I just completed my first roundtrip on Amtrak’s Acela service. It was a short-haul trip from Washington, D.C.’s Union Station to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and return. This was a Monday out, Friday return trip. As I stated in my previous post, I was extremely pleased with the service offered. Acela is fast and comfortable. The seats are wide and comfortable with plenty of pitch. In fact, Amtrak’s website states that the seat pitch in Business Class (the minimum class of service on Acela) is a generous 42 inches! Amtrak offers First Class service on Acela as well, but I didn’t try that on the company dime. I just may on my own time at some point in the future though.

Just a suggestion to make life easier…. If you’re buying your tickets from Amtrak online, buy your outbound as a one-way, and your return as another one-way in a separate transaction. Doing so will allow you to obtain just your outbound ticket on your departure from one of Amtrak’s Quik-Trak ticket machines, and then you’ll retrieve your return ticket on the day of your return. Why is this important? Buying 2 one-ways in advance as opposed to a single roundtrip will allow you to change trains without seeing an agent. You’ll simply pick up your outbound ticket on departure, and your return ticket on the way home. Amtrak’s Quik-Trak machines allow you to change trains prior to spitting out your ticket, and this is the way to go if at all possible. Buying roundtrip travel in advance will produce both your outbound and return tickets at your first check-in. And having your return ticket in hand will force you to visit an agent on your return if you finish business early and would like to catch an earlier train. Based on my experience at Amtrak’s ticket window in Philadelphia yesterday, the line was very long, and might force you may miss your opportunity to catch an earlier train while you’re waiting in line.