Scott Mayerowitz wishes for a better Amtrak experience in the Northeast corridor.
Here are his complaints.
- Slow internet connectivity. I don’t need wireless internet flying US Airways between Washington National and LaGuardia or Boston (though they have it, and paying for monthly unlimited inflight internet anyway I use it). But on a two and a half hour train ride in the middle of the business day it’s much more important. I usually use my own wireless solution, because Amtrak’s is unreliable.
- No advance seat assignments. Amtrak didn’t used to require advance reservations at all for some trains, now even regional trains require that. But advance reservations don’t mean seat assignments, and during peak times you have to sprint, bribe, or access the train via Amtrak’s lounge to get seats together if traveling as a couple.
- The food is awful. Scott actually says “could use some improvement” but the truth is far harsher. Still, as US Airways elite frequent flyers know, two and a half hour trips do not require meals. So this concern is minor.
- Conductors don’t enforce quiet in the quiet car.
Since I don’t start off in downtown DC (I live and work in Arlington) I don’t find the train to be more convenient than flying. There are plenty of people who swear by downtown-to-downtown. Goodness knows the seven most frustrating words in the English language have to be, “We’re currently number thirty seven for takeoff.”
The Amtrak experience could be better — and that could bring over incremental business travel away from the airlines, and so improvements could even help the railway’s bottom-line.
How would you improve the Amtrak experience?