Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (2022)

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Amtrak Coach Class is the most economical way to get around the country. With low priced direct tickets and 2 free checked bags per person, Amtrak coach class is cheaper than flying. There are several thing you’ll need to take into account to make your trip more enjoyable, and get the best price. We will cover everything you need to know about riding the rails in coach.

Contents

  • 1 Buying Your Coach Class Tickets
  • 2 Where Can You Go
  • 3 What Is It Like In Coach Class
  • 4 Is It Easy To Sleep In Coach Class
  • 5 Is There WiFi
  • 6 What Should You Bring
  • 7 Are Seats Assigned
  • 8 Can You Get Off The Train
  • 9 What Food Is Available
  • 10 Should I Check My Bags
  • 11 Is It Safe
  • 12 Can I Use The Observation Car
(Video) Amtrak Coach Class Tips

Buying Your Coach Class Tickets

Amtrak Coach Class tickets are available to purchase online at Amtrak.com, in the Amtrak app, and by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL. It is best to purchase your tickets online or through the app with an Amtrak Guest Rewards account number. You’ll not only earn Amtrak points for the purchase, but your tickets will show up in the app, which makes it easy to travel with. Just show the ticket on your phone in the app when you get ready to board. You can also ask for a paper ticket at the station.

Coach class tickets do go on sale, with sales being as high as 50% off. There are also special regional or passenger specific sales that happen from time to time. For more information, see our guide to getting discounted Amtrak tickets.

Where Can You Go

Amtrak travels to most states in the United States, with especially high coverage in the Northeast. The main Amtrak hub is in Chicago, which connects the East and West coast routes. There are several major cross country routes that leave from Chicago to the West Coast, including the California Zephyr, Texas Eagle, Southwest Chief and Empire Builder.

Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (1)

To see all of our Amtrak maps in greater detail go to the Amtrak Maps page.

(Video) 20 Must Have Items For Your Next Amtrak Train Trip

What Is It Like In Coach Class

Amtrak Coach Class is more spacious than coach class on an airplane. The seats recline much further, allowing for a spacious amount of leg room. Seats are also configured with 2 seats per side of the aisle instead of three. There are tray tables that fold down for your computer, and foot rests that raise from the bottom of the seat. Even if your train is full, Coach Class will seem spacious compared to a bus or a plane.

There are two types of coach class cars, one is for shorter commuter trains, where the seats don’t recline quite as much and the other is for overnight trains, which have bigger seats.

Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (2)
Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (3)

Is It Easy To Sleep In Coach Class

It is easy to sleep in Coach Class on an Amtrak train. The seats recline further than expected, and give plenty of leg room. The only things that will wake you up in Coach Class is noise from other passengers and the stopping and starting of the train. If there are people getting on the train in the middle of the night, they could wake you up. We use noise canceling headphones to help us sleep in coach.

Is There WiFi

Most Amtrak trains have WiFi, so you will likely have WiFi in coach. See our Amtrak WiFi guide for a full list. The WiFi is not great though, so it won’t be any faster than your phone. If you don’t have unlimited data though, this can be a big help as you don’t have to use your data while on the train.

(Video) Amtrak Sunset Limited Coach Class | 36 Hours On A Train

What Should You Bring

When riding in Coach you should bring some food and drinks with you. We usually bring enough to eat a meal or two, and then buy the rest from the cafe on board. We bring a dedicated small duffle bag to carry the food and drinks and then put our other items in a backpack. To help you not forget anything, we’ve written a post of 20 must have items for your next Amtrak trip.

There are power outlets at your seat, so it is easy to bring a tablet or phone to watch movies or play games on. Don’t forget your charger and headphones. Some passengers get cold on Amtrak, so bring a jacket or sweatshirt if that is your case.

Are Seats Assigned

Some routes have assigned seats while others do not. They’ll tell you at the station if it is open or assigned seating. In either case, once you pick a seat, it is yours for the entire trip. The conductor will place a piece of paper with the stop you are getting off at above your seat. Any seat without this piece of paper is open. It is important to leave the paper up so others know the seat is taken, and so the conductor can wake you up if your stop is coming up and you’ve fallen asleep.

Can You Get Off The Train

There are 3 types of Amtrak stops, 2 of which you can get off the train at. The first is just a passenger boarding stop. These are usually 3 minutes long, and you cannot get off the train. The 2nd type of stop is a fresh air break. They can range from 7-10 minutes and you are allowed off the train. The last type of stop is a crew change stop. These can last from 15-30 minutes and you are also allowed off the train.

