Business Class differences?

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Perhaps, instead of calling all these variation's "Business Class", Amtrak should bring back its first term for these extra fare seats, as "Custom Class"...then they could make it as 'custom' as they want on each route, with no apologies...šŸ˜
Not a bad idea... but if extra is charged, there needs to be something of consistent and specific value they are charging for.
 
"Business Class" is just another one of those terms employed by Amtrak to appeal to traveler's more familiar with airline terminology....railroad's prior to Amtrak never used it.
Indeed, back then, neither did airlines. Three class airlines typically had First (F), Coach(Y), and Economy(K).
Someone got the brilliant idea of coining 'Business Class', as a way for business traveler's to justify to their boss, booking it....;)
 
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There are passenger rail business class products in Europe, Japan, and other places... seats are larger; sometimes there is some kind of food service... and it's all very refined... and variable. Upgrade costs are also variable. Much has been written about upgraded rail travel:

https://www.businesstravelnewseurop...ship-between-business-travel-and-premium-rail
https://www.oebb.at/en/reiseplanung-services/im-zug/abteile-komfortklassen
https://faq.trainline.eu/article/228-difference-first-and-second-class
 
Between both STL & KC and STL & Chicago we always want Business Class and it's consistent (2 & 1 seating, well-extending fold-out trays, free beverage, curtains, curtain between BC & cafe, free newspapers, of course outlets & footrests, plus leg rests but the ones in the flat-sided cars are better because there's space for your legs to use them fully.
 
It's interesting that in Europe Business Class is a higher class than First Class; the exact opposite of North America.

Lots of variations and titles to upgraded passenger rail services throughout the world... but the idea is being able to purchase a product that gives more comfort and privacy for a higher fare. This concept has been around for as long as trains have been transporting passengers.
 
It's been around alot longer than trains. On stagecoaches it was cheaper to sit outside with the driver than inside and on sailing ships you could pay extra for a cabin instead of sleeping in the hold.
 
Actually if the BC/Cafe car is last rather than right behind the locomotive, there is no noise from the horn throughout the trip. And if we board in Chicago it is the closest to walk to as well.
 
Funny when people talk about the fellow riders in business class. I have only ridden in BC once. It was an overnight train from CT to VA that did not come with sleepers. So my thought was the bigger seat would be better to sleep in. Since it was my wife and I, I didn't have to worry about sleeping next to a stranger.

We got on at 1:30 AM and were still kind of wired but tried to fall asleep. A couple of stops into the trip, a woman got on and introduced herself to her seatmate, and them proceeded to talk loudly for the next hour until one man finally asked her if she could quiet down. Had we all not been sleepy, I think we would have applauded him. After she quieted down, I was able to get to sleep. But the only problem with the trip was another passenger.
 
Agreed. Generally, the only real benefit is, usually anyway, a more mature, quiet crowd, than in coach. But even that isnā€™t always the case.

Yeah, I take BC regularly on the Michigan trains and while people have a right to book BC for their children, most of us are there to have the quiet and/or work and I have seen parents set their kids up on the floor/aisle to play like it's their own personal space. Bring your kids ok but teach them what is appropriate please.
 
Yeah, I take BC regularly on the Michigan trains and while people have a right to book BC for their children, most of us are there to have the quiet and/or work and I have seen parents set their kids up on the floor/aisle to play like it's their own personal space. Bring your kids ok but teach them what is appropriate please.
Good luck with that.....
 
I just called Amtrak Guest Rewards to inquire about the rules for complimentary drinks in business class on the Northeast Regional service. They claim business class customers are now limited to just one (1) complimentary nonalcoholic beverage. My wife is currently traveling with friends on points I gifted to them. Could that be the reason why only one free soft drink is being offered?
Iā€™ve traveled on points in business class before (9/2022) and the soft drinks were unlimited. What gives?
 
I just was on the maple leaf the other day. Interestingly the VIA rail Canada cafe attendant also honored the business class complementary soft drink thing and gave coffee and soft drinks to the Amtrak business customers without charge.
Yes, I was on the Maple Leaf (63/64) in September of 2022 and all we had to do is go to the cafe counter and ask for what we wanted. Whatā€™s so frustrating about Amtrak is each crew makes up their own rules. There is no consistency whatsoever.
 
I just called Amtrak Guest Rewards to inquire about the rules for complimentary drinks in business class on the Northeast Regional service. They claim business class customers are now limited to just one (1) complimentary nonalcoholic beverage. My wife is currently traveling with friends on points I gifted to them. Could that be the reason why only one free soft drink is being offered?
Iā€™ve traveled on points in business class before (9/2022) and the soft drinks were unlimited. What gives?
I doubt the crew or staff know how we paid for our tickets, so, no, traveling on points would have no bearing on this.
 
