Upgrading to business class on Amtrak not worth it

Taking the train to Niagara

Paying an extra $100 for business class not worth it

I paid $168 for a 10-hour Amtrak business-class ride. It wasn't worth it — next time, I'll stay in coach and save $100.


For a 10-hour train ride from NYC to Niagara Falls, New York, in August 2022, I booked a business-class ticket on an Amtrak train for $168. It was $100 more than a coach ticket on the same ride.

Business Insider's reporter booked a business-class ticket for a 10-hour trip on an Amtrak train.Joey Hadden/Business Insider

I booked a business-class ticket on an Amtrak train from NYC to Niagara Falls, New York, in 2022.

For $168, I sat in a business-class seat with a tray table, an outlet, and a complimentary drink.

I thought the ride was OK, but not much different from coach. I wouldn't pay extra for it again.

I upgraded based on my experience traveling on Amtrak. In the past, I'd spent 85 hours on Amtrak trains going up and down the East Coast, reviewing accommodations from first class to private rooms in sleeper cars.

I previously took a business-class ride on Amtrak from Baltimore to NYC. But that ride was under three hours, and I wanted to see what it was like on a longer route. I tried it again for my Niagara Falls trip.

Ultimately, I found that business class wasn't worth the added price since the experience felt too similar to a typical ride in coach.

My journey began at NYC's Penn Station.

Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall has an exclusive lounge for Amtrak riders, but it's only free for first-class passengers.

Read more: I traveled through NYC's new, $1.6 billion train hall on a recent Amtrak trip, and I'm so glad I'll never get lost in Penn Station again

There were benches in front of screens with train schedules in the regular waiting area.

Once on the train, I noticed the business-class car configuration had two seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other.

My seat was not assigned, but I snagged a spot in the single row.

Although the seat wasn't as comfortable as I expected for a premium class, I was impressed with the amount of legroom.

Like other Amtrak trains, my seat came with a tray table, too.

On the way, a drink was included in the price of my business-class ticket, but a meal was not.

I didn't see attendants checking in with passengers or delivering meals or snacks during the trip.

Business-class passengers had a private bathroom for the car.

After traveling for 10 hours in a train car without a clean bathroom, I thought the business-class experience was not worth the extra $100.

Aside from bigger seats and a free drink, business class didn't feel very different from coach to me. Next time, I'll save my money and ride economy.

"We are constantly evaluating ways to improve the customer experience, including further differentiating the classes of service across the network," an Amtrak representative said in a statement to Business Insider.

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