RailForum.com
TrainWeb.com

RAILforum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | directory login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Business Class for the Coast Starlight

   
Author Topic: Business Class for the Coast Starlight
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
According to an article in the March issue of TRAINS magazine, the Coast Starlight will offer business class sometime in mid-2015.

The business class passenger will have access to the Pacific Parlor Car, Wi-Fi, a special food coupon, and an attendant just for BC.

The same TRAINS article mentions that the Downeaster business class charges a $9 surcharge for 1-2 seating and a newspaper. The $9 surcharge brings in around $300,000 per year and greatly reduces food service loses. I think the concept should be applied to other Amtrak trains.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Richard, the operative wording within the noted article has got to be "may". Unless there is a later source to cite, it is presently "California dreamin'"

But the article certainly suggests the premium services pay their way.

Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The article states that 12 business class seats have already been installed in a Los Angeles shop, although just 12 seats do not seem enough. They say the BC will be "another variation" but the article doesn't disclose what they mean by that.

Originally, they were going to install the BC seats in the old (downstairs) arcade (or theater) area. No word if that's the case or if it will be a separate car.

I copied the following from another forum, which, in turn, is supposedly direct from Amtrak:

********************************************

Service will be marketed as Coast Starlight Business Class in order to use existing ticketing and available designations. If successful, the possibility exists for a re-branding of this service as a Premium Coach or other designation at a later date. Service features include:


• Continued use of the upgraded coach pillow with the addition of a complimentary blanket.


• A Food credit voucher usable in dining car at a designated minimum amount of $5 per meal based on length of trip and resulting number of meals.


• Invitation to the wine and cheese tasting in the Pacific Parlour Car.


• Access to Pacific Parlour Car movie theatre.


• 2x2 Leather seating based upon the Acela Business Class seat.


• Exclusive access to the seating area with door marked for “Business Class only”.


• Train attendant assigned exclusive to the car. (Currently the Starlight train attendant (TA) staffing calls for 2 TAs for 3 cars and 3 TAs for 4 cars. The TA with a single car assignment will be responsible for the car containing the Coast Starlight Business Class accommodations.)


• Child fares are to be offered consistent with existing Surfliner Business Class revenue.


• Overall revenue structure between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo and Seattle and
Eugene will be fully complementary with existing Business Class offerings.

*****************************************
Well, we shall see what we shall see.

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jp1822
Full Member
Member # 2596

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for jp1822     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by yukon11:
According to an article in the March issue of TRAINS magazine, the Coast Starlight will offer business class sometime in mid-2015.

The business class passenger will have access to the Pacific Parlor Car, Wi-Fi, a special food coupon, and an attendant just for BC.

The same TRAINS article mentions that the Downeaster business class charges a $9 surcharge for 1-2 seating and a newspaper. The $9 surcharge brings in around $300,000 per year and greatly reduces food service loses. I think the concept should be applied to other Amtrak trains.

Richard

If this was truly the case then perhaps the long distance day trains and other corridor trains should have this premium service. However, last time I checked, you paid an extra $20 to $50 for business class and barely got a newspaper, let alone leather seating and 2-1 seating like on the Downeaster business class. Recall Amtrak had "custom" class on not only the NEC, but Empire and other corridors. All dropped the amenities but price seemed to stay the same.....

However, I do think Amtrak is missing a premium market on the corridor and day trains.....

Posts: 335 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I took a Cascades trip to Portland last week and Business Class was sold out in both directions. If Amtrak offers a BC product on the Starlight that provides access to the PPC and a meal coupon, I'd be willing to consider buying a ticket. I don't need a special BC attendant--the PPC attendant will be fine. Wine & Cheese tasting isn't my cup of tea, but I'm sure it would be a nice add-on for many passengers. I think BC on the Starlight would be very popular.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PullmanCo
Full Member
Member # 1138

Icon 1 posted      Profile for PullmanCo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Business Class is the old concept of a Parlor Car. In other words, it's daytime first class travel.

I would observe that being useful Seattle to Portland on Day 1, Sacramento - Oakland on Day 2, and Santa Barbara to LAUPT on Day 2.

While I like traditional Heywood-Wakefield seating for coach and parlor cars, I've never been fond of it for overnight travel...

Posts: 1392 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Amtrak has announced Business Class travel on the Coast Starlight, as a pilot project from 6/23 through 9/30 of this year. Amtrak will use their video arcade area for BC seating.

It will include use of the Metropolitan Lounge in LA and Portland. Also, access to the Pacific Parlour Car. Included is wine tasting for an additional $7.50.

Hope it's a success.

http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/907/753/Amtrak-Coast-Starlight-Business-Class-Pilot-ATK-15-032%20.pdf

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First, allow me to acknowledge I was mistaken about this initiative, so I say good luck. This clearly represents the first initiative by Amtrak to offer an additional premium service in "many a moon".

It would appear that this service could come under the Micascope, but I'd like to think that Amtrak has weighed that possibility.

