Train: Deutsche Bahn – Inter-City Express (ICE)
Class: First (Open)
The Seat: The comfortable leather seats in the first class quiet compartment aboard a Deutsche Bahn ICE train sport a healthy recline and all the same features as a seat in the more open area of first. Pillowy, adjustable headrests and decent legroom in most seats make it easier to snooze in this peaceful, dim space.
Row 1 is the only one with limited space to stretch out as the cutout underneath the equipment (storage) box in front of you only allows an extra inch or two. The second and third rows on both sides are slightly elevated and offer up much better legroom.
Service: Service was imaginary on this late night trek with only the conductor stopping in to check tickets at the very end of the journey. A friendly sounding bunch of words were attempted but were lost on our English-only ears. Service pre-ride at Frankfurt Airport station was fantastic as bilingual agents were on hand to answer questions (I had many) and point passengers in the right direction.
Tech/Connectivity/Entertainment: Wi-fi is available for a fee aboard all ICE trains. Signing in is much simpler on laptops and tablets if you’re not already subscribed to one of the listed services. Trying to access a one-time login using a smartphone can be challenging particularly if you don’t read German. Once you’re in, the internet speeds are comparable to residential DSL service but cut out for a minute or two here and there.
Power outlets are available on many ICE trains including this one. Deutsche Bahn also offers audio and in-seat video in these cabins on certain routes according to their website.
Food/Drink: After your complimentary welcome drink, beverages and food are available for purchase. There’s also the “bistro car” which is accessible to first class passengers before economy class.
Summary: On the whole the first class quiet car aboard a high-speed Deutsche Bahn ICE train is a decent option for a peaceful journey between German cities. Seats behind the first row are the best as they allow for better leg extension but the front row might be preferable if you like to put your feet up thanks to the compartment in front of you.
Rating: 4 “hops” (2nd/3rd rows) / 3 “hops” (first row)
Strategy: You might save by booking this upgrade in advance at Bahn.com but tickets can be purchased same-day at ticket machines and counters at your departure station.