Review: Trenitalia Executive Class (Milan To Chambery)

Review: Trenitalia Executive Class (Milan To Chambery)

48

After a couple of fun nights at the Bulgari Hotel Milan, we were off to Courchevel, France. The easiest way to get there was to take the train from Milan, Italy, to Chambery, France, and then to take a car service from there.

In this case we took Trenitalia executive class, and oh my gosh this was by far my best train experience ever. This was every bit as enjoyable as a great international first class flight, minus the $200 champagne and caviar. 😉 But seriously, I’m going to make a point of seeking out this experience in the future, because it was just so fun.

Booking Trenitalia executive class tickets

The train ride from Milan to Chambery takes around 3.5 hours, and there are two daily frequencies. This is part of the Milan to Paris train route (which takes around seven hours), and Chambery is roughly the halfway point.

There are a variety of pricing options (prices in the screenshots below are for two people):

  • You can book the standard cabin for 45 Euro per person
  • You can book the business cabin for 69 Euro per person
  • You can book the executive cabin for 145 Euro per person
Trenitalia executive class pricing

Obviously executive class is a lot more expensive than business class, but the experience is also totally different. Rather than being in a cabin with dozens of other people, you’re instead in a cabin with a total of just 10 seats (and a conference room!), with a dedicated attendant, and unlimited food & drinks.

Trenitalia executive class seatmap

Milan central train station & lounge

Our train was departing from Milano Centrale (Milan’s main train station) at 6:25AM. We remembered how huge the station was on arrival from Venice, so arrived unnecessarily early, at around 5:45AM. Milan’s train station is an architectural masterpiece.

Milan central station
Milan central station
Milan central station

We headed up to the departures level, which first required going through a temperature check. Unfortunately the track for our train wasn’t yet listed.

Milan central station departures board

There wasn’t a whole lot going on at the station at the time. While there’s the Freccia Lounge that we’d in theory have access to, unfortunately it wasn’t yet open for the morning.

Trenitalia Freccia Lounge Milan

So instead we did some train spotting (I assume that’s a thing, like plane spotting?).

Milan central station train tracks

I don’t know the first thing about trains, but they’re still fun to look at!

Milan central station train tracks
Milan central station trains

In addition to Trenitalia, there’s also italo, which is Italy’s private rail operator, and has a connection to Ferrari. While it’s not what we were taking, the trains do look even sleeker, in my opinion.

Milan central station trains

Trenitalia executive class cabin & seats

At around 6:10AM the departure track was posted for our train, and we headed over to track four. Our passports were checked at the tracks, which I found interesting, since that didn’t happen on the last train. Is that because this is an international train (even if it’s within the European Union), or…?

Trenitalia train to Paris
Trenitalia train to Paris

We were seated in the very first car (at the end of the track), and as we walked there I popped my head into the different classes. The standard cabin looked reasonably comfortable, with a 2-2 seating arrangement.

Trenitalia standard class seating

Then the business class cabin looked even nicer, and was in a 1-2 configuration, similar to what we had on our ride from Venice to Milan.

Trenitalia business class seating

Then finally we arrived at the first car… are you ready for this?! Okay, maybe I’m just a little too excited…

Trenitalia executive class car

The executive class cabin has just 10 seats, in a 1-1 layout. WOW. In so many ways this reminded me of an old international first class cabin, and I just thought this was so awesome.

Trenitalia executive class seating
Trenitalia executive class seating

I assigned us seats 1A & 1D, as that’s what was available at the time that we booked. Not only are the seats as such quite large, but they feature an endless amount of legroom.

Trenitalia executive class seating
Trenitalia executive class seating

The seats have a swiveling feature whereby they can be turned in either direction. The exception is if you’re seated in the first row, where you can only be faced toward the other seats. Ideally if you’re traveling with someone you’ll want to select seats behind one another (like 1A & 2A) so you can face one another if you’d like.

Fortunately it worked out for us, as the people in 2A & 3A plus the people in 2D & 3D were traveling together, so they faced one another. That meant no one was facing us in the first row.

