I’m on my first train ride of my adult life…right now. Actually, the train hasn’t even started moving. As a (ashamed) fairly frequent flier, I’m used to airplanes. And, somehow, I thought they were simply the best way to cover long distances.
But I’ve been on this train for less than 10 minutes and I’ve already spotted about 20 things that make this a much more pleasant experience than flying.
- No wait, no security. Amtrak asks passengers to be at the train 30 minutes before departure. If you show up a little late, you simply walk straight on the train and find a seat that looks good to you.
- If you want to pee, go pee.. There’s never a time on a train when you can’t stand up and do whatever you want. And that includes having a nice lunch in the dining car, which is what I’m going to go do now.
- The seats ACTUALLY RECLINE! Instead of the 1.5 inches if lean that the little silver button will give you on a plane, Amtrak’s big black button gives a recline of about eight inches. I could actually sleep in this chair! If I wasn’t so excited about how much it reclines.
- PLUGS! Some planes are starting to finally provide power jacks so we can keep charged through long flights. But all Amtrak trains have three-pronged jacks to keep you electrified throughout your journey.
- No NAGGING: It’s a frikkin pleasure not having someone bug me about my seatback and tray tables and whether my electronic device is approved for that particular segment of the trip. And no seatbelts at all! Whether or not that’s technically safe, it’s certainly more comfortable.
- Legroom: As a six foot plus guy, I notice a couple extra inches here. And it’s nice.
- No beverage cart slamming into your knees and elbows. The beverage cart on a plane absolutely ensures that you never ever ever put any piece of your body into the aisle. Well, the train aisle is considerably wider, for one, and the cart is nonexistent.
- Treats: If you happen to want a cheese danish on an airplane, you’re out of luck. Not here my friends…and the cost of said treats is much more modest than the $5 you’ll pay for a snack pack on American Airlines filled with crap you probably don’t even want.
- You handle your baggage. If you lose your bags on a train, it’s your fault. There’s no waiting at the baggage claim and no worrying about how the baggage handlers (or TSA) will treat your bags.
And all of the additional, everyday benefits remain. It’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly, you can use cell phones and there are even some cars with beds.
I'll be excitedly posting this as soon as I have internet (the one complaint I have is that there's no internet on this train) but otherwise, this is an excellent and pleasant way to travel.