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Considering Amtrak Coast Starlight for future SJC-LAX-SJC trips

Considering Amtrak Coast Starlight for future SJC-LAX-SJC trips

Old Nov 19, 22, 11:53 pm
  #1  
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Considering Amtrak Coast Starlight for future SJC-LAX-SJC trips

I am seriously considering taking the Amtrak Coast Starlight in Business Class r/t for future trips to Los Angeles from San Jose to see my Grandfather.

With Alska Airlines eliminating lounge access for First Class and I can eaisly get a $160 r/t give or take Amtrak Business Class trip booked in advance here are the reasons for me wanting to use Amtrak.

I am fully aware of the delays!

#1. Amtrak Offers a 39 Seat Pitch and 23 Seat width in a dedicated Business Class Car.

#2 I can take two free checked bags plus 2 free carryons. Even if Business Class was Full I wuld gladly take Coach and enjoy the Sightseer Lounge.

#3 No TSA security screening. I can arrive SJC 50 minutes before the train to check luggage.

#4 Lounge Access at Union Station on Day of Travel whether arriving or departing.

#6 The potential of us being allowed to eat in the Diner Car or at the very least eating int he Cafe Car with reasonably priced food.

#6 Taking Lyft from Union Station to West LA may be a bit further but a small price to pay.

#7 Good Guest Rewards and US based Call Center

#8 Flexible Cancellation Policy for Business Class tickets plus 25 percent bonus on AGR.

Thoughts?
danielonn is online now  
Old Nov 20, 22, 12:28 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by danielonn View Post
I am seriously considering taking the Amtrak Coast Starlight in Business Class r/t for future trips to Los Angeles from San Jose to see my Grandfather.

With Alska Airlines eliminating lounge access for First Class and I can eaisly get a $160 r/t give or take Amtrak Business Class trip booked in advance here are the reasons for me wanting to use Amtrak.

I am fully aware of the delays!

#1. Amtrak Offers a 39 Seat Pitch and 23 Seat width in a dedicated Business Class Car.

Yes. But that seat pitch is a lot more important when you're on a 10-hour-and-45-minute train ride than when you're on a 90-minute flight.

#2 I can take two free checked bags plus 2 free carryons. Even if Business Class was Full I wuld gladly take Coach and enjoy the Sightseer Lounge.

True. But do you plan to check two bags and bring two carry-ons on such a trip? Do you have any elite status in any oneworld FFP that would entitled you to free checked baggage on AS?

#3 No TSA security screening. I can arrive SJC 50 minutes before the train to check luggage.

A definite advantage. What's AS' cut-off time for checking domestic bags? Do you have TSA Pre-check?

#4 Lounge Access at Union Station on Day of Travel whether arriving or departing.

A definite benefit. Do you have lounge access at SJC Airport through Priority Pass?

#6 The potential of us being allowed to eat in the Diner Car or at the very least eating int he Cafe Car with reasonably priced food.

Is that better than arriving in Los Angeles hours earlier and eating at a decent restaurant?

#6 Taking Lyft from Union Station to West LA may be a bit further but a small price to pay.

That sounds like a minor consideration.

#7 Good Guest Rewards and US based Call Center
True. Is AS' call center not US-based these days?

#8 Flexible Cancellation Policy for Business Class tickets plus 25 percent bonus on AGR.

OK.

Thoughts?
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Old Nov 20, 22, 8:29 pm
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Downsides of Amtrak, as someone who flies a 600 mile round trip each week, tried Amtrak for some of those trips (in a sleeping car) and decided that flying is better.

1. More nasty crew members than airlines have. The onboard crew quality varies much more than airline crews, and shocking nastiness and hostility happens on Amtrak. This is the main reason why I switched back to flying.

2. Only one train per day. If your flight is delayed (other than for weather), you just switch to another one. Not so on Amtraks long-distance routes.

3. Ratty equipment. I paid $370 for a first class space on Amtrak (a roomette) and expected more than a rattling room, duct-taped together (by Amtrak).

Other than for upgrades, Amtraks Guest Rewards and lounge access rules are better than legacy airlines programs and rules.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 8:02 pm
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Amtrak is really a three-tier operation.

There's Acela.

Then there's the NE Regional trains, which are a half-hour or more longer (WAS-NYP) but not that far from Acela in quality -- in fact the business class seats on NE Regional have *more* leg room than do the regular seats on Acela.

Finally, there are all the other Amtrak trains everywhere else in the country. The last category is, unfortunately, a crap shoot at best, and India Railroads third class at its worst!
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Old Nov 21, 22, 8:34 pm
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I would say give it a shot and see if it works for you.

There are certainly lots of folks who are regularly taking the train between SoCal and the Bay Area.

If you think it works for you I would encourage you to give it a shot, and see if it meets your travel needs.

I also find that my best Amtrak trips are one where I am not in a hurry to be in one place or another. I am taking the train for the sake of taking the train, vs a shot at straight A to B transportation. Sure, sometimes things don't go well, and there is certainly no white glove service to be found. That being said I still enjoy the ride for what it is.

Take the train a couple times, and see if it meets your needs. If it does then keep on using Amtrak for the trips. If not, there are a lot of options for traveling within California. Find the one that best fits what you are looking for.
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Old Nov 22, 22, 2:15 am
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Originally Posted by Long Train Runnin View Post
I would say give it a shot and see if it works for you.

There are certainly lots of folks who are regularly taking the train between SoCal and the Bay Area.

If you think it works for you I would encourage you to give it a shot, and see if it meets your travel needs.

I also find that my best Amtrak trips are one where I am not in a hurry to be in one place or another. I am taking the train for the sake of taking the train, vs a shot at straight A to B transportation. Sure, sometimes things don't go well, and there is certainly no white glove service to be found. That being said I still enjoy the ride for what it is.

Take the train a couple times, and see if it meets your needs. If it does then keep on using Amtrak for the trips. If not, there are a lot of options for traveling within California. Find the one that best fits what you are looking for.
Thanks! Also I just looked over an Amtrak trip I took in 2007 and 2009 and the prices were around the same I paid today for a SJC&LMY rt.
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Old Nov 22, 22, 9:50 pm
  #7  
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Speaking of Business Class on this route... over on the Amtrak Facebook pages I read (IIRC) that Business Class is going away early in 2023.

I booked a Roomette from the Bay area to LAX in late winter.

dh
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Old Nov 30, 22, 12:43 pm
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SJC-LAX in-flight duration is 52 minutes. If the purpose is getting from origin to destination, as opposed to intentionally experiencing a 10+ hour train ride, it seems beyond absurd to take the train.
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