Trip Report: Renfe AVE Preferente Valencia-Madrid
I needed to take the train to Madrid to pick up my passport, before a quick trip to China. By the time I booked the ticket, only fully flexible tickets were available for Turista (economy) class, but there were still Promo and Promo+ fares remaining for Preferente (first) class, making Preferente just a little cheaper than Turista!
Since I knew I wasn’t going to be changing plans in the day between purchasing the ticket and departing, I went ahead and bought the less flexible Promo+ fare. An advantage with Preferente is that they would serve breakfast, which was quite welcome for an 8am departure.
Here you can see the little catering cart of Preferente food, waiting for the incoming train. It’s like those big catering trucks that rise up next to airplanes, only tinier!
Upon entering coach 1, I noticed to my left was a “lounge” area with unreserved seats. I guess you could have a meeting here?
The regular part of the Preferente coach contained comfortable 1-2 seating.
By now, the service flow of Preferente has become quite familiar to me. First, the attendant rolls out a cart with a variety of (Spanish) newspapers, and if you choose one, they pull it out and fold it in half and hand to you. They also come around with the menu for the day, and then moist towelettes.
There’s never a choice of meals (for dietary restrictions, you can select a special meal in a pull-down menu when you book the ticket), but I love having the printed menu. You can find out what you’re actually going to be eating, and you can also see the different drink and condiment options. Plus there’s just a little bit of anticipation that builds when I read the menu in advance!
Today for breakfast, they served a potato and chorizo Spanish tortilla, with sautéed pumpkin, mushrooms, and wild asparagus. There was a side of fruit - apples and pineapple - a croissant, and a choice of white or wheat roll. Then they had a tray of condiments and jams, and I chose the grated tomato and oil, and salt. To drink, I had orange juice and coffee.
Service concluded with a chocolate from a basket, and a packaged towelette.
Service was quite efficient, and concluded before we arrived at Cuenca station 54 minutes later. I thought that this was because passengers on the Cuenca to Madrid leg wouldn’t get breakfast, but actually the attendant came out and offered the same breakfast to the two passengers who boarded our car in Cuenca. It was another 52 minutes before arriving in Madrid, so there was plenty of time for the service.