As with most modes of transport this summer, Amtrak trains have been thronged with passengers lately. But just like on an airline, upgrading to Amtrak business class garners a few extra perks that help take the stress out of traveling.
In some cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, and St. Louis, a business-class ticket even comes with complimentary access to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounges. At the larger stations, such as New York Penn Station’s Moynihan Train Hall, business-class riders can buy a day pass for $50. (While that’s not as good as free admission, business-class riders are the only passengers allowed to buy their way into the sparkling new lounge.) What’s more: Business class is also usually located in the caboose, so you won’t be bothered by passengers wandering through, looking for the café car. The fares also have no change fees, are fully refundable, and earn 25 percent more Amtrak Guest Rewards points.
As with all Amtrak seats, the spots in the premium car have free Wi-Fi access, outlets, tray tables, and large picture windows. Here are three additional reasons to consider springing for a business-class ticket.
On most of Amtrak’s routes, business class comes with roomier seats, and which means more space to stretch out. Coach seats usually have about 39 inches of leg space. (For reference, a budget airline seat comes with about 28 inches of pitch.) And although Amtrak doesn’t list dimensions for its business-class seats, it feels like there’s much more room between rows in the premium car. There’s enough room for the average adult to even fit a weekender duffle between their feet and the seat. Plus, there’s a fold down footrest attached to the seat in front—it’s not terribly fancy, but on a long train ride, it really makes a difference.
On crowded trains, this benefit alone is worth the price of the upgrade: When you purchase a business class ticket on the Acela, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, and Vermonter, you are automatically given a seat assignment. This means peace of mind upon boarding—no more scrambling to the train to stake out a spot among the hoards of other riders.
After the fare is purchased, passengers can change their seats at no charge by pulling up their reservations through Amtrak’s app or website. The company has seat maps of each route’s train car so you can pick your optimal spot. One piece of advice? If you’re not traveling in a group, avoid the seats facing tables, which have limited legroom.
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages
In an airline’s premium cabin, passengers can expect to be served complimentary cocktails, beer, and wine. While that’s not the case on Amtrak—for that perk, you need to be a rider in first class on Acela, Amtrak’s high-speed train—business-class passengers on most routes do receive unlimited non-alcoholic beverages in the café car. That means free juice, coffee, tea, sparkling water, and sodas. All you have to do is show the cashier your ticket.
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