Wolverine Business Class - Worth It?

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Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Hi all,

It looks like I'll be taking a job that will require me to travel to Detroit 1-2 times a month (I live in Chicago). I've taken the IL Zephyr/Carl Sandburg a lot over the years and always buy a business class seat these days, and those are always (or at least usually) only $17 extra each way. Checking prices on the Wolverine to Detroit the business class price seems to often be much, much higher than the coach fare ($104 compared to $34). I'm assuming the business class is no different than the other IL trains business class so I know what I'm paying for.

I guess the question is do you think it is worth it over coach? I've never been on the Wolverine so I don't know how crowded/crazy the coach cars generally get. Would I be able to convince my potential new employer that it was worth the extra cost? And why? I don't want to spend all my negotiating capital on something that might not be worth it, so I'm looking for opinions from people who've taken both classes before.
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
Honestly, I would just take coach. The Wolverine has Quiet Cars now, so you can hide in there if you get the crazy weekend travelers. :)
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
No, I'm not looking for a general discussion about business class, like I said, I've been on business class many times on other routes and know what to expect. My question is specific to the route and if coach class is crowded/crazy enough to spend an extra $70 for business class.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Honestly, I would just take coach. The Wolverine has Quiet Cars now, so you can hide in there if you get the crazy weekend travelers. :)
Thanks, this is the kind of opinion I'm looking for. It is likely I'll be traveling on weekends often (Fri to Detroit, Sat or Sun back to Chicago).
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
Honestly, I would just take coach. The Wolverine has Quiet Cars now, so you can hide in there if you get the crazy weekend travelers. :)
Thanks, this is the kind of opinion I'm looking for. It is likely I'll be traveling on weekends often (Fri to Detroit, Sat or Sun back to Chicago).
In that case, I would say BC might be worth it. You'd get to use the Metropolitan Lounge when leaving Chicago Friday night, which means you'll board before the herd/stampede. It also guarantees you a nice seat, and you'll get a free drink. It's just like the BC cars you're used to. The Michigan trains have wi-fi now too. :)

The cost is a bit prohibitive, but I do love avoiding that stampede in Chicago.

As for going back to Chicago, you won't have the "herd" syndrome leaving from Detroit, so you might do Coach for that portion. The Quiet Car stays pretty empty on weekends since it's mostly students and families traveling back and forth, and they like to socialize. You should be able to find a seat in the Quiet Car right out of Detroit, and it'll stay pretty empty all the way back to Chicago.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Honestly, I would just take coach. The Wolverine has Quiet Cars now, so you can hide in there if you get the crazy weekend travelers. :)
Thanks, this is the kind of opinion I'm looking for. It is likely I'll be traveling on weekends often (Fri to Detroit, Sat or Sun back to Chicago).
In that case, I would say BC might be worth it. You'd get to use the Metropolitan Lounge when leaving Chicago Friday night, which means you'll board before the herd/stampede. It also guarantees you a nice seat, and you'll get a free drink. It's just like the BC cars you're used to. The Michigan trains have wi-fi now too. :)

The cost is a bit prohibitive, but I do love avoiding that stampede in Chicago.

As for going back to Chicago, you won't have the "herd" syndrome leaving from Detroit, so you might do Coach for that portion. The Quiet Car stays pretty empty on weekends since it's mostly students and families traveling back and forth, and they like to socialize. You should be able to find a seat in the Quiet Car right out of Detroit, and it'll stay pretty empty all the way back to Chicago.
Good to know. Yeah, skipping the herd in Chicago is my #1 reason for business class. Many times when I take the Zephyr/Sandburg to Macomb I've ended up sitting at a table in the cafe the whole trip just a few feet from my business class seat, but still was worth it for the boarding in Chicago.

I forgot that business class could use the Metropolitan Lounge. I haven't gone in there in years. I never liked it because there was no bar. Still the case? Unless it's changed in the last few years I never saw the big deal about the lounge unless you needed to store your bags with a redcap.
 
D

darinpf1

Guest
I was going to say the same thing. I go from Detroit to Chicago on business a couple times per month and like the BC purely to avoid the Chicago station craziness. Sit in the lounge and get escorted to the front of the line (though I always feel guilty) and then enjoy a quiet BC car for your trip as most are working or sleeping...
 

