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Current Amtrak Business Class Offerings

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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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I thought I would put together a current list of Amtrak Business Class offerings as of February 12, 2018. These are the current listed offerings on Amtrak's site. All Business Class tickets feature dedicated "Business Class" Seating on the train, and 25% bonus on Amtrak Guest Rewards Points.

The stated amenities are from Amtrak's site.

(The type of car is not listed on Amtrak's site but is gathered from various online and personal observations).

Long Distance Trains featuring Business Class

Auto Train - Complimentary Comfort Kit, Meals in the Sleeping Class Dining Car, Two Bottles of Water.

(Standard Superliner Coach)

Coast Starlight - Two Bottles of Water, an onboard credit good for food and beverage purchase in the dining car or cafe car. Access to Metropolitan Lounge in Los Angeles and Portland.

(Standard Superliner Coach, may or may not have leather seating).

Cardinal - A non-alcoholic beverage, Leather Seating, Access to Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

(unstaffed amtrak cafe car with half lounge seating, half 2x1 business class seating)

Crescent - Non-alcoholic beverages.

(Standard Amfleet II Coach.)

Lake Shore Limited - Non-alcoholic beverages. Access to Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

(Amtrak Cafe car with staffed cafe and half lounge seating, half 2x1 business class seating)

Regional Trains featuring Business Class

Northeast Regional - A Non-alcoholic beverage.

(Full "Business Class Car" with slightly more leg room than Amfleet I coach, still 2x2 seating).

Acela Express - Coach style service is advertised as "Business Class" even though no benefits are given.

(Acela "Business Class" cars have 2x2 seating)

Cascades - A Coupon good for $3 off any menu item in the Bistro Car, access to Metropolitan Lounge in Portland.

(Business Class Car features 2x1 seating).

Carolinian - Non-alcoholic beverages, at-seat pillow.

(Full "Business Class Car" with slightly more leg room than Amfleet I coach, still 2x2 seating).

Pennsylvanian - Non-alcoholic beverages.

(Full "Business Class Car" with slightly more leg room than Amfleet I coach, still 2x2 seating).

Missouri River Runner - Non-alcoholic beverages.

(2x1 seating in half of cafe' car)

Downeaster, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Vermonter, Maple Leaf

- Non-alcoholic beverages, Leather Seating.

(2x1 seating in half of cafe' car)

Palmetto - Non-alcoholic beverages, Leather Seating.

(Full "Business Class Car" with slightly more leg room than Amfleet I coach, still 2x2 seating)

Hoosier State - No listed amenities.

(2x1 seating in half of cafe' car)

Illinois Service, Michigan Service - Complimentary Coffee, Tea, and Newspaper. Access to Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

(2x1 seating in half of cafe' car)

Pacific Surfliner - Complimentary Glass of Wine, non-alcoholic beverages, light snacks. Access to Metropolitan Lounge in Los Angeles.

(Full Surfliner Business Class Car with extra leg room, but still 2x2 seating.)

If you have trip reports, photos, etc. from recent business class trips it would be great to see them posted here.
 
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bratkinson

OBS Chief
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Aug 7, 2004
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QB 101
It should be noted that SOME of the NEC trains use the 1/2 cafe car/2-1 business class seating. In particular, the Vermonter, and as of 7-8 months ago, the Federal/Night Owl aka train 66/67. That train seems to go back and forth between full BC car and cafe/BC car every couple of years. The cafe/BC car was sold out both times I rode #66 northbound. After NYP, it was only 1/2 full.

I've only ridden one of the 'Empire Service' trains that go beyond ALB and they, too, have the 1/2 cafe/2-1 BC seating.

I've also conducted an unofficial survey with my tape measure on various Business Class cars I've ridden. The results are somewhat surprising. It should be noted that I only measured from the front of the seat cushion to the back frame of the seat ahead, when both were in their upright positions.

Standard NEC 62/64 'full' BC car.......20"

NEC (perhaps all?) cafe/BC cars.......18" Of note is the 2-side seats are 19" wide and the single seats are 20" wide with a 5" gap to the wall that needs to be 'stuffed' for sleeping.