I just wrote Amtrak, letting them know I am not pleased with this new restriction. If they are going to keep reducing amenities and increasing prices, whatā€™s the point in paying for business class at all?
 
I took Business Class a couple of years ago from New Brunswick to New Haven (visiting the trolley museum). While I generally regard it as a rip-off for what is just an ordinary coach with slighter better seat pitch, a glitch in their yield managment got me to use it for a couple of hundred fewer reward points than coach.

When it came time for the cherished cup of coffee, I had to show my e-ticket, my ID, sign the receipt, which had the cafe car's $3.50 expensed as $5 against biz class revenue (so that's how they claim such NEC cafe cars break even - one business line gouges the other to a 43% markup), and overall much more of an affair than simply handing over cash. Needless to say, there would be no refills or 2nd trips. I might as well been buying a mattress.
 
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When I take the Downeaster BC I generally assume one free drink, but on my September trip I got coffee when the attendant came around after we left Brunswick. Later I went to get a bottle of water expecting to pay for it and he said it was free. However I have not tested that on subsequent trips.
 
In my recent trips on the Silver, the Crescent, both in Sleeper and the Carolinian in BC I was able to get any number of Coffees from the Cafe without showing anything or signing anything. I don't know how things are on the NEC. Left that a while back and don't go back too often. The only recent trip was on Acela First from PHL to MET.
 
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When I take the Downeaster BC I generally assume one free drink, but on my September trip I got coffee when the attendant came around after we left Brunswick. Later I went to get a bottle of water expecting to pay for it and he said it was free. However I have not tested that on subsequent trips.
They have a great, friendly attendant in the cafe car on one of the Downeasters
 
Downeaster: I dont know where the attendant's check paycheck comes from, but the food is catered. That business model needs to spread.

VIA Rail's side of the Maple Leaf is one of the worst financially performing trains in their entire system, yet they do not seem count milliliters or molecules of coffee served. Perhaps their management bonuses are not determined solely by cost cutting like Amtrak's are.
 
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Downeaster: I dont know where the attendant's check paycheck comes from, but the food is catered. That busienss model needs to spread.
The Downeaster cafe is contracted out to NexDine and the attendants work and are paid (frugally) by NexDine, which is a catering company based in Massachusetts I believe. They also ran the cafeteria where I worked in Bedford MA before I retired.

In that respect the Downeaster cafe and BC operation is a bit of a unicorn and not typical of Amtrak operation.
 
Business class doesn't need to be consistent across the entire Amtrak system, all it needs to be is better than coach class on the same train.

This is true of airlines, too. Last year (before the virus), my Dad flew out to the west coast to visit my sister. Since he turned 90, he's decided to spring for first class. His outbound flight had a lie-flat seat cubicle, even though it was just a 6-hour transcontinental flight. His eastbound flight had a (very roomy) reclining seat. He didn't say too much about the food service, except that, of course, he was served a meal, unlike the poor suckers in coach. So even with the airlines, first class isn't always the same product.

In general, Amtrak business class is superior to the coach class on the same train:
My experience in the east

Northeast regional -- BC has Amfleet 1 BC 2x2 car more legroom and window curtains. #65-66-67 have the 2x1 club seating with leg rests, though I think the leg rests are useless.
Carolinian, the same plus an attendant comes and hands out drinks. Except that means you can't get your free drink whenever you want in the cafe car, you have to wait until the attendant comes around.
Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express -- BC is the 2x1 club seating, coach are Amfleet 1 corridor coaches.
Pennsylvanian and Palmetto -- Amfleet 1 BC car, but Amfleet 2 coaches in the consist (along with Amfleet 1 coaches.)

The trains where BC is not substantially better than coach are the Pennsylvanian and Palmetto. Of course, if the Amfleet 2 coaches are all full, which happened to me once when I rode the Pennsylvanian, you'd be better in business class as compared to the available Amfleet 1 coaches. Nonetheless, I ride business class on the Palmetto, because (as least on Saturday northbound trains), the business class never fills up, and I get a seat pair to myself all the way from Savannah to Baltimore, whereas the coaches are packed.

I sure take advantage of the free coffee or soda, but but a free $2 coffee really isn't the reason why I'd upgrade. It's mostly for more space and a better chance of a seat to myself are the main reasons. The 25% AGR TQP bonus is also good.
Another advantage to business class over coach is that the seats are assigned. You know you have a seat before you board, and thus you don't need to join the scrum to board first. This isn't true for the business class off the NEC. Also, business class has curtains to shade the windows, which Amfleet 1 and Horizon coaches don't have.
 
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