Airlines at the same time with different rules for different passengers. Simple to know, and you will be glad you do when you find yourself in a tin can hot enough to make mayo go bad:

  1. All tickets are bought by class allowing the possessor to sit in any available seat in that class. 1st*, 2nd**, and 3rd. Think Southwest with a catch.
  2. Some tickets include a reserved seat, usually for a premium or included as part of longer passage. Think American with a catch.
  3. Those with reserved seats can sit in their assigned seat or they can refer to rule 1 above and take another available seat in their class. At times this means the passenger will take a seat that was vacated by a reserved seat traveler (always with the risk of that person returning to claim the seat).
  4. The dining car adds options for travelers since those seats are first come first serve to travelers from any class of cars.

Knowing this, why stay in a car without AC? Get up and see that the rest of the train is cooled if you find yourself being given free water.

Pro tip: board the train as soon as it arrives and find vacant non-reserved seats so you and your group can have a table. Of course these seats can be reserved but often it doesn’t work out.

An even bigger find is to get a compartment for your group that is free. This can be thrown off by on reservation or by one fleet foot traveler if you are looking for space for six.

Reservation usually are marked on boards like this:

Since this one was vacant a family of Giants moved in at Berlin to emerge over 7 hours later.

*1st class train travel is in no way parallel to 1st class plane travel. Staff seems the same in 1st and 2nd, some 1st class train cars bring ordered and paid for food to the seats, seats are leather rather than fabric but often the same width and comfort, and the seats are less filled with travelers in 1st.

**2nd class train travel will mean that sitting together as a group larger than two during busy travel times and seasons will be difficult without great luck or reservations.

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