In India, “haan sab first class hai!” is the most common answer to the question “aur baaki sab thik?” As soon as we hear first class, our mind immediately thinks of a comfortable, luxurious, and altogether relaxing place. And when it comes to travelling by train, nothing can beat the comfort and luxury of travelling in a first-class compartment. It is one of the best travel classes in Indian Railways and absolutely worth every penny!

At the time of booking train ticket in India, you are not only provided with multiple trains to choose from, but you also have the liberty to choose in what class you want to travel in depending upon your budget or how closer or far away your destination is.

What are the difference travel classes in Indian Railways?? What sort of amenities do they offer to the passengers? Well, that’s what we are here for!

Also Read: List of Frequently Used Indian Railway Abbreviations

Here are the Top Travel Classes in Indian Railways:

First AC (1AC)

AC First Class Coach
AC First Class Coach
Image Credit: Fanta_anywhere

This entirely air-conditioned class is the most spacious, comfortable and expensive of all the travel classes in Indian Railways. The coaches are equipped with 2-berth or 4-berth sleeper compartments and have a lockable door adding to the privacy and security of the passengers. 1AC compartments have a washbasin, and a common shower facility and they also provide a pillow, sheet, blanket, and towel for each berth. Pets are also allowed subject to certain conditions as laid by the Indian Railways.

Second AC (2AC)

Second AC Coach
Second AC Coach
Image Credit:

The fully air-conditioned class of Indian railways is also called the 2-tier AC class as there is no middle berth on each side of the compartment, just lower and upper berths. Unlike 1 AC, this coach has no door, only curtains to separate the compartments. You are provided with a pillow, sheet, blanket, and towel in 2AC as well. The ticket fare is almost half of the 1AC, so it’s a great choice for those who want a good deal of comfort and privacy during a long journey without spending much. You also have a reading light to read your favorite novel on your journey.

Third AC (3AC)

AC 3 Tier
AC 3 Tier
Image Credit:

Third AC or 3-tier AC can be seen as a fully air-conditioned sleeper class coach. It has 8 berths in a compartment, including the side berths. Unlike the 1AC and 2AC coaches, the berths in 3AC are not separated by curtains or doors. A pillow, sheet, and blanket are provided for each berth. 3AC is one of the most common and preferred travel classes in Indian Railways and is generally completely booked. Since there are 8-berths in the compartment, more people travel in it compared to the 1AC and 2AC.

Third AC Economy (3E)

New Economy AC 3 Tier Coach
New Economy AC 3 Tier Coach
Image Credit: Times of India

The 3E class is one of the newly introduced travel classes in Indian Railways that has more capacity than the 3AC class. It is fully air-conditioned and has 9 berths in the compartment where there are 6 berths on one side of the aisle and 3 berths on the other side. There are individual AC vents for each berth along with reading lights and mobile charging ports. It is cheaper than the 3AC class making it a new choice for budget travellers. You are also provided with a blanket, sheets, pillow, and face towel.

Sleeper Class (SL)

Indian train coaches provide ample of space for a comfortable journey and to move around freely
Sleeper Coaches in Indian trains provide ample of space for a comfortable journey and to move around freely
Image Credit: Maximillian cabinet

Sleeper Class is the most popular of all travel classes in the Indian Railways. It is generally booked up to its capacity in almost every zone and division of the network. It is a non-air-conditioned class with 8-berths in a compartment. There are 6-berths on one side of the aisle and 2-berths on the other side. It is cheaper than the air-conditioned classes and you are not provided with bedding, but you can ask for it at an extra cost. You can mingle with the passengers and chat on every topic possible and even buy food on the go, which surely is a different experience.

Second Sitting (2S)

Second Sitting in the Jan Shatabdi Express
Second Sitting in the Jan Shatabdi Express
Image Credit: Balajisrinivasan

The second sitting class is one of the cheapest reserved non-AC travel classes in Indian Railways. As the name suggests, there is no sleeping arrangement in the 2S coach and it is good for short-distance travel during the day. It has a bench-like arrangement similar to buses in a 3×3 fashion. 2S can be reserved or unreserved, making it a bit chaotic and thus would be uncomfortable if you are undertaking a long journey. 2S class coaches are most common in intercity and Jan-Shatabdi trains as they operate on shorter distances.

Executive Chair Car (ECC)

Executive Chair Car of the Shatabdi Express
Executive Chair Car of the Shatabdi Express
Image Credit: Jan S.

Also known as the First AC Chair Car, the Executive Chair Car is a seating coach available in flagship trains like Tejas, Shatabdi Express, and Vande Bharat Express. It is a fully air-conditioned coach with very comfortable seats that can be reclined and adjusted as per your need. It has enough legroom along with other top-class passenger amenities which makes them good for traveling shorter distances in intercity trains.

Also Read: Top Luxury Trains in India

AC Chair Car

AC Chair Car Coach of the new Vande Bharat Express
AC Chair Car Coach of the new Vande Bharat Express
Image Credit: Saikat Paul

The AC Chair Car is a cheaper alternative to the Executive Chair Car and ideal for a short distance journey. It has 5 seats in a row in a fully air-conditioned coach. You get mobile charging for each seat in some trains and a tray to eat meals or just work on your laptop over it! AC Chair Car is a good and comfortable way to travel without spending a fortune and simultaneously enjoying the journey with your friends and family.


Interior of Indian Railways Vistadome Coach
Interior of Indian Railways Vistadome Coach
Image Credit: dkroy

Vistadome class is currently running on a selected few tourist routes across India. Vistadome is a luxury coach with a glass roof, large glass windows, and rotating chairs that lets you enjoy everything enroute while traveling. Indian Railways operate Vistadome trains on Araku valley, Konkan Railways, and Kalka-Shimla Railway routes to name a few. It is one of the most luxurious travel classes in Indian Railways.


Anubhuti Coach of the Shatabdi Express
Anubhuti Coach of the Shatabdi Express
Image Credit: PradeepGaurs

Anubhuti coaches are the state-of-the-art travel classes in Indian Railways especially utilized in Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains. Anubhuti coaches give you the best traveling experience with its ergonomically designed seats, LCD screens for entertainment and information, meal trays, and other amenities aboard the train. Anubhuti class offers you the best ‘ airplane-like experience’ which will make you want to travel again and again.

Unreserved /General

The new unreserved/general coaches
The new unreserved/general coaches
Image Credit: Denis.Vostrikov

Unreserved or General Class is the cheapest of all travel classes in Indian Railways and there are no reserved or designated seats in these coaches. There is no air-conditioning and is generally crowded and uncomfortable to travel over a long distance. Almost every train, except premium trains, has General class across the Indian Rail Network.

Knowing and understanding the difference between all the classes that are available can help you make an informed decision and choose the best class as per your duration of the trip, budget, and comfort level.

The different types of train coaches representing different classes not only look different from the outside but are also very much different on the inside. Some have windows sealed with glass, while others have iron railings on the windows, some air-conditioned, others not, some perfect for a long journey and others ideal for a short distance, there are so many options to choose from!

So, what’s your preferred class to travel by on Indian trains? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Did you know? You can earn up to INR 80,000 in commissions per month by booking train tickets and offering other travel-related services? Interested? Know all about how to become an IRCTC agent with Akbartravels.

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