Acela First Class Rail Review

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I was on the east coast last week and pressed for time to get to NYC. I felt that heading to the airport, dropping off the rental car, going through security, and waiting for the flight would take too long and cause me to miss my appointment. So I decided to take the Acela train into New York’s Penn Station. The train’s boarding process was lightning fast and the train got me to New York quickly and comfortably.

First Class Seat

I booked a First Class seat on the Aclea train to New York’s Penn Station. The train I selected only had 1 seat left in First Class so I purchased it online at Amtrak’s website. I arrived to the station and printed my ticket through the automated kiosk. I only had 10 minutes to spare before the on-time train arrived into the station. So I headed up to the track and went towards the location where car one would load from.

The train rolled in on schedule and I hopped on board car number one. As expected, there was literally only 1 seat left available on the train in First Class. The only available seat was part of a grouping of four seats. The attendant asked the folks to clear a space and I was seated in my First Class seat. Within a moment my Rail Drink order was taken and delivered.

Acela Drink Service

The train ride passenger load is fluid. Many passengers got off at the first stop and I took the opportunity to move up to a single seat. There are a few options for seating. You can sit alone as I did, in a group of four, or in a group of two seats. The more busy the train is the less options you’ll have.

Acela Seat 1

First Class Dining Service

My train ride was in the evening so I could select a full meal from the afternoon and evening service. I wasn’t hungry, but I couldn’t let a meal go to waste since it came with the price of the fare. I selected the Amtrak signature steak. The actual meal was a surprise and was delivered within 10-15 minutes.

Acela Dinner Menu

If you take morning Acela in First Class, you’ll have your choice from the following Breakfast menu.

Acela Breakfast Menu

The actual meal I ordered was the Amtrak signature steak but the Lasagna roll was delivered instead. It didn’t phase me. I’m not sure how this meal compares with the others on the Acela, but this was a decent option if you are hungry for train food. The best part is the meal came with an un-opened Knob Creek mini bourbon bottle.

Acela Dinner

Bottom Line

The Acela was an efficient way to navigate the eastern corridor. The seats are comfortable, there is wifi onboard, and the service is prompt. But with everything, you’re experience may vary. I understand trains are often delayed and which would take away any time savings of this method over taking the shuttle.

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Hi Jim – Agree, would only sit in 4 seater if I was in a large group. Leg room was really small.

    Hi Mehdi – Journey was about ~2 hours for ~$200+ which I used my Chase Saphire for of course.

  2. Club Acela at Penn station desk workers are unhappy people, rude and speak poorly to guests.
    Seating provisions do not guarantee you can sit with your companion.
    Must often scramble to get seating of your choice.
    Passengers on phones can be loud and a problem. Rules of soft talk and courtesy should b e instituted. Staff working the car could talk softer and set the tone.
    Food served can be remarkedly ok!
    I love the IDEA of taking the train but the experience is riddled with issues.

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