On WiFi, Upgrades, and More.

Assuming their long-distance trains will be with us for a while longer, Amtrak really needs to find a way to deal with something that is a serious issue for younger prospective customers. Many of them, probably most, can’t bear the thought of being two-and-a-half days without consistent, reliable and fast internet service. I suppose there is no easy solution, and I’m sure it will be expensive, but it needs to be done.
My flight to L.A. last night was on Alaska Airlines. They do a nice job and they have what appears to be a very a loyal customer base, but they fly mostly 737’s and on a five-hour flight, I would just feel more comfortable in a larger plane. And a newer one. There were little signs of wear and tear on the interior on last night’s flight.
One excellent policy Alaska has, and one that the other airlines would do well to emulate, is they way they sell upgrades to first class in the last 24-hours before departure. They do this at the more-or-less last minute and at substantially reduced prices.
Other airlines–and in my world that means American or Hawaiian–will upgrade you to a first class seat if one is available, but it’s at whatever the full price is, less the cost of the seat you’re holding.
And American has a weird restriction: if you used Aadvantage miles to buy your seat in Economy class, they will not sell you an upgrade into first class. No way. Not at any price, and–I find this truly amazing–not even if there is someone on stand-by who will gladly pay full freight for the seat you’re currently occupying. Please tell me how that makes any sense at all!
I’m on the Sunset Limited tonight, departing Los Angeles Union Station at 10:00 p.m. Dinner will be in the Traxx restaurant in that wonderful station. Next post probably from New Orleans (See paragraph #1 above).