Amfleet II LD coach............................22" seats have both foot and leg rests

Superliner LD coach..........................24" seats have both foot and leg rests

Pacific Surfliner BC car......................24" on the 1-side and 19" on the 2-side (2/1 seating on lower level, 2/2 on the upper level, as I recall)

Horizon coach (no BC)......................14"

Standard NEC 'refreshed' coach.......12"

Trying to sleep in 2/1 seating BC is difficult as there is a significant 'gap' between the armrest along the windows and the wall. I've resorted to using inflatable pillows from Amazon to stuff down the crack and expandable foam pillows from Amazon or winter coat as a pillow. Also, there is a 4-5" wide armrest between the seats on the 2-side that has side-by-side can holders. So, regardless of which side one is on, it's not possible to 'spread out' into the other half of the 2-side seat.

Also curious is that the 2-1 seating as found on the Lakeshore Boston section, like the other 2-1 BC cars has 18" of legroom, 2 inches LESS than 'regular' long distance coach. During peak travel periods, I'd definitely go with the BC. But during off-months, like now, I'd go 'regular' coach and hopefully get the seat all to myself.
 

seat38a

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
2,025
Location
Orange County California
Update to the Surfliner. There is a full Business Class car and the overflow Superliner Car as well. At a minimum the Superliner is running at 50% dedicated to business class. Breakfast spread has recently been updated to now include orange juice, and bottled water and different assorted pastries instead of the same cinnamon roll and danish they've had for years.

Trip Reports Surfliner Business Class:

Afternoon train report (PICS): http://seat38a.com/pacific-surfliner-business-class-to-san-diego/

Morning train report (PICS): http://seat38a.com/pacific-surfliner-business-class-back-home-from-san-diego/
 

Triley

Conductor
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Dec 14, 2008
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Somewhere between VAC and EUG
It should be noted that SOME of the NEC trains use the 1/2 cafe car/2-1 business class seating. In particular, the Vermonter, and as of 7-8 months ago, the Federal/Night Owl aka train 66/67. That train seems to go back and forth between full BC car and cafe/BC car every couple of years. The cafe/BC car was sold out both times I rode #66 northbound. After NYP, it was only 1/2 full.

I've only ridden one of the 'Empire Service' trains that go beyond ALB and they, too, have the 1/2 cafe/2-1 BC seating.

I've also conducted an unofficial survey with my tape measure on various Business Class cars I've ridden. The results are somewhat surprising. It should be noted that I only measured from the front of the seat cushion to the back frame of the seat ahead, when both were in their upright positions.

Standard NEC 62/64 'full' BC car.......20"

NEC (perhaps all?) cafe/BC cars.......18" Of note is the 2-side seats are 19" wide and the single seats are 20" wide with a 5" gap to the wall that needs to be 'stuffed' for sleeping.

Amfleet II LD coach............................22" seats have both foot and leg rests

Superliner LD coach..........................24" seats have both foot and leg rests

Pacific Surfliner BC car......................24" on the 1-side and 19" on the 2-side (2/1 seating on lower level, 2/2 on the upper level, as I recall)

Horizon coach (no BC)......................14"

Standard NEC 'refreshed' coach.......12"

Trying to sleep in 2/1 seating BC is difficult as there is a significant 'gap' between the armrest along the windows and the wall. I've resorted to using inflatable pillows from Amazon to stuff down the crack and expandable foam pillows from Amazon or winter coat as a pillow. Also, there is a 4-5" wide armrest between the seats on the 2-side that has side-by-side can holders. So, regardless of which side one is on, it's not possible to 'spread out' into the other half of the 2-side seat.

Also curious is that the 2-1 seating as found on the Lakeshore Boston section, like the other 2-1 BC cars has 18" of legroom, 2 inches LESS than 'regular' long distance coach. During peak travel periods, I'd definitely go with the BC. But during off-months, like now, I'd go 'regular' coach and hopefully get the seat all to myself.
67 typically changes to a full cafe and full business class car during the holidays, so typically from mid-November until the end of the year, at least that's what happened when I was working it.

Just a minor correction that typically has to be made on these forums. On Regionals you are served most non-alcoholic beverages (nothing considered premium, which currently includes the iced tea, Gatorade, Perrier, or Starbucks iced coffee), in unlimited quantity. Only once did I have to "shut off" someone from business class. Coincidentally it was on 67 with a full cafe/full business class car, and the conductor told me that the passenger in question was stuffing them in their luggage. Would explain why they were coming up every 30-45 minutes from Boston to Baltimore, getting a Pepsi and water.
 

PVD

Conductor
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Jul 8, 2015
Messages
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Location
NYC/Queens
Thank you, a great resource, as I have said, should be in simple chart form on their website.... I was on the TE recently, don't recall BC being offered, but not 100% sure. The Empire Service trains swap sets, so the NYP to Albany (no cafe service) and the ones that go past Albany (cafe service) use the same split cars, just not open for food service on the NYP to Albany trains. Hopefully, NYS will ante up for that someday.
 