Apparently, Amtrak will offer this service between any two stations on the route. That means something resembling sleep is available for a passenger traveling, say, Chico-Klamath Falls. Apparently, Amtrak will sell the Business Class for a "bumper to tunnel" trip.

Of historical interest; CB&Q would sell a Parlor Car seat Chicago-Denver on the Zephyr. However, the IC would not sell same Chi-NO on the Panama.

Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
Full Member
Member # 4344

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for palmland     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Glad Amtrak is showing some initiative with this effort. But, according to a report over on Train Orders no real change to the seating, just coach seats, with a portable wifi set up. The $6 food coupon about covered the cost of the $8 up grade cost. Passenger had access to the Parlour car, but only for wine tasting. Sounds like a good idea but done on the cheap.

While I would not be happy about that if I bought the upgrade, as a sleeper passenger I can only say, good. Seating in the parlor, especially in the comfortable swivel chairs is often at capacity and reservation in the limited parlor car seating for meals is already very limited.

GBN, I didn't realize the Panama had, at one time, a parlor car the whole route. In our 1964 trip it was added at Carbondale and I remember walking through it to the observation, it was very full. Unlike Amtrak, IC knew had to switch cars! Our Memphis sleeper had been added in the scheduled 10 minutes that included setting over the observation to do so.

Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Mr. Palmland, on the Panama during that era when I was in Champaign (and Kam's saw a little less of me so I could save up my $$$ to ride the Panama Parlor), the "straight" Parlor in its Mardi Gras motif, operated Carbondale Chi. Seats were sold in the Obs NO-Memphis.

Regarding your comments about IC switching, the NB Panama #6, had a Sleeper added at Jackson, the noted Memphis line, a St Louis line cut at Carbondale and the Parlor added. Having ridden the Memphis line myself during 1962, I never felt the switch, woke up to Southern Illinois at 100mph.

Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
Full Member
Member # 1541

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Gilbert B Norman     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Continuing with thoughts regarding this "Business Class", and for that matter any Amtrak service without a clear product differentation, any passenger who has flown (probably 95%), would feel quite ripped off. All too many routes, it is simply Coach, and that certainly includes Acela.

Air travelers associate overseas Business Class with a level of service found on Domestic/Internal First. Economy Plus, or whatever each airline calls it, is a little more on the mark.

Amtrak is pretty good at dreaming names for services, such as Cross Country Cafe, and I would think that truth in advertising for a Coach Plus service would compel them to do such. The brand of Business Class should be limited to where Amtrak can offer an enhanced day travel service starting with the 2-1 Club seats.

Posts: 9389 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geoff Mayo
Full Member
Member # 153

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Geoff Mayo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Economy Comfort/Plus/Enhanced is, as the name implies, just slightly better economy class. Usually better seating pitch (maybe 34" vs 31"), sometimes slightly wider seats, or only 2 out of every triplet allocated. Maybe an extra dinner choice, or simply first choice before the rest at the back get their choice.

Business class, on the other hand, is usually significantly better than the economy classes. The only times I've had business class is when I've been upgraded for free, plus a round trip LGW-HKG on the now defunct equivalent of Freddie Laker whose name I forget. In any case, the range of service has varied enormously - from Gulf Air's "nice except a load of stuff is old/broken", to British Airway's "service with a snarl" (and no we can't get you an economy meal just because you don't like our choice of green salad with vinagraitte dressing), to good quality steaks and incredible service - oops, that was Singapore Airlines' economy class.

--------------------
Geoff M.

Posts: 2426 | From: Apple Valley, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
yukon11
Full Member
Member # 2997

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for yukon11     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE]Originally posted by palmland:
[QB] "Passenger had access to the Parlour car, but only for wine tasting."

*********************************
I wonder, Mr. Palmland, how they will enforce that? Will business class and passengers with sleepers be given some sort of color-coded Parlour Car pass? One color for sleeping car passengers and another color for BC?

Richard

Posts: 1790 | From: Santa Rosa | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
Full Member
Member # 15447

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted      Profile for Vincent206     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
On the Coast Starlight, you'll also get two bottles of water and a $6.00 food and beverage coupon you can use to enjoy a meal or snack in the Diner, Lounge or Parlour Car. You'll have access to the Parlour Car to enjoy the popular wine tastings, for a small fee. When it's time to get back to business, stay connected with free Wi-Fi access.
For a trip between Seattle and Portland the Business Class supplement on the Coast Starlight appears to be $19 over the coach fare (subject to variations due to the dynamic pricing of coach seats). So with the 2 bottles of water and meal credit, the out-of-pocket additional expense would be about $10. The wine tastings occur between Portland and Eugene, so that's a non-factor for a SEA-PDX traveler. If there's no access to the Parlour Car outside of meal/snack time I think I would prefer to travel in a Talgo Business Class car over a Superliner Business Class car.
Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Home Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2




Copyright © 2007-2016 TrainWeb, Inc. Top of Page|TrainWeb|About Us|Advertise With Us|Contact Us