Pacific Surfliner recommendations

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Oreius, Mar 7, 2019.

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  1. Mar 7, 2019 #1

    Oreius

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    Oreius

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    Now here’s a different question. I am planning on taking the Pacific Surfliner round trip between Anaheim and San Diego. There are two different seating classes: Coach and Business Class, and I am wondering if Business Class is worth the extra $$$. I’ve never ridden a train in California, so I am starting to plan ahead.
     
  2. Mar 7, 2019 #2

    cpotisch

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    From everything I've heard, Business Class is 100% worth the premium on the Surfliners. Unlike coach, seats are reserved (meaning you are guaranteed one on that train), and have much more legroom. You also get access to the Metropolitan Lounge in LAX, and plenty of complimentary snacks and soft drinks onboard, in addition to one hard drink. Refreshments can be brought to your seat by the attendant.

    So yeah, go for it!
     
  3. Mar 7, 2019 #3

    tricia

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    I've done both and don't feel strongly about the amenities, although I've enjoyed them. What's important to me is snagging an ocean-side seat, and the odds on that might be better in biz class if you're taking a train at a time likely to be crowded.
     
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  4. Mar 8, 2019 #4

    benale

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    Those ocean side seats on business fill up quickly. I boarded at the origin point San Luis Obispo heading to LA today and I got the last of the ocean side seats. BC is worth it. Coffee,orange juice pastries a USA today and more leg room and as mentioned access to the Metropolitan lounge
     
  5. Mar 8, 2019 #5

    TiBike

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    That's my experience too.
     
  6. Mar 8, 2019 #6

    Rasputin

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    We rode the Pacific Surfliner twice last year in coach and were completely satisfied with the experience  - LA to San Diego.  I might try business class sometime but I don't feel it is a necessity.  
     
  7. Mar 8, 2019 #7

    NW cannonball

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    4 years ago I rode LA to SLO business class. It was OK, don't know if it was worth the extra dollars,

    But, it was a great trip. Some surfer in the lounge showed me and somebody's kid  the humpback whale and the whale's  kid. You can see that from coach, BC, whatever, if you lucky.
     
  8. Mar 9, 2019 #8

    cubeguide

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    Business Class is worth it but Coach isn’t that bad either. 
     
  9. Mar 9, 2019 #9

    seat38a

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    Business Class is now 1 and 1/2 cars so your chances for not having a neighbor or getting the ocean view seat has dramatically improved since the half the superliner car isn't sold. Its just used as spare space for BC passengers.
     
  10. Sep 24, 2019 #10

    jiml

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    Sorry to resurrect an older thread, but travelling on Surfliner BC later this week. I've read your helpful info elsewhere and want to confirm nothing has changed regarding car location. Obviously last-minute stuff happens, but boarding north of LA I should expect the train to be pushed with BC car at the rear next to locomotive? I have not ridden the newer blue cars - do they open doors of all cars "commuter-style" at smaller stations or open one and expect everyone to trek with luggage the length of the train (which has been my past experience)?
     
  11. Sep 24, 2019 #11

    TiBike

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    The train flips directions at Union Station. As I recall from my past few trips, it's business class on the back south of LA, and on the front north. Don't recall how the doors worked – when I ride business class on the Surfliner I have to walk the full length of the train to get to my bicycle at the other end :).
     
  12. Sep 24, 2019 #12

    jiml

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    Thanks, I knew about the direction change, although the last couple of trips on this route have originated in LA so not a factor. On a much earlier trip we boarded at Burbank, but they only opened one door on the 7 car train further down than ours. Long walk with kids and luggage to the open door, then all the way back while the train was moving (single level consist too). Every other trip has been from an origination point (San Diego, LA, San Luis Obispo), so all doors open and easy to find BC car.

    The recent rule-of-thumb seems to be BC car adjacent to engine, train pushed southbound to LA, then pulled southbound to San Diego and then the reverse, so sounds like what you've described exactly. We're a lot older now and my wife takes too much luggage.
     
