Vacant Seats in Trains: How to Find and Secure Them
Finding vacant seats in trains is crucial for a comfortable trip. Whether you’re a frequent train traveller or new to it, knowing how to find and get these vacant seats is really important.
In this guide, we’ll delve deep into the world of train seat availability, sharing tips and strategies to ensure you find and secure the seats you need for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
Vacant Seat Meaning in Hindi
The term “vacant seat” meaning in Hindi is “खाली सीट” (khaali seat). In the context of train travel, a “vacant seat” refers to an empty or unoccupied seat that is available for booking by a passenger.
Understanding Vacant Seat Availability
Before you set out to secure your train seats, it’s crucial to understand the terminology associated with seat availability:
- Available Seats: These are the confirmed seats that are currently open for booking on a particular train and in your chosen class of travel. Finding available seats is the ideal scenario for travellers as it guarantees a comfortable journey.
- RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation): When you see “RAC” next to a seat, it means that you can book it, but it comes with a catch. RAC seats provide you with a place to sit, but you might have to share your berth with another passenger. As others cancel their tickets, your status may improve from RAC to a confirmed berth.
- WL (Waitlist): The dreaded “WL” status indicates that all confirmed seats in your chosen class have been booked. However, you can still join the waitlist, hoping that other passengers cancel their reservations, allowing you to move up the list.
Now that you’re familiar with these terms, let’s explore how to find and secure vacant seats in trains effectively.
Checking Vacant Seat Availability in Train Online
The digital age has revolutionized train travel, making it easier than ever to check seat availability and book tickets online. Here’s how to go about it:
- Visit the Official Railway Booking Website: In India, the official website for train ticket bookings is IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation). Visit the IRCTC website at https://www.irctc.co.in/ to get started.
- Login or Create an Account: If you already have an IRCTC account, log in using your credentials. If not, you can easily create a new account by providing the necessary details.
- Enter Journey Details: On the homepage, you’ll be prompted to enter specific details:
- Departure station
- Destination station
- Date of travel
- Class of travel (e.g., Sleeper, AC 3-Tier, AC 2-Tier, etc.)
- Check Seat Availability: Once you’ve entered your journey details, click on the “Find Trains” or “Check Availability & Fare” button. You’ll then see a list of trains that match your criteria.
A New Feature “Chart Vacancy” in the IRCTC App to find Vacant Seats
The “Chart Vacancy” feature in the IRCTC app allows passengers to check the current status of vacant seats or berths on a particular train after the reservation chart has been prepared.
Here’s how it typically works:
- Post Chart Preparation: Indian Railways prepares a reservation chart a few hours before the scheduled departure of a train. This chart contains information about passengers with confirmed reservations, RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) passengers, and those on the waiting list. To read more about Chart Preparation Time
- Chart Vacancy Feature: The “Chart Vacancy” feature in the IRCTC app becomes useful after this chart has been prepared. It allows passengers to check the status of vacant seats or berths on the train.
- Vacant Seat Availability: Passengers can see how many seats in different classes of travel (e.g., Sleeper, AC 3-Tier, AC 2-Tier) are currently unoccupied or vacant. This information is valuable for those who are planning to book tickets at the last minute or are looking for available seats on a specific train.
- Real-Time Updates: The “Chart Vacancy” feature provides real-time updates on seat availability, and it can help passengers make informed decisions about booking tickets or changing their travel plans.
Read more about the IRCTC Chart Vacancy Feature
Understanding Seat Availability Status
Now that you’ve searched for trains, it’s crucial to understand the seat availability status displayed on your screen:
- “Available” indicates the number of confirmed seats available for your selected class of travel. This is the most desirable status, as it guarantees you a comfortable seat for your journey.
- “RAC” (Reservation Against Cancellation) signifies that you can book a seat. However, it comes with the understanding that you may have to share your berth with another passenger. As cancellations occur, passengers with RAC status may be allotted confirmed berths.
- “WL” (Waitlist) means that all confirmed seats are booked, and you can join the waitlist. Passengers with WL status are hoping that others cancel their reservations, allowing them to move up the list and secure a seat.
Booking Tickets Based on Availability
Now that you understand the different seat availability statuses, it’s time to consider how to book tickets based on these statuses:
- When Seats are “Available”: If you see “Available” status, it means there are confirmed seats open for booking. You can proceed to book your ticket by selecting your preferred class and seat preferences. Booking at this stage ensures you secure a comfortable seat for your journey.
- “RAC” or “WL” Status: Passengers comfortable with “RAC” or “WL” status can go ahead and book tickets. While it’s not a guaranteed seat, it provides a chance to secure a place on the train. Keep an eye on your booking status as the journey date approaches, as cancellations can lead to an upgrade to a confirmed berth.
To Know more about all Statuses please refer to What is the Meaning of PQWL,TQWL,RLWL,CKWL,RLGN,GNWL,RSWL,RAC in IRCTC
Strategies for Finding Vacant Seats in Trains
Finding vacant seats in trains can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you’re travelling during peak seasons or on popular routes. However, there are strategies you can employ to increase your chances:
- Book in Advance: The most reliable way to secure a seat is by booking your tickets well in advance. Indian Railways typically releases its reservation quotas 120 days before the date of travel. Booking early ensures you have more options to choose from and a higher chance of finding available seats.
- Travel during Non-Peak Hours: Trains are generally less crowded during off-peak hours. Consider travelling during weekdays or at times when others are less likely to be commuting.
- Consider Alternate Stations: Check if there are nearby train stations that you can use as your departure or arrival points. Smaller stations may have less demand, increasing your chances of finding available seats.
- Waitlist and RAC: Don’t hesitate to book tickets on the waiting list (WL) or reservation against cancellation (RAC). Passengers with WL or RAC status may eventually get confirmed seats if others cancel their bookings.
- Tatkal Quota: The Tatkal quota opens a day or two before the date of travel. While tickets under this quota are usually more expensive, it can be a good option if you need to book last-minute Tatkal tickets. Also, Read more about Premium Tatkal
- Use Online Booking Portals: Online booking platforms, including the IRCTC website, often provide real-time seat availability information. Keep checking for updates, as seats can become available due to cancellations.
- Travel during Non-Peak Hours: Trains are generally less crowded during odd hours, such as overnight journeys. Consider travelling during these times if it fits your schedule.
- Check for Special Trains: Sometimes, special trains are introduced during peak seasons or festivals to accommodate increased demand. Keep an eye out for such announcements.
- Opt for Unreserved Coaches: Some trains have unreserved coaches, where you can board without a reserved ticket. However, these coaches can be crowded and less comfortable.
- Travel in Groups: If you’re travelling with a group, booking multiple tickets may increase your chances of finding adjacent seats.
- Be Persistent: Keep checking for seat availability even after you’ve booked your initial tickets. Passengers often cancel their reservations, so seats may become available closer to the travel date.
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Remember that seat availability can change rapidly, so it’s essential to plan and book your tickets as early as possible, especially for popular routes and peak travel times. Additionally, always follow the official booking procedures and guidelines provided by the railway authorities to ensure a smooth travel experience.
1. How to book a vacant seat on a running train?
Booking a vacant seat on a running train in India is generally not allowed. Train reservations are typically required before the train’s departure, and passengers need to book their seats or berths in advance through the official Indian Railways reservation system.
Securing vacant seats in Trains is a skill that can make your journey not just comfortable but also enjoyable. Understanding the various seat availability statuses, and booking strategies, and employing practical tips can go a long way in ensuring that you find and secure the seats you need