Travel The USA with Rail

I have an amtrak-itch! For the last couple of years I’ve been reading blogs, watching YouTube videos and tested routes and pricing. I really want to travel cross country with train. I really, really, really want to!
Yes – train travel is much more costly than flying. And yes, it will take many hours to get to your destination. But I like the idea of taking my time to travel and enjoy the trip itself. Sometimes that’s satisfying enough!

But where will I start and where will I go? Will I do coach seat, business or sleeper car?

My research has brought me to this conclusion:

The first route that I’d like to take is the Southwest Chief from Chicago to Los Angeles in a Superliner Roomette. It’s the classic route and I think it’ll set the mood for any future Amtrak journeys should I continue to find the idea of it attractive. It’s a 45 hour ride so the idea of coach seems daunting! And I believe that the best way to truly enjoy the journey, would be from the comfort of my own little private space – e.g. the Superliner Roomette!

I’d have to pay at least $600+ but it would include three meals a day and the best views possible traveling cross country.

Follow along while I’m continuing to plan the trip, and when I finally carry it out … Go click “Like” on The Newyawkerr – On Tour!

Flying United Airlines

As you may know I decided to be a loyal JetBlue customer. I’ve had several trips cross-country with them – all of which have been pleasant! But this past week I had to make a quick, last-minute flight and JetBlue was simply too expensive. A R/T from JFK to LAX would have been close to $700.

So instead I got into search-mode and after several hours of trying to mix one-ways with Amtrak I finally came upon and scored myself a $270 R/T with United Airlines. Which is a relatively unheard of price – especially the day after Thanksgiving!

Only but! Going there, I’d only have 32 minutes layover to change plans in Houston, Texas (IAH) which also included a change of terminal. Going back, I have approx. 8 hours layover in Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Oh … and I’d arrive in Newark, NJ (EWR) instead of New York, NY (JFK) which is my favorite airport in the City. Anyways … Ticket was good, and I didn’t want to spend more money than neccesary this time around.

Now – I’ve never flown United Airlines before but figured it couldn’t be that much of a difference from JetBlue. But it was! The level of service was much lower than what I get at JetBlue, and the seats are more narrow with lesser legroom. They don’t have complimentary WiFi, and the flight from Houston to Los Angeles did not have entertainment screens. Instead they were advertising their “Personal Device Entertainment” which didn’t work. They had complimentary soft drinks, but no complimentary snacks. And they only went through the plane with the cart once on both flights (LGA-IAH, and IAH-LAX).

Granted – we did have quite a bit of turbulence on the last leg of the trip, but I found it odd that there could be so many difference between two airlines. Especially since the latter could be perceived as a “better quality” airline.

(Looking forward to add my experiences flying LAX-LAS, and LAS-EWR tomorrow… Stay tuned)