No matter the type of stop, don’t leave the platform and listen for the all aboard call. The train does not wait for people that are not ready to get back on.

(Video) Amtrak Overnight Coach Review

What Food Is Available

For Amtrak Coach Class passengers food is available in the cafe car. The cafe car serves an assortment of hot and cold food as well as drinks. For hot food they have items like pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, and mac and cheese. The cafe usually closes around 10pm, so bring snacks if you’d like to eat after that.

Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (4)
Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (5)

Should I Check My Bags

We recommend checking your large bags if you are on a longer trip. You won’t have to keep track of them or worry if anyone has taken your bag, or anything out of your bag while you weren’t there. There are over head racks to store bags, but don’t try to put a large suitcase up there. A small suitcase would be fine.

There have been times where in an emergency, we were running late, we have just kept our large suitcases in front of us at our seat. This is not recommended though. There really is a lot of room in coach.

Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (6)
Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (7)

Is It Safe

Amtrak is very safe to ride. The conductors on board do a great job of keeping everyone safe and happy, and resolving conflicts quickly. If someone is being a problem they will escort that passenger off the train at the next stop. We’ve seen several people get kicked off the train in the middle of the ride. Unlike an airplane, where there is nowhere to put them, Amtrak just gets rid of any unruly passengers.

We do not recommend leaving your valuables out in Coach Class. Just like any other place, secure your valuables when you are away from your seat.

(Video) Amtrak Crescent Travel Guide | Coach Class Review From Atlanta To New Orleans

Can I Use The Observation Car

If your train has an observation car, it is open to all passengers. You are free to go up there to eat your meal or just look out the windows. There are power outlets at the seats there too, so go up and get a better view!

Amtrak Coach Class: A Complete Guide | Grounded Life Travel (8)

FAQs

Can you sleep in a coach seat on Amtrak? ›

It IS possible to sleep in a coach seat. Our wide reclining chairs with tons of legroom and adjustable footrests will have you sleeping like a … well … you know. This gives you that warm and cozy feeling even as you're traveling across America! Load up your cell phone or tablet with a few movies.

Are coach seats good on Amtrak? ›

Coach seats are the cheapest tickets on an Amtrak train, and all trains have coach seats except for the Acela Express. These seats are larger and more comfortable than seats on an airplane, recline and have a power outlet, reading light and tray.

What is coach class like on Amtrak? ›

Coach class is offered on every Amtrak train and features wide, reclining seats with ample legroom, no middle seat option and at-seat trays, reading lights and electric outlets. Restrooms are located in each car. Amtrak Guest Rewards customers traveling in Coach earn 2 points per dollar spent.

Is coach class the same as coach Amtrak? ›

Compare the Classes

Coach class offers basic accommodations with comfortable reclining seats, tray tables and overhead reading lights. Amtrak business class seats are cushier with headrests, adjustable footrests, more legroom, tray tables and electrical outlets for laptops or DVD players. Seats usually face forward.

Is it better to sit on the upper or lower level on Amtrak? ›

The best place to sit in Amtrak Coach Class is on the upper level. It's all about the view on the upper level. This is the biggest advantage of sitting in the upper level. You can also move from car to car more freely as there is access from each car on the upper level.

Can I bring my own food on Amtrak? ›

Bringing Your Food Aboard

You may bring your own food and beverages onboard for consumption at your seat or private Sleeping Car accommodations. However, you can only consume food and beverages purchased in Dining and Lounge Cars in those cars.

Can coach passengers eat in the dining car on Amtrak? ›

You may bring your own food and beverages onboard for consumption at your seat or private Sleeping Car accommodations. However, you can only consume food and beverages purchased in Dining and Lounge Cars in those cars.

Where should you sit on an Amtrak train? ›

The most comfortable seat is the one all the way up front in the locomotive. Yes, some of Amtrak's trains are Superliners, and they do indeed have two levels. However, only the upper levels connect between the cars. A reserved seat is not an assigned seat.

How early should I arrive for Amtrak? ›

Plan to arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before your train is scheduled to depart (Auto Train passengers should arrive at the station at least two hours prior to departure).

Does Amtrak provide blankets in coach? ›

Some coach passengers also bring pillows, as the pillows Amtrak hands out in coach are quite small. Sleeping car passengers are furnished with a full set of blankets and pillows, so don't need to worry about it.

