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What are Priority seats on trains?

Most trains have seats that have a little extra space. These are known as Priority seats, and they’re normally in the aisle, and/or near the end of the carriage. So, who can use these seats, where can you find them, and what do you do if you need to use one?

How can I identify Priority seats?

You’ll usually find a symbol of some sort above the seat. For example, this is what Priority Seats look like on LNER trains:

priority seats marked on an lner train

You’ll find the symbol next to the reservation display above the seats. Priority seats tend to have some extra legroom, too. Either way, they’re not difficult to spot.

Normally, you’ll find Priority seats towards the end of the carriage. This is so that people can get to them easily, without needing to walk too far. They might be an aisle seat too, so that they’re less difficult to get in and out of.

Who can use Priority Seats?

If they’re free and nobody else needs them, then anybody can use Priority Seats. After all, they have better legroom, which means that many people will prefer to sit in them. However, if you see somebody that might need a Priority Seat, or if they ask, then you should give the seat up if you’re able to.

Some companies will automatically reserve you in a Priority Seat, so you might not have much choice in the matter. In this case, you should ask a member of staff for assistance with finding a different seat, if you’re not able to find one.

Can I guarantee getting a Priority seat?

If you need a Priority seat, then some companies offer a Priority Seat Card, which makes it a little easier to ask for somebody to give these seats up for you. The following companies offer these cards (click the company name to visit their site):

Can I get a Priority seat if I’m pregnant?

If you need a Priority seat because you’re pregnant, then it’s often possible to get a ‘Baby on Board’ badge, or other special assistance.

  • Avanti West Coast has a mum-to-be scheme if you’re over 20 weeks pregnant. This could mean getting a guaranteed seat, or being upgraded if there aren’t any in Standard Class
  • Greater Anglia offers First Class upgrades for mums-to-be in their last eight weeks of pregnancy before maternity leave. You’ll need a special photocard. You can also request a baby-on-board badge
  • You can also request a Priority Seat card from any of the operators listed in the previous section.

What if I need more assistance?

Do you need some more assistance? Not a problem. Whether you need some mobility assistance, some help finding a seat, or you feel anxious or overwhelmed when using the train, then train companies offer free assistance.

The best place to start is the Passenger Assist website. The train company responsible will handle the rest. Just be aware that this isn’t a chaperone service, so it isn’t for unaccompanied children.

Do you need any help booking your tickets with Railsmartr? Not a problem. We have a guide to booking for the first time, or you can email us at hello@railsmartr.co.uk.