Matthewonlive and let's fly

Sorry Megabus, I've Switched to Amtrak

For months I have been threatening to switch from Megbus to Amtrak for my frequent trips from Philadelphia to Washington. In the end, I always ended up booking with Megabus because tickets were always significantly cheaper. But after my Greyhound experience last month, I booked Amtrak this time. And I may not look back...

Megabus was $21 and Amtrak was $35, so it was hardly a choice this time. The train departed from Philadelphia 10 minutes late and arrived into Washington 10 minutes late, but it took less than two hours to get to Washington Union (versus a tad over three on Megabus), the seat was comfortable, the train was not crowded, and I even had some lunch--an Italian panini--

 amtrak_sandiwch

For $8, it was a terrible deal, but it looked better than the breakfast sandwich or cheeseburger and I wanted something hot.

The internet was working on Amtrak...sort of. On my last several trips it has worked much better than yesterday. The speed was very poor--I could not even purchase a ticket from United.com (it would time out, which is a good way to put a revenue ticket on 3-day courtesy hold...) but at least I could read and answer e-mail.

The true test of my "conversion" will be the return trip on Monday, which I have not purchased yet. Will I fork out the $50-70 for an Amtrak ticket or buy the $17 Megabus ticket? I have to say, I am leaning toward Amtrak though I won't decide until Monday. Not only is Amtrak a more civilized experience, but it was even restful--I could not believe how fast those two hours flew by. 

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Comments

#1
Mike November 17, 2012 at 12:08 pm

You should have gone with the hot dog! Or at least the cheesburger as back up. Both are tolerable.

#2
BR November 17, 2012 at 06:57 pm

Definitely do Megabus. Amtrak may be a little nicer, but it's not worth 3 to 4 times as much, especially for a trip that only takes 2 hours.

#3
Jimgotkp November 18, 2012 at 12:28 am

I recommend Acela if the price is right.

#4
Vlad Iuga November 18, 2012 at 09:12 am

What will be your choice? I think your comfort should 'win' and have a whole, proper Amtrak experience. Tell us how it was, overall :)

#5
tom November 18, 2012 at 07:31 pm

RE: 3 day hold for United revenue tickets. I have used the "pay by phone" link in the past to place a reservation on hold. However, it looks like that option is no longer on the payment page. Have you found a way to still place the reservation on hold?

#6
Matthew November 18, 2012 at 07:38 pm

Sadly, as of Thursday this option is no longer available. Or Western Union, another way to put a fare on hold. I was crushed too. Thankfully you can still do this for award space.

#7
Nate November 19, 2012 at 04:41 am

This has to be a joke?

#8
Matthew November 19, 2012 at 07:34 am

Putting a fare on hold? Not a joke at all, but a handy little trick I took advantage of on an almost daily basis for myself and for my clients.

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