Took My First Long Train Ride, Should’ve Taken a Plane Instead



I had a $90 coach seat, which wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.

amtrak seat

The coach seats were large and made of leather.

Jenny Silber


When I was looking for train tickets online, I was shocked by the price difference between a coach seat, $90, and a private room in a sleeping car, around $700.

My economy seat on my flight to Chicago was originally only $113, so paying for a room in the Amtrak sleeping car seemed ridiculous.

When I arrived at Union Station, I stood in line as the Amtrak workers assigned everyone a seat. Usually, coach seats are unassigned, but they were strict about passengers staying in designated areas since it was a holiday weekend and the train was fully booked.

There was no security check, and no one collected my ticket until I was already en route. I arrived around 30 minutes before departure, which I felt was the perfect amount of time to find my seat and settle in without feeling rushed. 

I had an aisle seat, which was convenient when I had to get up to go to the bathroom. However, I had a hard time falling asleep since I had nothing to lean my head on.

The seats in the coach car looked luxurious. They were wide and made out of leather, and I could lean the seat far enough back that it almost felt like a bed. I could also lift a lever that pulled out a footrest.

I’m only 5-foot-4, but if I miraculously grew another foot on this train journey, I would’ve still had more than enough legroom.



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