The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, trading as Amtrak, is a main provider of inter-city rail service in the US. The national passenger railroad company serves close to 87,000 passengers on more than 300 trains daily. Amtrak is a top choice for people who need to travel short-distance routes. It enjoys a presence in 46 of the 48 contiguous states and offers four classes of onboard services. These include First Class (the highest service offered on the Acela), Sleeper Service, Business Class, and Coach Class. Amtrak business class is the best fit for those who want to ride in style and upgrade their travel game.
Introducing Amtrak Business Class
Like on an air carrier, traveling business class on Amtrak comes with its own benefits. It takes train travel to a whole new level by offering a perfect balance of comfort and efficiency. Amtrak business class is a gold standard for those looking for a premium, enhanced experience traveling on the East Coast.
Amtrak offers business class seats on its flagship Acela Express along the Northeast corridor, Northeast regional, and short-haul corridor trains. While the specific features and amenities vary by route, customers can expect wide, comfortable seats and extra legroom. Amtrak business class is an industry-leading product that offers enhanced customer experience at a cheaper cost. Customers can save a couple of bucks and some degree of stress in Amtrak business travel compared to air travel.
Flying vs. Amtrak rail travel
Flying is subject to various criteria like security screening, baggage weight check, warnings to stay seated, etc. Besides, the premium service and high-end comfort onboard are reserved for high-paying customers only. Mainline carriers often incur exorbitant fees on business-class tickets, which cost a fortune for many. In such cases, it makes sense for customers to choose rail for business travel at low prices. The services are at par with airplanes, and several amenities will help alleviate the anxiety that comes with travel.
Amtrak business class on Acela
Acela, Amtrak’s flagship high-speed train, offers superior passenger train service to East coast cities at speeds up to 150mph. Acela is one of the most popular lines on Amtrak’s network, frequently operating to destinations throughout the Northeast Corridor. The high-ish-speed Acela trains only accommodate business and first-class passengers. You won’t find any coach seats on Acela trains, making business class the de facto standard.
- Amtrak Acela business class features and benefits
Amtrak’s Acela Express trainset comprises a six-car train, including a first-class car, a café car, and four business-class cars. The business class has 240 seats of five cars within the six-car train. The Café car lies in Car 4 whereas the Quite Car (business class adjacent to first class) is in Car 2.
As the name suggests, quiet car passengers must maintain a peaceful environment. Guests must refrain from loud talking and speak in subdued tones. Limited conversations, automatic sliding doors, and mute portable electronic devices create a quiet space for business clientele to work and unwind.
Although Amtrak business class is a step up from the coach, it is a standard class of service on Acela trains. Four seats are across each row (two on each side), each measuring 20 inches wide and 26 ft deep. Most seats, except those at conference tables and the bulkhead, are rotated to be forward-facing during the trip.
The seat pitch of 42 inches means travelers can enjoy more legroom and space between their seats and the next seats. The seats are roomier and ensure unparalleled comfort along the journey. Similarly, the generous legroom gives you more space to stretch out and maximizes relaxation on your travel.
The footrest (which can be pulled out from the seat-back chair) guarantees additional comfort by letting passengers relax their feet. The presence of tray tables allows business travelers to transform their space into a work area. Those traveling for business can use these folding tables to hold their laptops and work on them.
Other thoughtful touches include easily accessible in-seat charging outlets, reading lights, and seat-back pockets.
The automatic seat selection is one of the coolest amenities of Amtrak business class on Acela. The system automatically assigns you a seat when you complete the business-class seat reservation. On crowded trains, the seat assignment provision offers you peace of mind while boarding. The assigned seating takes the guesswork out of finding your spot among the hordes of other passengers.
- Cons of Amtrak Acela business class
Without a shadow of a doubt, Amtrak Acela business class incorporates excellent, comfy seats. But its premium onboard perks don’t seem to surpass the seats. Unlike first-class, customers traveling in business-class tickets won’t get any complimentary meals or non-alcoholic drinks. While Acela first-class passengers have a car attendant to serve meals at their seats, there is no such service for business travelers.