Trenitalia executive class seating
Trenitalia executive class cabin view

While the seat doesn’t go fully flat, it does recline significantly, and also has a legrest.

Trenitalia executive class seat recline

Seat functions can be controlled via a panel to the side of the seat.

Trenitalia executive class seat controls

The swiveling feature can be controlled by a button at the opposite side of the seat.

Trenitalia executive class swivel feature

Underneath the seat and to the side were AC and USB power outlets, plus an exposed storage area where you could place a laptop or other item.

Trenitalia executive class seat power outlet

The seat also had a tray table, much like what you’d find on an airplane.

Trenitalia executive class tray table

Luggage could be stored in the overhead racks, or otherwise could be placed in the conference room.

Trenitalia executive class overhead storage

Wait, a conference room?! Yep, the executive class car has a conference room with seating for five, available for guests. I find this to be such a hilarious feature, given that there will be at most 10 passengers. Just for fun I ended up sitting here for a while with my laptop, because why wouldn’t I?! It almost reminded me of “The Lobby” on the Etihad A380, back when that was a thing.

Trenitalia executive class conference room
Trenitalia executive class conference room

The executive class car also had a private bathroom, which is a nice feature when you consider how much use the other bathrooms on trains generally get, and how there can be a queue.

Trenitalia executive class bathroom
Trenitalia executive class bathroom

There was even a pretty swanky galley in the executive class car, which reminded me of an airplane galley. There was even an Illy espresso machine.

Trenitalia executive class galley
Trenitalia executive class galley

The executive class car initially had six passengers, but then two boarded during later stops, for a total of eight passengers.

Trenitalia executive class food, drinks, and service

The executive class car had a friendly attendant who introduced herself shortly after boarding. About 15 minutes after departure she brought out some basic snacks, including cookies and olive crackers, plus sanitizing towels and napkins.

Trenitalia executive class snacks

At that point the first beverage service was performed. I ordered an espresso and some water — the water came in a glass, while the espresso was served in a paper cup.

Trenitalia executive class drinks

We were then presented with the menu for the train journey. It was explained that we could order whatever we wanted (from the breakfast, lunch, or dinner menu) whenever we wanted. This is pretty amazing — it’s like a dine on demand concept on an international flight!

Trenitalia executive class menu

You can find the menu and drink list below.

Trenitalia executive class menu
Trenitalia executive class drinks

The attendant was great about keeping us hydrated, and offered several drink refills.

Trenitalia executive class drinks

To be honest, I wish we were hungrier, but we had room service breakfast at our hotel in the morning, and there’s only so much I can eat. Around 30 minutes before our arrival in Chambery I figured we had to take one for the team and order something. Even though it was only shortly after 9AM, I wanted to order a lunch option, given that I had been up for so many hours.

After placing our orders, we were first brought warm towels.

Trenitalia executive class warm towel

I decided to order the salmon and zucchini risotto. I was offered a bread basket to go along with it, plus also a Coke Zero.

Trenitalia executive class meal

This was even presented with proper cutlery.

Trenitalia executive class cutlery

Ford ordered the couscous with chicken and vegetables, along with a sparkling water.

Trenitalia executive class meal

Was it the most gourmet food ever? No. But it was quite tasty, and we enjoyed it. Let me once again emphasize that you can order whatever you want (including food, alcoholic drinks, etc.), and it’s all included with an executive class ticket.

Trenitalia executive class Wi-Fi

Trenitalia offers complimentary Wi-Fi, which is easy to connect to and quite fast. With limited exceptions, we had excellent connectivity throughout the journey.

Trenitalia executive class Wi-Fi
Trenitalia executive class Wi-Fi

A punctual arrival at Chambery train station

There were overhead monitors constantly providing an updated status of our progress. The train was punctual, and we arrived at Chambery right on schedule.

Approaching Chambery

It was snowing pretty hard when we arrived, which you wouldn’t usually expect for early April. That’s awesome for skiing!

