Amtrak to Williamsburg: Business class or Coach?

I love visiting Busch Gardens Williamsburg – it’s one of my favorite theme parks in the world. But the drive to Williamsburg from Baltimore is miserable. What should take three hours almost always takes at least five due to DC traffic. As a result, I hadn’t been back to the park in a few years.

Fortunately, I recently had the bright idea to search Amtrak’s routes, and it turns out not only do they have two trains each day going from Baltimore to Williamsburg and back, but the tickets are surprisingly affordable! When purchased a little less than two months in advance, Coach was $44.00 each way, and Business Class was $74. Since I’d never ridden Business Class on Amtrak, I decided to spend the extra $30 for one of the legs in order to see what the difference was, and if was worth the extra cost.

Turns out… not so much. At least not on the Northeast Regional line. While the entire journey was extremely pleasant and much more enjoyable than flying or driving, I couldn’t really see any major differences between Coach and Business. There were plenty of available seats in both classes, and the seats seemed to be the same size. Both classes had power plugs available for each seat, and neither class had armrests between the seats (which was surprisingly awkward). The only differences I could find were that Business Class seats had footrests (which presumably meant they also had slightly more leg room), and with a Business ticket you received complimentary non-alcoholic beverages in the café car, neither of which justifies spending an extra $30.

So, while I cannot recommend spending extra for Amtrak’s Business Class on the Northeast Regional line (might be totally different on the Acela or other lines), I absolutely unequivocally recommend Amtrak as the preferred method of transportation over driving or flying. It’s so nice to not have to go through security, to be able to bring on your own food and booze, to not be crammed like sardines into your seats, and to be able to sit there and read a book and not have to deal with awful traffic. A perfectly relaxing way to start or end any vacation!