  13. Sep 24, 2019 #13

    seat38a

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    Yes that is correct. Business class car is adjacent to the engine and then the overflow Superliner Business Class car. Only reason they would not open all doors is if the conductor for whatever reason decides to scan tickets before letting people board but generally, the business class car door is always open with either a conductor or attendant checking tickets or verbally asking if your ticket in business class.

    LAUS - > SD engine pulls
    SD -> LAUS engine pushes
    LAUS -> SBA engine pulls
    SBA -> LAUS engine pushes
     
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  14. Sep 24, 2019 #14

    jiml

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    Thanks so much! Great info on your website btw.
     
  15. Sep 25, 2019 #15

    crescent-zephyr

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    The LA - San Diego line is a really scenic trip. I’ve taken the surfliners several times and business class is just ok. Easier to find a seat but that’s all. For me, my attendant disappeared after handing out the first drink and snack box but I was on a horizon coach on that trip. In the bi-levels is there some sort of help yourself to drink sections?
     
  16. Sep 25, 2019 #16

    jiml

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    Agreed. This will be our fourth trip on the route, with the first dating back to when they were called San Diegans. The last bi-level experience did include a Superliner BC car (not California blue) which indeed had a self-serve coffee and soft drink station. More recently we got the Horizon consist, with service that mirrors yours.
     
  17. Sep 25, 2019 #17

    TiBike

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    Service is hit or miss in Surfliner business class -- my experience is more hits than misses. But yeah, sometimes the BC attendant disappears completely. I think the real problem is that BC service isn't well defined by LOSSAN. Or Amtrak. When it was first introduced on the Starlight, attendants had a wide range of interpretations of what their job entailed, everything from old school "fluff your pillow" to complete absence. It's sorta settled into "here's your voucher, WiFi password and bottle of water, have a nice trip".
     
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  18. Sep 29, 2019 #18

    F900ElCapitan

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    I agree with what you are saying except for not mentioning the snacks. My wife and I just did Coast Starlight business from SLO to SBA and Surfliner business from SBA to LAX. I can say the new business seats on the CS are very nice and worth the extra price and then you get the $6 voucher. On the Surfliners the big difference are the free food/snack availability. I can understand what you are saying about routine, but on the train we rode, the food/drinks were kept full and everybody had a good attitude.
     
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  19. Sep 29, 2019 #19

    v v

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    If travelling coach we rarely use BC, except for the Surfliner either north of LA or south. The reason is the California coast views are just superb and found we have a better chance of an ocean side seat in BC with room to move around to photo etc.

    SLO to LAX is our second favourite rail journey anywhere, so far...
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  20. Sep 29, 2019 #20

    jiml

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    Just rode from Burbank to San Diego yesterday. Great trip and arrived on-time. Service in packed BC car was excellent and they were using all of adjacent Superliner for overflow. Attendant was kept really busy, with consistent seat turnover. Snack box was much better than regular prepackaged "junk food" expected. Amtrak California have this thing figured out - too bad similar model isn't applied elsewhere.

    Also worth noting, the new Siemens engines are really quiet at idle compared to their predecessors.
     
  21. Sep 29, 2019 #21

    thully

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    The one key difference between business class and coach on the Surfliner is that business class is reserved, while coach is unreserved. That is an advantage when traveling at busy times (as coach may be standing room only), but a disadvantage when you want flexibility (as you can take any train with a coach ticket, but a reserved business class ticket is for a specific train). Beyond that, the primary advantage of BC is access to the lounge at LA Union Station. I’ve never noticed a huge difference between coach and BC seats on the Surfliner (and if there is a Superliner car being used for coach, that seating can actually be better than BC), and while the snacks/coffee/newspaper are nice, they still can still be purchased for less than the fare difference. Given that, I’d take coach unless it you were traveling at a peak time or wanted access to the lounge.
     

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