Train arriving at Chambery station

I enjoyed this train ride more than I can explain

Admittedly when it comes to transportation, I’m more of an aviation geek than anything else. However, I also really enjoy a nice train ride, and this might be my favorite train journey I’ve ever taken.

Planes and trains have a lot in common, in the sense that there’s little I enjoy more in life than sitting in a comfortable seat on my laptop and watching the world go by. If someone is looking after me and offering me unlimited coffee and water, I’m an even happier camper.

This was just such a lovely journey, in terms of being able to watch the world go by, enjoying the sunrise, etc. And in many ways taking the train is so much better than flying — train stations are closer to city centers, you don’t have to deal with many of the hassles of airports, there are no security checks, seating is much more comfortable, etc.

Even though the train from Milan to Paris takes seven hours, I’d absolutely take a train over flying in a heartbeat. I work when traveling, and there’s no better “office” than something like this.

Bottom line

While the premium for Trenitalia executive class is significant, this is such a fun way to travel to & from Italy. Between the comfortable seats, the personalized service, and endless food & drink options, this is probably the least stressful and most enjoyable way I’ve gotten around Europe.

Having now taken Trenitalia’s executive class, I’m viewing getting to & from Italy from other places in Europe in a completely different way. I’d gladly take a long journey in this cabin over flying. If you have the chance to experience Trenitalia’s executive class, I can’t recommend it enough.

If you’ve taken Trenitalia executive class, what was your experience like?

Conversations (48)
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  1. Steve Dahl Guest

    Hi, thank you for your detailed report. I wonder if you might be able to help me with a question? I have booked executive class for Paris to Milan and return and booked seats 5A and 5D. Can these seats be rotated to face the direction of travel?

  2. JohnHam Member

    I took the Frecciarossa from Rome to Bologna in business. What a delight

  3. Pradipsinh Guest

    Good service I love your train travel

    1. bukzin New Member

      Remove if not allowed...

      For excellent and detailed info on train travel (worldwide) have a look at Seat61.com

  4. RichM New Member

    I love your enthusiasm for train travel, Ben!

    I would say that, if you travel on Trenitalia regularly, the normal Business Class is so good and comfortable, and usually uncrowded, that Executive Class does seem rather unnecessary. Especially when Business class is often only 10 to 20 Euro more than the basic fare.

  5. tuotuo Member

    Are you too excited to take some pictures of the scenery along the way?

  6. Trainspotting the movie Guest

    Previous train article you said you’d review getting taxi to hotel in Milan in this review. I see nothing here.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Trainspotting the movie -- Hmmm, sorry, maybe I wasn't clear? In the last installment I said "I’ll talk more about the station in the installment about the ride out of Milan," so maybe that's what you're referring to?

      Getting a taxi at Milan's train station was pretty straightforward. There was a taxi stand outside with no wait.

  7. TheBeerHunter Guest

    I love your giddiness. It’s infectious.

  8. Lawrence Guest

    Does the conference room not have windows?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Lawrence -- Correct. It has no windows on one side, and a frosted panel on the other side.

  9. Jane Blogs Guest

    Well now that France is virtually outlawing flights of less than 2 hours, you might be tempted to travel and review more European trains. Sometimes it is just so much easier to travel by train which even in economy seem to have excellent facilities. Of course if one travels without the benefit of the local language it can be a little stress inducing but part of the fun but also important to remember not to...

    Well now that France is virtually outlawing flights of less than 2 hours, you might be tempted to travel and review more European trains. Sometimes it is just so much easier to travel by train which even in economy seem to have excellent facilities. Of course if one travels without the benefit of the local language it can be a little stress inducing but part of the fun but also important to remember not to travel with any luggage other than what one can lift or keep an eye on at all times. And its never a good idea to get to the station too early as there is nowhere to sit these days (unless a restaurant of course) so get your ticket online and suss out the station in advance!

    1. Rmn Guest

      France isn't banning flights less than 2 hours (all flights within metropolitan France are less than 2 hours), its flights when there is a train equivalent of less than 2 hours, aka 15min to 30min flights on a few routes. Connecting flights are exempted.