Can you walk around on Amtrak? ›

You're allowed to walk about the train as often as you'd like. Just make sure to watch where you're walking onboard the train between cars. The safety plates often shift and pinch when the train is in motion.

What comes with coach seats on Amtrak? ›

Coach class features wide, comfortable reclining seats with ample legroom. There is also a fold-down tray, individual reading light, and a 120v electric outlet at each seat. Other onboard amenities include restrooms in each coach, overhead baggage storage and complimentary WiFi.

Does Amtrak have free water? ›

50+ Year Amtrak Rider

In Sleepining Cars Bottled Water is Avaialble for Free and if you Eat in the Diner Meals include Coffee,Tea,Milk or Water!

How many bags can u take on Amtrak? ›

Each traveler can check up to 4 bags (2 free and 2 at $20 per bag). Size/weight limitations apply.

How big are the coach seats on Amtrak? ›

Amtrak's coach seat offers pitch of 39 inches (50 inches to 52 inches on Superliner sleepers) and width of 23 inches.” Seating comfort on Amtrak, however, might now be in jeopardy.

Can you bring a small cooler on Amtrak? ›

A small cooler counts as a carry-on bag, and you can bring snacks, meals, take out food from nearby restaurants and even alcohol on Amtrak (note that to consume alcohol, you must be in a roomette or bedroom).

Do Amtrak coach seats have power outlets? ›

There are two outlets at every seat pair. It's located near the window. Aisle seat lovers, if you need some juice for your device, kindly tell your seatmate before you reach over to use it. Also, don't be that person that hogs both outlets.

Can you talk on the phone on Amtrak? ›

A great way to travel and really get to see the country, while it is fun, there are some Amtrak travel tips to be aware of. Two common questions asked are can you bring food on Amtrak and can you talk on the phone on Amtrak. Yes and yes! I often bring a small cooler with snacks and drinks when I'm on the train.

Do your bags get searched on Amtrak? ›

They've targeted carry-on baggage such as backpacks as well as typical checked baggage items. Passengers tell stories of being awakened on a stop and being searched right there at their seats.

Where do your bags go on Amtrak? ›

Storing Items

Carry-on and personal items must be kept with you, stored in overhead racks, under seats or designated baggage areas. Most buses have baggage storage bins under the bus floor, and the bus driver will assist you.

Can I bring beer on Amtrak? ›

A: Yes, you can absolutely bring alcohol onto an Amtrak train as long as it remains unopened. Feel free to pack any bottles of alcohol safely and securely inside your allotted amount of luggage. Each passenger is allowed two 25-pound personal items and two 50-pound carry-on items on board.

Do Amtrak trains have microwaves? ›

Is There a Microwave on Amtrak. There is not a microwave available for passenger use on Amtrak. If you bring food with you to eat on the train you will not be able to warm it up no matter if you are in coach class or the sleeper cars. There is also no way to warm up water to make drinks.

Where is the Café Car on Amtrak? ›

The Café Car is generally located on the upper level in the middle of the train, though some trains may have a lower-level Café Car. If you're on a train with a lower-level Café Car, look for "California Café" signs near the stairwell.

What is the safest place to sit on a train? ›

"The safest spot in a train, during an accident, is the center of the train," said Mann, who was the principal author of the Federal Railway Safety Act in 1970. "Because if there is a front-end collision or a rear-end collision, the damages will be greater at those locations.

What is the quiet car on Amtrak? ›

The Amtrak Quiet Car is, for the uninitiated, the single car reserved on most Northeast Corridor trains (and a few other routes) where peace and quiet reign. No cell phone use is allowed, no audible noise is supposed to emerge from devices and there is no talking in anything above a whisper.

What is the most scenic Amtrak route? ›

AMTRAK'S COAST STARLIGHT. Amtrak's Coast Starlight is considered one of the most scenic routes in the Amtrak system, offering the very best views of the Pacific Coast, from the cliffs of Pacific Coast Highway to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains.

Are Amtrak trains comfortable? ›

This is why an unforgettable trip on an Amtrak® train goes hand in hand with high comfort. All the carriages in the train are air-conditioned, seats are comfortable and positioned so that each passenger has a leg rest and far more space than on the plane - and also can freely throughout the train.

