BC vs Coach on NER#178

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Feb 15, 2011
near Seneca, Oregon
I see that they have raised the low bucket fare on the LSL, and it is now cheaper to take the Cap Ltd and NE Regional if going from CHI to BOS (perk if I can take the NE Regional is that RTE is closer to where I am going than BOS).

So the question is: on the 178 NE Regional, what is the difference in actual seating between coach and BC? Unless BC is significantly more comfortable, coach is fine by me.
The difference between business class and coach on NE Regional trains is 8" more legroom. Per my own measurements about a year ago, regional coach seats have 12" between the front of the cushion and the back of the seat ahead, whereas business class is 20". The seats are the same, except in business class, where the middle of the leather is blue vs grey in coach. Also, the tray tables slide out further account the extra 8 inches. That's a lifesaver for my 17" laptop. In coach, if someone quickly leans their seat back, my laptop would likely have the hinge broken rendering it junk.

Also, in business class, unlimited free non-alcoholic beverages in the lounge car.

For what it's worth, I'll be doing the Capitol Ltd to #178 (then #478 to Springfield) in June.

edit: Also, don't forget that business class gets a 25% bonus AGR points, including TQPs!
If you’re going all the way from DC to Route 128. I would suggest taking BC. It’s about an 8 hour ride. The leg room and having certain beverages included in the ticket price is nice for that ride too. I frequently take either Acela or Regionals from Philly to the Route and stay at the Courtyard next to the Route. It’s about a 5 and a Half to 6 hour ride on a Regional and I always go BC. When I travel with my Mom she enjoys BC for the extra legroom. She has traveled in coach as well and for the longer ride prefers BC. The extra TQP’s is an added bonus.

Side note. The bathrooms tend to be a bit cleaner in BC.
I'd like to know what day of the week you're traveling. If it is a Tuesday, you won't have the same level of crowds, particularly out of NYP. However, if you're traveling on the Thursday or Friday, the train (including) business class will be quite crowded.
Thanks for all the good points, especially day-of-the-week tips! It is likely to be a Monday or Tuesday, if I stop in CHI to see the nephew over the weekend, and then get on the CL.

More legroom is not critical for me (I'm small, and will only have an iPad or tiny netbook), but the extra points, cleaner bathrooms, curtains, and unlimited tea (it will be winter) throw enough weight towards BC. Yup, I will probably do that. I notice that if you book online, the roomette/coach combo isn't offered, and I guess it's not worth phoning to ask for it.

I'll mostly be booking with points, but will probably do that section cash in order to get the extra point bonus...
ThirdRail makes a really good point. I’ve learned that 2172 on Fridays out of NYP in FC is mobbed. Although once I was in FC I’m a Friday on 2172 and it was dead. Only 5 passengers including myself. Monday’s are usually lighter out of NYP in the evening hours as well.
There will be plenty of room in either class out of NYP on a MON or TUE. Out of WAS, business class will likely give you more room to spread out than coach.
PVD, you are right -- you can just click the right-arrow and change class type, and the price changes with it. Looks like at low-bucket, Business Class is an extra $63. Worth it? Yes, if finances allow. It kind of depends on my point balance (whether I have enough to do the entire trip on points, or have to do a portion on cash), and my bank account.