  10. Manuheit Guest

    Welcome to our world :-)
    Thalys also had a conference room bookable for 1st class passengers. Next time fly in to AMS or BRU and take the Thalys snow train to the French Alps so you could start comparing more train services!
    But I must say that to have a proper meal I still far more enjoy the restaurants on board the German ICE. Real sitdown tables, table service, draft beer and tasty food! I think they even have a happy hour ;-)

  11. Fabio Guest

    Ben: "italo, which is Italy’s private rail operator, and has a connection to Ferrari". Not really. Italo's president and founder is Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. The same rich and most active guy (he was also president of Alitalia for few years) was Ferrari's president from 1991 to 2014. That's it, no other connections with Ferrari. Apart from the same dark red that the Ferraris currently racing in Formula 1 are painted with. Italo is a...

    Ben: "italo, which is Italy’s private rail operator, and has a connection to Ferrari". Not really. Italo's president and founder is Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. The same rich and most active guy (he was also president of Alitalia for few years) was Ferrari's president from 1991 to 2014. That's it, no other connections with Ferrari. Apart from the same dark red that the Ferraris currently racing in Formula 1 are painted with. Italo is a train by NTV, owned by a US based fund.

  12. echino Gold

    "So instead we did some train spotting (I assume that’s a thing, like plane spotting?)."

    Ben, seriously, you haven't watched Trainspotting?

    1. David Guest

      Many mainline train stations in the UK are packed with train spotters at the weekend! Certainly my local train station has plenty.

    2. Fed UP Guest

      Once again, Ben is in another world....

    3. Levi Member

      Railfans are at least as obsessed with trains, by and large, as avgeeks are with planes.

      (Signed, someone who has a borderline unhealthy interest in basically anything that helps move people and goods around)

  13. Larry Guest

    I rode in Executive Class on the Frecciarossa 1000 between Milan and Rome. I'll admit it looks impressive on their website, but I did not enjoy it at all. It was a huge disappointment. Those recliner seats don't recline very far, and the footrest only comes up about 4". There was very little padding in the seat, which was very uncomfortable. The standard business class seats on the TGV from Paris to Milan were far...

    I rode in Executive Class on the Frecciarossa 1000 between Milan and Rome. I'll admit it looks impressive on their website, but I did not enjoy it at all. It was a huge disappointment. Those recliner seats don't recline very far, and the footrest only comes up about 4". There was very little padding in the seat, which was very uncomfortable. The standard business class seats on the TGV from Paris to Milan were far more comfortable. They also kept the Executive Class carriage uncomfortably warm. The food and drinks were good, but not particularly memorable.

  14. Jordan Member

    I've used this train around a dozen times between Milano Centrale and Bologna or Florence (same train - which continues on to Roma and Naples).

    Up to 1 hr-ish - I will sit in business class. Which can get a bit noisy, not terrrible, but Italians are very expressive at times. Over this, I will go to the First class.

  15. Giorgio Guest

    ItaloTreno's compartments are the best of the best within Italy, take when possible!

  16. Frog Guest

    High speed train travel in Italy is fantastic. Trenitalia and Italo are amongst the best train operators in the world. Italy is a pretty big (long) country but train is still by far the best way to get around.

  17. Gianluca Guest

    Wow. As an Italian, I can say we are always complaining about train service... lol.

    On the issue of passport check, you should know here the police can stop anyone and ask for IDs. They don't need to have a reason, or rather the only reason is that a "check".

    In any case, the Central Station was a very bad place until a few years ago, and some corners still are. In order to...

    Wow. As an Italian, I can say we are always complaining about train service... lol.

    On the issue of passport check, you should know here the police can stop anyone and ask for IDs. They don't need to have a reason, or rather the only reason is that a "check".

    In any case, the Central Station was a very bad place until a few years ago, and some corners still are. In order to limit the flow of people, now we have a checkpoint before you get to the platforms. You can only enter if you have a ticket. Maybe it was early and it wasn't active yet, so they decided to check passports at the platform to avoid thieves getting on and off before departure. Yes, it has happened before.

