Amtrak - coach or “comfort”?

Amtrak Arriving at Palm Springs, courtesy of  Allen Rockwell
Amtrak Arriving at Palm Springs, courtesy of Allen Rockwell

We are planning to take Amtrak’s California Zephyr route from Grand Junction, Colorado and up to Chicago, and possibly continue with Amtrak further to Boston. We’ve pictured sitting (and perhaps even sleeping) in a comfortable Superliner roomette with lots of space and a great view.

Turns out - there’s no such thing as “lots of space”, and even the degrees of comfort seem to be a little disputable. We didn’t expect first class luxury for a reasonable price, but we have to admit that we got a little disappointed when Amtrak recently published some pictures (or “virtual tours”, as they call them) of the roomettes. They’re so tiiiny!

To get a second opinion, sort of, we did a Flickr search for amtrak roomette, but it basically confirmed our concerns: You have to be tiny to fit into the roomette!

So we started thinking.. Maybe it’s not worth paying for a roomette. Other pictures make it seem like travelling coach it just as comfortable.

But what can you really tell from pictures? Not all that much. So if you’ve ever taken the Amtrak, preferably on the California Zephyr line, we would love some info about the different alternatives!

What are the roomettes like? Are the beds worth anything at all? Are the couch cars really crowded? How about the lounges? What would you recommend?

There are 2 responses to “Amtrak - coach or “comfort”?”

Angela Pride wrote:

I a big gal and thought the Viewliner Roomette was reasonably comfortable. I am short and and my travel companion was tall. Seating was comfortable with a pillow at my back. Sleeping was bit tighter than I would have liked in the hips and thighs, but not unbearably so. The toilet was another story. It was certainly not designed for real women. All in all, I would do it again for a long trip; however I have not ridden coach to compare.

January 27th, 2007 at 09:00 (permalink)
Willy wrote:

Hi I made recently my first long distance trip on AMTRAK in a Roomette on CZ.

You have to know I am 6″,6′ tall (2m) and I tell you I slept well it was cosy and I could streched out fully! under the seats there is much more room as predicted. During daytime you can easily put your feet up on the other seat. It could not be more comfortable. As I was traveling on the lower level, I had my suitcase in the luggage rack next to me where also I had the choice of several toilets and the shower near by. A perfect 55h trip. See the trip in virtual reality on my website

September 18th, 2007 at 04:43 (permalink)

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