Standardizing Business Class

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
So we all know business class on Amtrak isn't standardized across the system. So what would you add if a standard was set? Please keep it to corridor service business class, Business Class on long distance trains is its own can of worms (Budget Sleepers and all)

Amenities I would add are:

  • 2+1 configuration
  • Legroom on par with long distance coach
  • Meal of some sort on trips over 2 hours. 
 

daybeers

Conductor
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,130
Location
HFD/POU
Yes to your ideas, and I would add:
• Faster and/or exclusive Wi-Fi
• At-seat meal/café service
• Priority boarding
While I like these ideas, Amtrak needs to vastly improve it's Wi-FI and boarding situations before it markets them as better for BC passengers.

I like the 2x1 configuration requirement, but what kind of meal are we talking? What would you get on a Northeast Regional?
 

cpotisch

Engineer
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
but what kind of meal are we talking? What would you get on a Northeast Regional?
I’m thinking something along the lines of what they serve in BC on the Surfliners. Plenty of complimentary snacks and pastries and such, brought to your seat by an attendant. Not a full hot meal, but something above the standard coach offerings.
 

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
11,620
Location
Orlando, FL
I assume you all know that "States" make many decisions regarding "State controlled" trains, not Amtrak, thus, there is plenty of inconsistency.  
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,422
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Well it is kinda hard to explain to some why Amtrak California is not really Amtrak. The fudging is intentional to some extent, but it works both ways.

Also I am not at all convinced that BC on a medium to long distance train must be exactly the same as BC on busy NEC, just like BC on a domestic flight is nothing like BC on an intercontinental flight, even when on occasions the same hard product is used.

What is important IMHO though is to use a distinct hard product to differentiate, unlike the case now. But that costs money.
 

cpotisch

Engineer
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY

Also I am not at all convinced that BC on a medium to long distance train must be exactly the same as BC on busy NEC, just like BC on a domestic flight is nothing like BC on an intercontinental flight, even when on occasions the same hard product is used.
This!

I was also trying communicate that point to [email protected][/USER] in the other thread...

Yes, but not all trains with BC use long distance coaches, so it doesn’t really matter in those cases. All that really matters is how much of an upgrade BC is overthe coach offerings on that train.
What I’m saying is that all that really matters is how much of an upgrade Business Class is compared to whatever the coach offering ia on that particular train. So on a short distance route that only uses short distance coacheslike the AM-Is or Horizons, it doesn’t really matter whether or not long distance coach on other routes has the same legroom.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,738
Location
EOTL
Well it is kinda hard to explain to some why Amtrak California is not really Amtrak. The fudging is intentional to some extent, but it works both ways. Also I am not at all convinced that BC on a medium to long distance train must be exactly the same as BC on busy NEC, just like BC on a domestic flight is nothing like BC on an intercontinental flight, even when on occasions the same hard product is used. What is important IMHO though is to use a distinct hard product to differentiate, unlike the case now. But that costs money.
Perhaps using terms like "California Business" or whatever makes sense for a given region, but at least give people a consistent product business travelers can reasonably anticipate at booking.  The current "Casino Business" setup is a bit of a joke IMO.  If they're going to use the same hard product the least Amtrak could do is allow individual seat bookings with one seat blocked per row to allow single travelers to sit alone.  There are so many little improvements that could combine to make a big difference down the road.  If Amtrak had a coherent business class plan these sorts of product improvements could be hammered out at the next state/region contract negotiation.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
2 + 1 seating. 

Wi-Fi. 

Free soft drinks (limiting BC travelers to 1 bottle of water is one of the silliest things Amtrak has done IMHO.) 

Free snack(s) option. That can be a voucher or a snack box but something should be available. 

That's about it in my opinion. 
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773

While I like these ideas, Amtrak needs to vastly improve it's Wi-FI and boarding situations before it markets them as better for BC passengers.

I like the 2x1 configuration requirement, but what kind of meal are we talking? What would you get on a Northeast Regional?
I was thinking the snack packs available on the Surfliner and maybe some sort of meal on longer trips. 

I assume you all know that "States" make many decisions regarding "State controlled" trains, not Amtrak, thus, there is plenty of inconsistency.  
That doesn't mean Amtrak couldn't say "this is the minimum, you can have more but no less" 

This!

I was also trying communicate that point to [email protected][/USER] in the other thread...
There still needs to be a worthwhile minimum. Re-branding coach with a can of soda doesn't mean much when we are talking one of Amtrak's premier routes, being the Northeast Regional. If a corridor on the west coast can do 2+1, with drinks and a $6 voucher, the NEC should have far better if we are basing this on region and usage. Your argument seems to come off as "the NEC deserves less cause....at least its not regional coach". 

Also I am not at all convinced that BC on a medium to long distance train must be exactly the same as BC on busy NEC, just like BC on a domestic flight is nothing like BC on an intercontinental flight, even when on occasions the same hard product is used.