    Buon viaggio!

    1. Bruno Guest

      I was using Milano Centrale as a base to do day trips by train to many cities in the region 2 weeks ago and security personnel never checked if people had tickets to get to the platforms in the 5 different occasions I had to take a train there (at different times each day).
      By the way, the only place there was a ticket check to enter the platforms in my 2-week Italy trip...

      I was using Milano Centrale as a base to do day trips by train to many cities in the region 2 weeks ago and security personnel never checked if people had tickets to get to the platforms in the 5 different occasions I had to take a train there (at different times each day).
      By the way, the only place there was a ticket check to enter the platforms in my 2-week Italy trip taking trains almost every day was in Rome Termini where the barcode reader turnstiles were operational (even though in Milano Centrale they also had these turnstiles, but they were never operational).
      The only check security personnel was doing in almost every station was the ineffective body temperature check.
      Inside the trains, conductors checked your ticket and your vaccination card.
      And, as Ben has praised, travel by train in Italy is really comfortable and extremely reliable (the AV (high speed) train/routes) Regional trains were sometimes awesome (mainly the new double decker trains) and sometimes mediocre but still very much punctual.
      By the way, plan to always buy your tickets online through the TrenItalia website. During my 15-day trip, TrenItalia’s system for ticket sales at the stations was offline during 8 different days (so, no way to buy tickets at manned counters or self-service ticket machines). I didn’t see any issues with the Italo counters and ticket machines.
      Remember that you can also buy tickets for the regional trains through the TrenItalia’s website and that you don’t need to take the exactly train you bought tickets for. Since there’s no real seat reservation on regional trains, the only rule you need to follow is that you need to arrive at the destination printed on your ticket in a maximum of 4 hours from the time of departure of the train you originally booked. So, you can take a later train or stop at any city through the train route and take later trains that still arrive within 4 hours of your “booked” (purchased) departure time.

  18. Alonzo Guest

    I love international trains. USA, take notes cause you're light years behind the rest of the planet and well never catch up.

    K bye.

  19. GBOAC Diamond

    Ben: You might point out that Freccia is Italian for 'arrow" and trenItialia brands their service by different arrow colors: FrecciaRossa (Red Arrow) for their high speed service. They also offer Frecciargento and Frecciabianca trains that are somewhat slower and more economical.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      GBOAC: You might want to point out that the FrecciaRossa 1000 are the newest of the train stock.

  20. GBOAC Diamond

    The conference room is not just extra space for your personal enjoyment. Typically such a room is intended for group meetings while traveling from one city to another and can be reserved in advance. At one point I recall Amtrak offering a conference room like this on one of their New York Washington trains

    1. Megan Guest

      Ben never said it was for his personal enjoyment and pretty sure he knows what a conference room is intended for. Doesn't mean he can't use it if a group hasn't reserved it.

  21. Clem Diamond

    Next time you go to Japan, try the Gran Class service if you are headed north of Tokyo, similar First Class concept. Also a significant premium over Green class and economy, but those seats were just the most comfortable I've ever been in! And of course top notch Japanese service and decent food. It really hurts when you compare all of that to Amtrak...

  22. Bruno Guest

    You should try Excellence Class on the Glacier Express.
    An 8 hour journey through the Swiss mountains in an exclusive railcar with 1-1 seating, 7-course fine dining and wine/champagne pairing.
    It’s a 420 CHF supplement on top of a first class ticket/Eurail pass/SBB saver day pass.
    Less than the cost of a typical business class flight thus, and a much more memorable experience.

  23. Bob Guest

    "Is that because this is an international train (even if it’s within the European Union)"

    I believe these are the stupid things since the covid times.

    Being inside the shengen area, this will not have existed before covid times.

    1. Klavs New Member

      That is not correct. On international train journeys passport control are not rare. As not all visas and residency permits are the same. Every time I take a train into Denmark they check my passport.

