Faster Internet Service Aboard Amtrak
Without any announcement, FlyerTalk members began to notice last month that the Internet service aboard Amtrak trains has been faster — and apparently they were correct.
Amtrak is currently in the process of upgrading its on-board AmtrakConnect Internet service and improving overall reliability by implementing 4G mobile data service from multiple mobile operators, according to an article posted by Jeremy Del Nero of Frequent Business Traveler magazine.
As a result, passengers are noticing faster Wi-Fi Internet service on the Acela Express, Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin trains, where the improved AmtrakConnect Internet service is already available. All trains equipped with Wi-Fi Internet service should be upgraded before the end of this summer.
I have to wonder: is Amtrak successfully differentiating itself from the airlines?
As an example, there is Acela Express service which operates between Pennsylvania Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. Both train stations are centrally located within each city — unlike the airports — and are easily accessible by mass transit. The cost of $373.00 round-trip from Monday, June 10, 2013 through Friday, June 14, 2013 can be pricier than a comparable economy class round trip itinerary on Delta Air Lines between New York and Washington National Airport — with the most common airfare pricing at $354.80 for the same dates, but you can pay as low as $208.80 for one itinerary or as high as $689.80 for a different itinerary — but each flight is approximately one hour shorter each way…
…whereas the Acela Express takes as few as two hours and 47 minutes without the hassles, time and costs associated with airport security and parking — plus, the improved AmtrakConnect Internet service is included with the train fare, allowing you to work without having to worry about altitude restrictions hindering your use of electronic devices.
Did I mention that all of the results I received are flights operated by Delta Air Lines on this route use regional jet aircraft — regardless of either airport option in New York, not counting Newark International Airport?
I have not personally tried it, but I would not be surprised if the upgraded AmtrakConnect Internet service is more reliable and faster than for what you are required to pay extra for comparable Internet service aboard an airplane during a flight.
Is the extra $18.20 for the Amtrak service worth it to you on this route — and perhaps other routes as well — thanks in part to the improved AmtrakConnect Internet service? What do you think?