Consider Amtrak for Business Travel.
Some years back, I was on Amtrak’s train #51, the Cardinal, heading for Chicago and coming from a NARP meeting in Washington, DC. At lunch in the dining car, I was seated across the table from an attractive woman, a banker from Philadelphia, who was heading for a weekend conference being held at the famous Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
She had been unable to get a last-minute flight and spent half the lunch hour raving about the convenience of being able to get on the train in Philadelphia at 8:15 in the morning and get off the train literally a few hundred yards from the Greenbrier’s lobby just after 5:00 that same afternoon. Furthermore, she said, she was riding in comfort through beautiful countryside and working on her notes for the conference.
The fact is, in a comparison between plane and train that takes into consideration more than just cost and travel time, a case can often be made for Amtrak. If it’s a business trip—traveling from Washington or New York to a business meeting in Chicago, for instance—you can spend the night on the train in getting there, which means there’s no hotel bill, and your meals are included.
Yes, the train will take longer, but it would certainly be more comfortable and, in computing the real cost of flying, let’s not forget to include transportation to and from the airports or the additional time required for security checks. That’s a real issue in the case O’Hare.
To each his own, of course, and there will be times when flying is the only practical alternative. But when all the variables are taken into consideration, a legitimate case can often be made for taking Amtrak instead of a jet. Besides, the train is the only civilized way to travel left to us, isn’t it!