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9 Hours On Via Business Class Or Fly


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#1 seat38a

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 11:42 PM

I'm planning my trip to Canada for the fall. Right now, the plan is to fly into Toronto and take Via all the way to Quebec City spend couple of nights there before picking up a rental car and drive it to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls before flying back from Toronto. It will not be a non stop 9 hours and will require a switch of trains in Ottawa or Montreal. Is 9 hours on the corridor business class comfortable enough or should I fly? Also, between Toronto and Quebec City, how many meals do you get in Business Class? Price for flying and taking Via is roughly the same and time is not an issue. I'm more worried about being stuck in a uncomfortable train for 9+ hours. (Please spare me the indecency, uncivilized of flying etc. etc.)



#2 Anderson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 02:01 AM

I'd vote for VIA BC.  It's roughly on par with Acela First in many respects; I was quite comfortable in BC on a Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto loop a few weeks ago.

 

You'll get two meals (one Toronto-Montreal, the other Montreal-Quebec) unless you route via Ottawa (in which case you'd generally get three).  You also get included wine and mixed drinks, so it's a good package, and VIA's food tends to beat the Amtrak equivalent IMHO.


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#3 zephyr17

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:56 PM

I've taken Via's Business Class between Montreal and Toronto and it is comfortable, the service is good and the meals are fine (not nearly as good as the Canadian's dining car, but okay).  The scenery on that stretch isn't anything to be wowed over, so I wouldn't call that a factor.  Decision point is probably speed versus comfort.

 

I will say one thing, I took the Maple Leaf's business class Toronto to New York on one of my "take the Canadian and go to New York" trips.  The next time I flew.  Had the Maple Leaf's business class been like Via's, I would have taken it again.


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#4 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 03:25 PM

I will say one thing, I took the Maple Leaf's business class Toronto to New York on one of my "take the Canadian and go to New York" trips.  The next time I flew.  Had the Maple Leaf's business class been like Via's, I would have taken it again.

 

Amtrak offers what is probably the single worst example of "business class" I've seen anywhere. Many companies allow for high value employees to avail themselves of business class service when it helps them do more with their available time and arrive in a well rested condition. If Amtrak made business class into a serious offering with well defined benefits, such as installing modern lie-flat seating with proper meals and drinks included, it might sell reasonably well even with a hefty premium.  As business people became accustomed to requesting and using business class on long distance routes a whole new market might open up beyond the entrenched business commuter segment.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 30 March 2017 - 03:35 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#5 Anderson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:17 AM

 

I will say one thing, I took the Maple Leaf's business class Toronto to New York on one of my "take the Canadian and go to New York" trips.  The next time I flew.  Had the Maple Leaf's business class been like Via's, I would have taken it again.

 

Amtrak offers what is probably the single worst example of "business class" I've seen anywhere. Many companies allow for high value employees to avail themselves of business class service when it helps them do more with their available time and arrive in a well rested condition. If Amtrak made business class into a serious offering with well defined benefits, such as installing modern lie-flat seating with proper meals and drinks included, it might sell reasonably well even with a hefty premium.  As business people became accustomed to requesting and using business class on long distance routes a whole new market might open up beyond the entrenched business commuter segment.

 

TBH Amtrak probably needs three classes of service on most trains: Coach-as-we-know-it, a "Coach plus" option along the lines of the current Business Class offering, and finally an improved business class offering.

One example, IMHO, of BC being broken?  25% of the revenue on some of the Virginia Regionals comes from Business Class tickets.  That tells me that Amtrak is clearly missing an "upsell" opportunity since that likely implies that about 15% of tickets are being sold in said class (accounting for the higher fares and presuming that said tickets are longer-distance).  Put another way, if you can sell 62 seats of a mediocre upgrade offering you can probably sell 15 seats of a decent one.


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#6 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:35 AM

I travelled in VIA Business Class from Montreal to Quebec City and return last weekend.

In Montreal, you check in at the Business Class Lounge where coffee, tea, juice and snacks are available.

I was on the at 8:50am train which arrived in Quebec City at noon and service went like this:

First coffee or tea.... then hot towels were distributed.
Breakfast was next about a half-hour out.
An omelette, plus bacon and apple cinnamon waffles, croissant and juice
Breakfast mints

At 11am about an hour from Quebec Citythere was a bar service but this was a bit early for me so I had a cranberry cocktail with snack-mix.

Returning on the evening train a 5:45pm service began with a pass of the bar-cart: I had a beer and pretzels and again, hot towels were distributed

Dinner was next just after departing the suburban Sainte-Foy station:
Roast Pork, potatoes & vegetables
Wine with dinner + a second pass.
Then desert and coffee and a after dinner Chocolate

About an hour from Montreal: another bar service was offered.

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#7 NS VIA Fan

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:55 AM

VIA Business Class is offered on all trains operating in the Quebec City to Windsor corridor except a couple that would be considered commuter type runs.

On some of the busier trains..two business class cars will be operated. And as noted above..Business Class on VIA is an entirely different product tan what Amtrak considers Business Class.

On my trip to Quebec City..the morning train had one of the newly refurbished LRC cars and returning.Renaissance equipment. Both offer two seats on one side of the aisle plus a single seat on the other.

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