Despite a few perks, Amtrak Acela business class is still a good fit due to its high-speed service and spacious seats.
Amtrak business class on Northeast Regional
Compared to Acela, Northeast Regional is a slower and less expensive passenger train service offered by Amtrak. Northeast Regional trains operate Amtrak’s busiest routes in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic US daily, usually at least every hour. As the most popular and heavily used service, it is imperative for Amtrak to offer business class products on Northeast Regional routes.
The Northeast Regional trains accommodate coach class, business class, and sleeper service passengers. Amtrak Northeast Regional Business Class seats feature two x2 or 2×1 configurations.
- Amtrak Northeast Regional business class features and benefits
Customers having business class reservations on Northeast regional trains are entitled to assigned seating benefits. They can select their preferred seats and choose to sit together with families, friends, and colleagues. Since business class is an elevated cabin offering, travelers can look forward to an enhanced journey experience.
First, customers trading up from coach class will have ample stretch-out legroom. The seats are spacious and offer privileged travel. The generous seat pitch, footrests extending from the seat in front, and window shades maximize comfort and make the journey something to look forward to.
Similarly, in-seat electric outlets, reading lamps, fold-out tray tables, etc., add a delightful touch to the train travel experience.
The Amtrak Northeast Regional business class amenities go beyond seats to include ‘soft product’ perks. There is a complimentary onboard Wi-Fi connectivity that supports general web browsing activities. While passengers can’t perform high-bandwidth actions, they can happily stay connected with their close ones while traveling.
Furthermore, there’s a provision of complimentary non-alcoholic beverages for premium travelers. Riders traveling in Amtrak business class (except Acela) are treated to unlimited free soft drinks to quench their thirst. Customers can choose the drink of their choice, including fresh-brewed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, tea, hot chocolates, bottled water, etc. They can also opt for orange, apple, or cranberry juice to stay hydrated throughout their journey.
Amtrak business class on other routes
Amtrak business class is not limited to the operator’s most popular and heavily used routes like Northeast Corridor. This premium cabin product is available on most corridor services across its network system. Apart from Acela and Northeast Regional, many other short-haul corridor trains and few long-distance trains offer business class seats.
You can travel business class on Amtrak routes like Blue Water, Amtrak Cascades, Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, etc. Other Amtrak business class options include Illinois Services, Carolinian, Coast Starlight, Lake Shore Limited, Missouri River Runner, Vermonter, Wolverine, etc.
Amtrak business class lounge access
Amtrak business class customers can access select station lounges nationwide to relax and unwind. Those holding a same-day business class ticket are eligible for lounge access in Chicago, Portland, and St. Louis. Please note that the private lounges in busier locations may exclude access to business-class travelers.
Taking a trip on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight route as a premium customer? You can access the metropolitan lounge in Los Angeles-Union Station, which opens daily between 5:00 am and 10:00 pm. Likewise, business-class guests onboard the Pacific Surfliner Amtrak along the Southern California coast can also use this LA lounge. But they must purchase a day pass to enjoy the luxury and offerings of the lounge.
Amtrak business class loyalty bonus
A loyalty bonus is among a wide-ranging set of benefits offered to Amtrak business class travelers. Amtrak’s loyalty program, Guest Reward, is designed to encourage travelers to use the rail service. Guests who purchase Amtrak business-class tickets will earn a 25% qualifying point bonus. After accumulating certain Amtrak Guest Rewards points, customers can redeem them for free trips, class upgrades, etc.
Bottom line: Is business class good on Amtrak?
Amtrak business class is an excellent choice for those who want to ride in style and travel like a boss at affordable prices. The roomy and wider seats, guaranteed seating, complimentary drinks (not on Acela), extra rewards, selected lounge access, etc., make Amtrak business class a must-try product.