    2. Zachary B Guest

      I've traveled to Sweden from Denmark and I can tell you that passport checks are a common occurrence when crossing from Copenhagen to Malmo via train.

  24. Steve Guest

    Take the Italo train next time

  25. Jan Guest

    Ben, you should really try the Eurostar between Paris and London: 2h15min from city center to city center. First class (called Business Premier) is quite expensive (315EUR one way, no offers ever, no discount for advance purchase or Saturday night stay) but the new lounge in Paris Gare du Nord is great (with a barman that makes great cocktails!) and the food onboard is decent. Add to that the idea of travelling by train under...

    Ben, you should really try the Eurostar between Paris and London: 2h15min from city center to city center. First class (called Business Premier) is quite expensive (315EUR one way, no offers ever, no discount for advance purchase or Saturday night stay) but the new lounge in Paris Gare du Nord is great (with a barman that makes great cocktails!) and the food onboard is decent. Add to that the idea of travelling by train under the Channel. I absolutely adore flying, but the Eurostar is really the best way to travel between the 2 capitals.

    1. Curtis Guest

      I have taken the italo from Venice to Milan several times in Executive Class, but would not do it again. It is generally overpriced. The service is sketchy...one trip has a cabin attendant so lazy that he didn't come around until we were most of the way to Milano. The seats were not terrible, but stiff and don't brecline that much. I prefer the old Treinitalia first class seats that were more comfortable. The food...

      I have taken the italo from Venice to Milan several times in Executive Class, but would not do it again. It is generally overpriced. The service is sketchy...one trip has a cabin attendant so lazy that he didn't come around until we were most of the way to Milano. The seats were not terrible, but stiff and don't brecline that much. I prefer the old Treinitalia first class seats that were more comfortable. The food is a joke and most Italians would be sick just seeing how it's served. The expresso is better, but there are few places in Italy that can mess that up. Unfortunately, Italo, the Orient-Express, and Switzerland's Glacier Express are really, in my view, just overpriced tourist traps. The Italian Ferrovia used to be reasonable priced and reasonable quality across the classes. The private operators, like Italo and the others mentioned above, have destroyed the overall quality by catering to high paying elites. Yes, I can afford these luxuries, but I use them less and less because I see these services are being provided at the detriment of ordinary second class and business traveller with whom I regularly speak...and now more often travel.

  26. DLPTATL Gold

    Great that they mark GF options on their menu and even have GF Peroni! Intuitively I wouldn't have thought that Italy would be the easiest place to travel GF, but they're actually much more GF-friendly than many of their European neighbors.

    1. Klavs New Member

      With how high the gluten intake is in Italy mainly because of pasta. They have an above average rates of celiac's. So they are very aware of GF options.

  27. Noah Guest

    The most comparable hard product I've had to a plane was on CRH in Business Class (which oddly is above first class). Only train I have seen with lie flat seating.

  28. Scudder Gold

    I wonder if the economics really support this class of service? Or is it a subsidized luxury from a state-owned company, kept in place with pressure from politically connected elites?

    The question makes me think of Thai's new First Class, and its *very* narrow target passenger.

  29. AA70 Member

    Interesting they checked your passports, I have taken ICE between Mannheim and Paris multiple times and the only check they have done was for tickets

  30. BKAloha Guest

    What a great train report! It's such a huge disgrace that there are so many anti-train politicians in the US. I once rode from NYC-DC, packed train and the bathroom door wouldnt close properly and man camped on the toilet out the entire trip. Sigh...

  31. Paul M Guest

    When you go to Japan you'll need to try the JR East Gran Class when you venture up to the Tohoku region.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Megan Guest

Ben never said it was for his personal enjoyment and pretty sure he knows what a conference room is intended for. Doesn't mean he can't use it if a group hasn't reserved it.

4
TheBeerHunter Guest

I love your giddiness. It’s infectious.

3
Paul M Guest

When you go to Japan you'll need to try the JR East Gran Class when you venture up to the Tohoku region.

3
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