Tiffany Takes the Train
I fly. I don’t take trains. With a little convincing of the pros and cons by my Twitter traveling friends, I have opted to take the Acela Express First Class from Boston to New York City in lieu of earning more frequent flyer miles on American.
Please don’t laugh. I am scared of trains. It has been an unspoken fear since I was a kid. They’re fast. They don’t wait. They are precise. 13:29 is my departure time. Not 13:20, nor 13:40.
I’m a first time passenger. AAdvantage Platinum status has no place here. I feel like I have a sign on my back that says “NEW”. The ticket lady is extremely patient as I ask where to check my bags. “Bring them with you, she tells me. The attendant in First Class will assist you.” I like this. So here I am, on the train. Me, train-fearing Tiffany is on her way.
First impression: It’s full, and there are barely two seats together. What do these people know that I do not? It’s like they’ve known this secret for years. They all seem relaxed quietly working on laptops on Acela’s complimentary wireless.
The seat configuration is much like Business Class on AA. Spacious, tray table, lots of leg room, and the warmed mixed nut dish is already on my tray. I’m nervous and anxious. The train has departed. I am on it. Here we go.
The affable Donn, the train attendant, quickly puts me at ease. Drinks are served, and he takes our lunch orders. (Today’s choices are a small plate of sushi/Oriental pasta, arctic cod, veal chop or vegetarian.)
Blackberry, laptop and iPad in hand, I’m ready to work and tweet. I accidentally ask my husband “what time we land.”
The scenery from Boston to New York is grand with beautiful ocean and landscape views. The horn blows in the background. I feel like a kid. I’m finally relaxed. Before I know it, I hear the conductor: “Next stop, Penn Station, New York. If you’re not from here, don’t get mad!” he says with a laugh.
But wait! We just got started. Anxiety begins to set back in. Can I get off in time? It’s departing for Philadelphia precisely at 16:59!
Acela Express First Class Pros: No security lines. Food & drink included. Access to Club Acela. Cons: wireless internet access was slow. Train can be bumpy using laptop.
Trip cost: $363 RT peak times. http://www.acela.com
PS: I’d definitely take the train again.
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