Can you get off a train before your stop and get back on? ›

Yes, you can break your journey while travelling with an Anytime Single or Return ticket. This means you can get off the train at any connecting stop and leave the station, before boarding a later train to complete your journey.

How Safe Is Amtrak? ›

There is no TSA or other security to go through before boarding the train. But rest assured that Amtrak is keeping track of everyone traveling by train. Amtrak Police as well as Amtrak staff is there to help you should you have any issues on the trains. If any issues come up, Amtrak staff is quick to take care of it.

Should I bring a pillow on Amtrak? ›

Any luggage you bring on board needs to be in your custody, stored in overhead racks, under seats, or in designated baggage areas. Travel necessities like pillows, blankets, computer cases or medical devices are allowed.

How do you sleep comfortably on a train? ›

Choose comfortable, loose-fitting sleep clothes and warm socks. Bring a small travel blanket/pillow for your own personal comfort. If you're sensitive to light while sleeping, bring a sleep mask and close the curtains over the window(s).

Do you tip Amtrak attendant? ›

General Guidelines: Tipping is NOT required, but is considered correct for the service crew personnel on the train. Recommendations: Snack bar attendant: roughly 10%. Dining car: 15% of menu prices (sleeping car passengers may want to note this when ordering their meals).

What are the bathrooms like on Amtrak? ›

There are 3 bathrooms and a shower on the lower level and 1 bathroom on the upper level. This is more than enough for the passengers in the car, and there is almost never a line to use the bathroom. Amtrak Viewliner II Cars have two bathrooms and an shower all on a single level.

How much do you tip Amtrak? ›

Jim Loomis, author of “All Aboard! The Complete North American Train Travel Guide,” recommends $5 per passenger per night for sleeping-car attendants, and the standard 15 percent of what the meals would cost if you paid (prices are on the menu) outright. Come prepared with a stash of small bills.

How do you shower on Amtrak? ›

What Does Amtrak Provide For Showers? Amtrak provides sleeper car passengers with several amenities for a better shower experience. You will find a hand towel and a washcloth in your room. Towels can be found in the shower stall, sometimes attendants place them outside the shower on the luggage rack.

Are there showers on Amtrak? ›

Roomette. For customers seeking both privacy and savings, Roomettes feature two comfortable seats by day and upper and lower berths by night. Each room includes a big picture window, newly upgraded bedding, pillows, towels and linens, and access to a private restroom and shower in your car.

Do Amtrak seats lean back? ›

Amtrak, the main provider of rail travel in the United States, offers reclining seats and leg rests on many of their trains, but these comforts are often overshadowed by unwelcome noise, lights and movement from other train passengers.

Are there TVS on Amtrak trains? ›

The standard bedrooms in the Viewliner sleepers all have a toilet and a fold down sink in the room. The newest cars also have a tiny TV screen with 3 or 4 movies that can be viewed.

Can I fill my water bottle on Amtrak? ›

Don't forget to bring a refillable water bottle with you to refill on the train. Do not refill your bottle in the bathroom. There are water stations in the train, use them to fill your bottle.

Can you drink Amtrak tap water? ›

Engineer. Yes, the water from the sink faucets is drinkable. The water comes from a drinkable supply, and the car tanks are sanitized after each trip.

How strict is Amtrak carry on baggage policy? ›

Unlike many transportation options, traveling with Amtrak is twice as nice with our generous baggage policy. When you travel with us, you can carry-on two free pieces of luggage. Each item should not exceed 50 lbs. (23 kg) and needs to be 28 x 22 x 14 inches in size.

Is a backpack a personal item? ›

The short answer: Yes, a backpack is generally considered a personal item if it fits under the seat in front of you. Most airlines offer a few examples of things that fit into the “personal item” category, such as a purse, laptop bag, or a briefcase, but they don't usually include “backpack” on those lists.

What does no checked baggage mean on Amtrak? ›

It means they are not going to stow your luggage for you. Whatever you have, you take it on the train and find a secure place for it in the overhead bins or under your seat. You will be fine with a carry on and a suitcase each.

Is it better to sit on the upper or lower level on Amtrak? ›

The best place to sit in Amtrak Coach Class is on the upper level. It's all about the view on the upper level. This is the biggest advantage of sitting in the upper level. You can also move from car to car more freely as there is access from each car on the upper level.