What is important IMHO though is to use a distinct hard product to differentiate, unlike the case now. But that costs money.
My thought on long distance business is it should be some form of budget sleeper. The people that complain about how having one will hurt sleeper revenue are wrong, at least by Amtrak's estimation. If having something above coach is worthwhile to them, having a budget sleeper isn't a stretch and might be worth trying on longer routes. 

 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
What are you calling a budget sleeper?  Slumbercoach? Pullman Sections? Lie-Flat airline style suites? 
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,422
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Actually lie-flat airline style seats minus the suite would be quite suitable. It could even be something on the less luxurious end of the spectrum like the pmUnited BC lie flats. Just a nice flat surface to sleep on without any bells and whistles.
 

cpotisch

Engineer
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
The people that complain about how having one will hurt sleeper revenue are wrong, at least by Amtrak's estimation
You keep on making the same claim that there are all these people here shutting your idea because they think it will hurt sleeper revenue. Can you point me to a few examples of this? Because it sort of seems like you’re just trying to support your suggestion by refuting a point people aren’t making.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
You keep on making the same claim that there are all these people here shutting your idea because they think it will hurt sleeper revenue. Can you point me to a few examples of this? Because it sort of seems like you’re just trying to support your suggestion by refuting a point people aren’t making.
Well business class being rolled out onto long distance trains. Why would it be safe, but once it lies flat holy Jesus think of the roomettes!? If you add a flat option to a line that either lacks sleepers like overnight Northeast Regionals or trains that already come close to filling up their sleepers regularly, a lower tier option wouldn't affect them much. If the point of having business class is to get coach passengers to upgrade, then a lie flat option would be an actual upgrade on a long distance train. At this point, I can spend $10 at a 7-11 and get the same experience on the Starlight's business class for coach fare. A lie flat option would get me to upgrade, and the user reviews of business that I have found are mixed. 
 

cpotisch

Engineer
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
You keep on making the same claim that there are all these people here shutting your idea because they think it will hurt sleeper revenue. Can you point me to a few examples of this? Because it sort of seems like you’re just trying to support your suggestion by refuting a point people aren’t making.
Well business class being rolled out onto long distance trains. Why would it be safe, but once it lies flat holy Jesus think of the roomettes!? If you add a flat option to a line that either lacks sleepers like overnight Northeast Regionals or trains that already come close to filling up their sleepers regularly, a lower tier option wouldn't affect them much
I’m asking you, who here has argued otherwise? You just made the same claim again that people are objecting to your idea “because it will take revenue from Roomettes”, but I still have yet to see any examples of that. So can you point me to any posts that make that claim, or are you just strawman-ing.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
I’m asking you, who here has argued otherwise? You just made the same claim again that people are objecting to your idea “because it will take revenue from Roomettes”, but I still have yet to see any examples of that. So can you point me to any posts that make that claim, or are you just strawman-ing.
Might have been on a different site, but people do think that a lie flat business option will kill the roomettes because Amtrak decided 35 years ago that they would be the budget option...in theory. 
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
I think you've lost me. So you want lie flat seats?  And how much more are you willing to pay for lie flat seats? I feel like the lie flat seats wouldn't be that much cheaper than a roomette cost-wise. 

I think reserved 2-1 seating with pillow and blanket and free soft drinks would be where to go. 
 

cpotisch

Engineer
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
7,511
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I think you've lost me. So you want lie flat seats?  And how much more are you willing to pay for lie flat seats? I feel like the lie flat seats wouldn't be that much cheaper than a roomette cost-wise. 

I think reserved 2-1 seating with pillow and blanket and free soft drinks would be where to go. 
He wants lie flat seats of some kind for long distance Business Class, and 2x1 seating for short distance. So there would be two total Business Class products.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
He wants lie flat seats of some kind for long distance Business Class, and 2x1 seating for short distance. So there would be two total Business Class products.
I did initially say that business on long distance trains would need a pin in it. Mostly because I assume someone would think a lie flat business seat on a long distance train should be considered something else. For example an open section/slumber coach/single roomette/lie flat seat could be an option for a budget sleeper but historically weren't considered business class as we currently conceive of it. I was hoping to keep this discussion to regional trains. 
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
Well... what more was there to discuss about regional trains? ha. 

What has always bothered me the most is "Business Class" on the Acela which offers nothing more than standard coach.  
 
Last edited by a moderator:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
But Acela trains have their own equipment and coach is on Amfleets et all so its totally different ;)
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
They should have called it Acela Coach or some such.
Or Standard Class, or 2nd Class. Business Class anywhere else in the Amtrak system gives you at least a free bottle of water and free coffee. And most offer at least slightly more. 
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
773
Acela First Class is more what business class should be across the system, but minus a few things to keep Acela a premiere service. Like having a lower tier meal option rather than the full service with a menu on the Acela. 
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
I disagree. Having Meal service and all drinks included would drive the price up higher than I would want to typically pay. I like paying a small premium to get 2x1 seating, typically quieter surroundings, and lounge access in chicago. 

Now of course in a perfect world I would have Iowa Pacific business class on every train. Now THOSE were the days. Only rode it twice... should have made a few more trips. 
 
Top