GBNorman

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
573
All told, now that "Business Class" is being rolled out Systemwide, time to "look in the mirror" and recognize that for most trains, their product is simply premium Coach and brand it such (sure they could come up with something better than "Coach-Plus"; branding is one thing at which Amtrak is good). Where they can offer former "Amclub" 2-1 seating, call it Business; otherwise premium Coach.
 

AG1

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
787
Acela Express - Coach style service is advertised as "Business Class" even though no benefits are given.

(Acela "Business Class" cars have 2x2 seating)
​There is a benefit not mentioned. The Acela Business Class has more leg room versus NE Regional coach. I am a tall guy and definitely enjoy the additional room. Perhaps the poster with the tape measure could measure this for the chart.
 

VentureForth

Conductor
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
5,857
Location
Richmond Hill, GA
I cannot find where the Auto Train offers Business Class.

Disregard. Found it. $60 more than Value, and $72 less than Flexible? How odd.

Thing is - Business Class is probably the absolute worst value, most inconsistent offering on any given train with the exception of the 2-1 seating, which they took off the Palmetto, so I don't care about it any more.

I guess BC on the Surfliner isn't a horrible upgrade...
 
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VentureForth

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Richmond Hill, GA
Can you put a nomimal cost (let's go end to end) for each of the BC offerings vs their coach (value) price?
 
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PVD

Conductor
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NYC/Queens
Sometimes it is a function of who is sitting around you. An AM1 BC car on the NEC is only marginally more comfortable than a regular AM one for a relatively short trip, but to some folks the ability to be away from kids and casual travelers has value to them. Same in some of the other route situations. I don't find the value in that, but some certainly do.
 

seat38a

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Orange County California
Can you put a nomimal cost (let's go end to end) for each of the BC offerings vs their coach (value) price?
Pacific Surfliner

LAUS - SAN (Popular Route)

Coach: $37

Business: $56

Difference: $19

SLO - SAN (Full Route)

Coach: $61

Business: $92

Difference: $31

Minimum Business Class up charge for any station pair is $15. Very little variation in price throughout the year. One can substantially bring down the cost by buying a 10 ride and then buying business class upgrade.
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,679
So Triley mentioned on Regionals you can get multiple non-a drinks (as long as you don't stuff them in your luggage! Ha).

My experiences last year on the Illinois and Michigan trains saw unlimited hot tea and coffee (as is advertised) and ALSO 1 bottled water or soda that you had to sign for (this is not on the list on Amtraks site).
 

igor

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Messages
27
Business class on Cascade trains to or from Vancouver, BC also includes expedited clearance through customs.

Going to Vancouver, the BC car is the first one detrained, and when boarding in Vancouver, there's a separate line for BC to enter customs.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,679
I just rode the Surfliner Businese class. Had the single level fleet so it was Amfleet I business class car. Still nice to have more room (no one had a seat mate the whole trip).

I was given my snack box and my drink order was taken right when I boarded. Additional drinks were never offered and I never saw the attendant except when other passengers boarded. Not sure if I had found him if I could have gotten another water or not.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
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Location
Brownsburg IN
Biggest benefit to BC in my opinion is less crowded environment and ability to have a Row of 1 all to yourself for an overnight. Also - it is on a MUCH better section of the train out of the chaos of regular coach. Call me a snob - but to me that alone makes it well worth it.

I also think that the Business Class moniker is fine. No need for “Premium Coach”. In general travel terms - Business Class is better than Coach and not as good as First Class. I think that fits here just fine.

I have used this on the Crescent, Cardinal, Hoosier State, Lake Shore Limited and years ago on Pere Marquette and Wolverine. If they had it on the Empire Builder I’d probably take that train more.

Call me a fan of Business Class.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
 

Acela150

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In a Sea of Foam
Acela Express Business Class was named as such during the Warrington Era as they thought it would appeal to Business Travelers. The only true benefit a mentioned is leg room in non table seats.

As for the Pennsylvanian. If the Palmetto has Leather seats so does the Pennsylvanian.. They equipment share between the two trains.
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
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HFD
As for the Pennsylvanian. If the Palmetto has Leather seats so does the Pennsylvanian.. They equipment share between the two trains.
As far as I know, the Pennsylvanian still uses a full-length Amfleet I BC car.
 

daybeers

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