Can you sleep in Amtrak coach seats? ›

It IS possible to sleep in a coach seat. Our wide reclining chairs with tons of legroom and adjustable footrests will have you sleeping like a … well … you know. This gives you that warm and cozy feeling even as you're traveling across America! Load up your cell phone or tablet with a few movies.

How do you get a window seat on Amtrak? ›

You can request a window seat as the attendant is assigning it to you, but don't get upset if he/she can't do it. We assign seats according to your destination, how the train will load and offload enroute (what doors we will work out of, etc), and in a manner which we can try to keep families and couples togther.

Where do you sleep on an Amtrak train? ›

For a truly unique experience when traveling by train, Amtrak offers private room accommodations on many routes across the country. Located in the Sleeping Car, a private room is the perfect option for customers seeking privacy and space on a short trip and added comfort and amenities when traveling overnight.

Whats the difference between a roomette and a bedroom on Amtrak? ›

Each bedroom has the capacity of two adults (with an option for a third), one to two suitcases and are 6'6” x 7'6”. Unlike roomettes, our bedrooms also have an in-room toilet, shower and a sofa that converts to a bed. Travelers looking to stretch out and upgrade from our roomette should explore our bedroom option.

What is the sleeping place on a train called? ›

We found 1 solutions for Sleeping Place On A Train . The most likely answer for the clue is BERTH.

Can coach passengers eat in the dining car on Amtrak? ›

You may bring your own food and beverages onboard for consumption at your seat or private Sleeping Car accommodations. However, you can only consume food and beverages purchased in Dining and Lounge Cars in those cars.

Should I bring a blanket on Amtrak? ›

Some items are allowed in addition to your two bags

Travel necessities like pillows, blankets, computer cases or medical devices are allowed. The great news is those do not count toward your two-bag limit!

Can you walk around on Amtrak train? ›

You're allowed to walk about the train as often as you'd like. Just make sure to watch where you're walking onboard the train between cars. The safety plates often shift and pinch when the train is in motion.

Do they wake you up on Amtrak? ›

If you fall asleep on Amtrak and your destination is coming up, an Amtrak conductor will wake you up.

Is there a toilet in an Amtrak roomette? ›

Roomettes are private from the rest of the train and come with seats, bunks, and a basic toilet.

What are the bathrooms like on Amtrak? ›

There are 3 bathrooms and a shower on the lower level and 1 bathroom on the upper level. This is more than enough for the passengers in the car, and there is almost never a line to use the bathroom. Amtrak Viewliner II Cars have two bathrooms and an shower all on a single level.

How much do you tip Amtrak? ›

Jim Loomis, author of “All Aboard! The Complete North American Train Travel Guide,” recommends $5 per passenger per night for sleeping-car attendants, and the standard 15 percent of what the meals would cost if you paid (prices are on the menu) outright. Come prepared with a stash of small bills.

What is the last car of a train called? ›

A caboose is a train car that is usually at the end. If you are pulling up the rear, you could call yourself the caboose. The engine is the first car on a freight train, and the last car is usually the caboose. Besides being last, the other feature of a caboose is its use by the crew.

What is the first car on a train called? ›

The Locomotive

The locomotive is also called a railway car, but it has a specialized function. Many railway cars linked together is called a train, and the first train car is usually the locomotive.

What is the driver of a train called? ›

A train driver, engine driver, engineman or locomotive driver, commonly known as an engineer or railroad engineer in the United States and Canada, and also as a locomotive handler, locomotive operator, train operator, or motorman, is a person who drives a train, multiple unit or a locomotive.

Where should I sit on Amtrak? ›

The most comfortable seat is the one all the way up front in the locomotive. Yes, some of Amtrak's trains are Superliners, and they do indeed have two levels. However, only the upper levels connect between the cars. A reserved seat is not an assigned seat.

How many bags can I take on Amtrak? ›

You + Two Bags = No Extra Charge

Unlike many transportation options, traveling with Amtrak is twice as nice with our generous baggage policy. When you travel with us, you can carry-on two free pieces of luggage. Each item should not exceed 50 lbs. (23 kg) and needs to be 28 x 22 x 14 inches in size.

Can I bring beer on Amtrak? ›

A: Yes, you can absolutely bring alcohol onto an Amtrak train as long as it remains unopened. Feel free to pack any bottles of alcohol safely and securely inside your allotted amount of luggage. Each passenger is allowed two 25-pound personal items and two 50-pound carry-on items on board.

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