The Indian Railways has a very clearly chalked out seat reservation system. There are some basic rules and regulations that everyone has to follow when it comes to booking a seat on a train they wish to travel in.
Well, if you have not travelled much with the Indian Railways or have never booked a seat before, then there are a few things that you need to know of before you make the booking. There are mainly four statuses of reservation that the Indian Railways have – confirmed seat, a general class ticket, a ticket for RAC or Reservation against Cancellation and a ticket on the Waiting List. When you book a ticket online, you can always check the railway reservation seat availability of the desired train, and then, make the booking. Let us take a more detailed look at the types of seats that are there.
For those, who wish to travel in the non-AC general class, they will get general tickets. These cost much less because they come without any reservation, that is, no seat number will be assigned to you. People get their seats with such tickets on first come first serve basis. This is why before the general compartment doors are opened, in order to avoid a hassle, people are asked to queue up in front of the door, and then board the train, one by one.
Confirmed seat tickets
These are tickets that come with a stipulated seat number, assigning you to your seat. The trains, which do not have much rush, have plenty of seats available, and hence, getting a confirmed seat with them is not much of a problem. However, trains that are high in demand get filled out very fast, and hence, if you want to avail yourself a confirmed seat reservation, you will have to make sure that you make the booking at the earliest within the 120 days window before the date of departure. The prices vary based on the type of coach that you choose to travel in.
Reservation against Cancellation tickets
When all the confirmed reserved seats get filled out, you can always make a booking with the train if that is your travel date. There is no guarantee however that you will get a seat though. When you have a Reservation against Cancellation ticket, you will not be assigned a seat number, and if somebody cancels their reservation, then only will you get a confirmed seat. The confirmed seat number will be updated to you, or you can check the status online with your PNR number on any online portal.
Waiting list ticket
If you have got yourself a waiting list ticket, then your turn will come after the RAC tickets have been assigned confirmed tickets. While with a RAC ticket, you will be allowed share a seat and travel, if you waitlist ticket is not confirmed then you are legally not allowed to board the train.
So, these are the basic reservation of seats when it comes to the Indian railways. Keep these in mind when you make the booking.