Last year I had to travel from the bay area to Los Angeles. Although my airfare from SFO-LAX was relatively cheap ($85 one way) the return airfare options were a little high ($200 plus). I kept waiting in the hopes of a VX last minute discounted price.
I also checked out Amtrak's prices on the Coast Starlight (train 14) which travels from Los Angeles to San Jose (then continues all the way to Seattle). The fare was $103 for a coach seat and there was a $131 upcharge to a private roomette sleeper room. There were other options like the Family Bedroom and Superliner room as well, but they were more expensive. At the time neither 10 hours in a coach seat nor $234 for the roomette seemed right. The roomette was just a little too steep.
Of course as the week went on, no discounted airfare became available - in fact the price started to sky rocket. From $200 to $376. Amtrak was looking more reasonable. I finally went the rest of the way through the Amtrak booking process past the first screen that displays the coach price and underneath, the room upcharges.
This time, when I actually clicked the room option, the price did go up, but only to $183, not $234 as I had expected. I didn't realize part of the $103 fare is an accommodation component for the coach seat. But either way, I was happily surprised that the train fare wasn't as expensive as I thought.
If two people are traveling together, 2 coach seats are $206, while 2 people in a roomette total $235. They get a large benefit for only $30 more including:
- a welcome lounge at Union Station
- pre boarding
- two free meals each
- access to the Parlour Car
- a private compartment
- complimentary juice, water, fruit, and sparkling wine
Once ticketed I had to figure out how I was going to get up to SFO for my flight out, while leaving my car in San Jose for the return train ride. I ended up driving my car to San Jose station. All inter-city Amtrak passengers can park for free by obtaining a pass from the attendant in the station. Then I took Caltrain to SFO.