Zach

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 30, 2013
Messages
31
Honestly, I would just take coach. The Wolverine has Quiet Cars now, so you can hide in there if you get the crazy weekend travelers. :)
Thanks, this is the kind of opinion I'm looking for. It is likely I'll be traveling on weekends often (Fri to Detroit, Sat or Sun back to Chicago).
In that case, I would say BC might be worth it. You'd get to use the Metropolitan Lounge when leaving Chicago Friday night, which means you'll board before the herd/stampede. It also guarantees you a nice seat, and you'll get a free drink. It's just like the BC cars you're used to. The Michigan trains have wi-fi now too. :)

The cost is a bit prohibitive, but I do love avoiding that stampede in Chicago.

As for going back to Chicago, you won't have the "herd" syndrome leaving from Detroit, so you might do Coach for that portion. The Quiet Car stays pretty empty on weekends since it's mostly students and families traveling back and forth, and they like to socialize. You should be able to find a seat in the Quiet Car right out of Detroit, and it'll stay pretty empty all the way back to Chicago.
Sarah, is the wifi active now? I noticed the wifi symbol on booking the other day....it wasn't there when I booked it a month ago.
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
The Metropolitan Lounge doesn't have a bar (that would be awesome!), but I like it because it's quiet and comfortable. Plus, they have wi-fi, and you do get free drinks and snacks. The bathroom is clean too. Also, now they have the escorted walk to BC, ahead of the coach travelers, so that's nice too. I really like that BC can use the lounge now.
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
Sarah, is the wifi active now? I noticed the wifi symbol on booking the other day....it wasn't there when I booked it a month ago.
Yes. I believe they implemented wi-fi on all of the trains as of 2-3 weeks ago. Maybe it was the end of January. Regardless, yes, they have wi-fi. :)
 

kbmiflyer

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Messages
137
In that case, I would say BC might be worth it. You'd get to use the Metropolitan Lounge when leaving Chicago Friday night, which means you'll board before the herd/stampede.
This to me makes it worth it. As others have said, coach boarding at Union Station is just insane. I usually buy coach going into Chicago, and business going home for just this reason. The nice seat and other minor perks are just a bonus.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
The Metropolitan Lounge doesn't have a bar (that would be awesome!), but I like it because it's quiet and comfortable. Plus, they have wi-fi, and you do get free drinks and snacks. The bathroom is clean too. Also, now they have the escorted walk to BC, ahead of the coach travelers, so that's nice too. I really like that BC can use the lounge now.
I guess I didn't know business class could use it now, I've only gone in there when I'm going by sleeper. I suppose I could go buy a drink at the bar and take it up with me. I didn't know they were escorting business class now (Amtrak does an awful job explaining how boarding works for sleeper/business/first and you usually only know if you are an experienced train rider. I've just always walked up right as they are about to board coach and flashed my business class ticket and pass the line.
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,325
Location
KAL
The Metropolitan Lounge doesn't have a bar (that would be awesome!), but I like it because it's quiet and comfortable. Plus, they have wi-fi, and you do get free drinks and snacks. The bathroom is clean too. Also, now they have the escorted walk to BC, ahead of the coach travelers, so that's nice too. I really like that BC can use the lounge now.
I guess I didn't know business class could use it now, I've only gone in there when I'm going by sleeper. I suppose I could go buy a drink at the bar and take it up with me. I didn't know they were escorting business class now (Amtrak does an awful job explaining how boarding works for sleeper/business/first and you usually only know if you are an experienced train rider. I've just always walked up right as they are about to board coach and flashed my business class ticket and pass the line.
It's a recent change. I think it started last summer or fall. :) The counter ladies will announce the Wolverine and have BC line up at the door, just like the sleepers do.
 
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pere_michel

Guest
The Wolverine can get really crowded on the weekends too. More so than the Illinois services, I think. At the very least, if you take yearly ridership per run, the Wolverine has more people than the Carl Sandburg/IL Zephyr, Hiawatha, and the Lincoln Service. The DET/ARB cars can get especially crowded.
 

Deni

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
303
Good info, thanks everyone. I think I'll try to stick to business class. Most employers expect that you'll fly anyway so still cheaper than doing that, especially since I'll have no cab fares on either end with the train.
 
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