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Acela Express

Edmonton, Canada
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Acela Express

I posted this question in the NYC forum, and most did not recommend getting 1st class tickets, saying "1st class Amtrak is still Amtrak". I guess its the ol' lipstick on a pig thing. But we are from Canada, and only train experience is in Europe, and we always preferred 1st class seating for many reasons.

What is everyone's thoughts?

Do you know if the 1st class tickets are reserved seating? I have heard that business class is first come first seate?

Looking in getting 1st class tickets for the Acela Express from NYC to Boston. Is 1st class much better then Business on this train? Does one get an option of which seats in 1st class - ie. will we be 1 seat facing another - or 2 seats facing same direction, etc.

Thanks in advance!

Boston
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1. Re: Acela Express

1st class is better than business class on the Acela. By the way the Acela trains are only 1st class or business. In first class drinks and a meal is included in your ticket and is delivered to your seat. Your attendant will also serve you alcohol for an additional charge. First class also will allow you to use the Acela club lounge at Boston's South Station and New York Penn. station.

Saying all of that the Acela is not worth the price either business or first class. I travel quite a bit by train in Northeast and I usually take the regional trains. It is half the price of the Acela for about 30 minutes more of traveling time.

Acela does have WiFi now which does give it an edge but the regional trains will be getting WiFi as well.

Boston, MA
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for Boston
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2. Re: Acela Express

But the question that needs to be answered: Is there ANY amtrak train/class that gives you a reserved seat (like on an airplane)?

The OP is asking because of something I posted on the NY forum. I used to work right next South Station and have always wanted to ride the Acela, since it was first introduced ... just because.

SO ... in April my family took a trip to NY and as a b-day present to me we came home via Acela. We travelled business class. Boarding at Penn station was a bit of free-for-all. I was w/ 2 young teens and my husband who has some issues with walking quickly due due to a car accident a few years ago. We could not 'race' with the rest of the crowd. It was quite the mad dash once the train was announced ... the train originated in DC and we could not find 2 seats together, let alone 4. In the NY forum, the original poster mentioned he and his wife want to sit together and he is looking for a type of guarantee that this will happen by booking some sort of ticket with reserved seating.

Does such a ticket exist? I've looked around the Amtrak website and cannot find any information about that ...

Edited: 21 June 2010, 21:35
Boston
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3. Re: Acela Express

There is no assigned seating on Amtrak Northeast. Acela First class has less seats, 2 on one side and 1 on the the other. If you ask nicely people will move. I often have seen people sitting across from each other. Whenever I have ridden Acela with my wife we have always sat together. I get the train in Westwood, MA south of Boston, so if I can get two seats together there I don't see a problem at South Station. First Class might be a problem only because there are less seats but if you politely ask someone to move I don't think you will have a problem.

The regional trains are less crowded and less money. In fact they always leave a group of four seats facing each other on each car reserved for families or groups of four. I have traveled the regional dozen times or more out of Westwood, MA with my family of six and again we all sat next to each other.

First class verses Business class on Acela is about $70. The seats are bigger, leather and more comfortable. The hot meals are good, served at your seats and the service is excellent. The atmosphere is a little loud and many people can be seen sharing a bottle of wine. Is it worth $70 more? Maybe one time. But....the Acela is not worth the more than double price of the regional train. In fact on the regional you can go to the cafe car order a bottle of wine and a cheese and cracker tray and see all the same scenery for 1/2 the price of the Acela. Granted the food is a lot better on the Acela the seat is more comfortable and the service is excellent.

Boston, MA
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4. Re: Acela Express

How easy is it to get seats together when you board in NY/Penn Station and travel to Boston?

Boston
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5. Re: Acela Express

Boarding at NY Penn station and sitting next to your companion depends on what train you are taking. Acela or regional. On the regional I have never had a problem. Either with my wife or my entire family of six. The Acela worse case you will probably end up sitting across the aisle from your companion. It also depends on which train you are taking. Trains that leave after 3 pm are more crowded and trains that leave before 8 am headed for Boston are more crowded. Also the Acela train thins out quite a bit at New Haven.

Saying all of this I have taken the Acela between New York and Boston at least 8 times with my wife or friends and we have always sat together. I have traveled the Acela alone and have moved so as companions could sit together. This seemed to be a common occurance.

If you really want to remove all doubt all you have to do is arrange for a red cap to take your luggage down to the train. You will be allowed down before the crowd and have your choice of seats. A tip to the redcap is all that is needed.

Boston...
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6. Re: Acela Express

Excellent point about the redcap, BostonTman. We did that the last time we traveled back from NYC and were on the platform waiting for the train as it pulled in from Washington - that made getting seats together much easier. In the past, we ran into the same free-for-all that you mentioned, forgotmypword. Since the train arrives fairly full from DC, it can be a mad scramble at prime travel times to find two seats together.

We always opt for seating in the "quiet car" and enjoy a more peaceful ride than the other cars, where people talk on cell phones all the way from Boston to NYC!

Boston...
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for Killington
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7. Re: Acela Express

forgot, this is news to me. I thought that business class on the regionals, and ALL seats on the Acela, were assigned. No???? Can someone else verify this?

Boston
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85 posts
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8. Re: Acela Express

No assigned seats on the Northeast Corridor. You are only guaranteed a seat if you have business or first class tickets. I have been on regionals around thanksgiving where people had to stand for a stop or two until some seats cleared out.

9. Re: Acela Express

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