WAS Priority Boarding

Old Oct 14, 18, 7:01 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 34
WAS Priority Boarding

Wow, what mess. Travel to DC very rarely. Made the mistake of taking the Palmetto from DC to PHL so could not board from the Acela Club.

There is no designated line for priority and the gate agent showed absolutely no interest in making sure which people should be boarding first. So you end up with an irritable mob trying to force its way into the platform in no particular order.

Other than avoiding the tourist trains from the south, any suggestions for the next time I have to go in an out of Washington?

DailyGrind is offline  
Old Oct 14, 18, 9:00 pm
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 184
I actually boarded from WAS for the first time ever a week ago and it was fine. I arrived too close to boarding time to go to Club Acela but there was definitely a separate priority boarding line and I joined it and flashed my membership card at the rep at the front as I walked by her. Not sure why this wan't the case for you but I am curious which of us had the more typical experience.
musicalbox is offline  
Old Oct 15, 18, 5:53 am
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I take the train from Washington to Richmond almost every Sunday, and only occasionally do they observe priority boarding. They usually just throw open the doors and allow all passengers to board.
14940674 is offline  
Old Oct 15, 18, 11:59 am
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Priority Boarding? It's a big joke at Boston. The worst is when they announce priority boarding and then a million people queue up on the platform and they don't allow them onto the train.
hi55us is offline  
Old Oct 16, 18, 12:42 pm
Join Date: Apr 2015
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So, here's the deal at WAS. There *used* to be a specific line for priority. But, supposedly, the new CEO of Amtrak decided it was a good idea to get rid of that, and all ropes in the waiting area. Not sure why. Because it is one...hot...mess now. The regulars know that they still have priority boarding for some trains, but I suspect that has something to do with the agents knowing that this works better anyway. I did mis-speak. There is one rope in the waiting area, and priority folks who KNOW line up on one side of this. But there are no signs like there used to be. You just have to know.

Last time I was boarding a train there (about three weeks ago), the folks came out of the lounge and had to sort of work their way over to the other side of the room because they lined all the priority folks up on the other side.

Conversely, the last three years I was there every week, and they had ropes, and everything worked just fine. Don't know what the genius was that led to that decision. I also have noticed that there are no places to sit in the main station anymore.

While I'm on my rant, the club is pretty darn disgusting. I especially like the mouse traps hiding behind all the sofas and the rips in the carpet.
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Old Nov 11, 18, 11:51 am
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Welcome to WAS. It's a lawless land. If you care where you sit, you have to get there about 30 minutes early and just be at the front of the mob standing at the gate. Or bribe a redcap.
EnvoyBoy is offline  
Old Nov 14, 18, 6:01 pm
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I don't travel in NEC very often, but was in WAS recently to board a corridor train. I was sitting in the waiting area and got in the line as it started to form. The line was somewhat organized until the boarding process began and many people started cutting the line when the 'preferred' boarding was announced. Attendants seemed to not be checking to see status, but I assumed people met the qualifications. On the plus side, I learned that 'seniors' can board early and I now qualify. Do many other stations allow the early boarding for seniors? I'm typically on a sleeper when boarding from other stations.
Armani is offline  
Old Nov 26, 18, 12:41 pm
Join Date: May 2017
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Originally Posted by DailyGrind View Post
Other than avoiding the tourist trains from the south, any suggestions for the next time I have to go in an out of Washington?
Yes, when boarding the train, find a redcap who will let you on early. I would tell them I needed "help" with my messenger bag (and tip them the same as if I'd asked for help with an enormous suitcase).
TribalistMeathead is offline  
Old Dec 1, 18, 6:17 pm
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Washington DC
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Long article in the Washington Post about the general chaos of boarding at WAS (with NYP a close second) and an unconvincing explanation for why passengers can't wait on the platform (as at PHL, Wilmington, etc.) for the train.
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AndyPatterson is offline  
Old Dec 1, 18, 9:02 pm
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Wow, that explanation is really lame. But I do know the guy they quoted, so that was fun.
musicalbox is offline  
Old Feb 8, 19, 1:08 pm
Join Date: Apr 2015
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So, here's the deal. I was in WAS yesterday, and

THE ROPES ARE BACK! (OK, they're not ropes anymore, but those poles with the retractable belt type things).

I don't know how long they've been back, I haven't done the weekly travel thing for a while now.

Everyone stood around waiting to see which gate the train was leaving from (I was sitting, because I know), at Gate D, and when they announced my train was leaving from that gate, everyone, nicely (as nice as those things usually are), filed into the cattle roped off system, I walked over to the priority line, everything was marked, and as far as I could tell, everything went very smoothly. I looked down at other gates, and the ropes were there too. Some of the seats at the gate looked new, like they replaced them recently, but there is still a big open area where seats used to be but are no longer. I don't know how the Acela club people fared, but there were a lot of people that seemed to be "pre-boarding" along with the Red Cap folks. Maybe they were club folks.

Contrast this to a few months ago, where there were no lines, and everyone just smushed through the doors, causing, IMO, a danger of people getting crushed.

Why they ever got rid of this, I'll never, know. I hope their decision to bring it back sticks.

And, now, if they can just bring back the seating in the main station, everything will be back to normal.
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Old Feb 19, 19, 1:02 pm
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I took the 1:25 pm NE Regional yesterday. I arrived at Union Station around 12:45 pm and they already had posted Gate H for the departure. I walked over and noted that there was a queue that already was about 40 people long, they were in the general boarding lane. There was a priority boarding lane and +1 and I were the first ones in it. An agent came out and made a pre-boarding announcement and general policing of the lanes about 12:55 pm and commenced boarding at 1:05 pm with priority first.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Feb 19, 19 at 1:30 pm
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