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Passenger Trains > Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WAS


Date: 05/11/08 10:53
Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WAS
Author: mopac63

On our recent trip from St. Louis to Florida via Chicago and Washington DC, as sleeping car passengers my wife and I had the opportunity to take advantage of the first class lounges in Chicago and DC. Both lounges are a welcome retreat to sit down and relax, enjoy soft drinks or coffee, or to just check your bags and do some sightseeing while waiting for your next train. However, the one thing that I couldn't help notice is the sad condition of the furniture in these lounges. I realize this furniture receives a lot of wear and tear but the sofas and chairs looked like something that Goodwill or the Salvation Army wouldn't accept as donations. I guess this is just another commentary on the budget squeeze that Amtrak operates under. Overall, our experience at both lounges was pleasant but there were some disturbing moments at the Club Acela in Washington. There were three handicapped persons waiting for a delayed train sitting in separate areas of the lounge. When the blind man asked for help to the restroom, it was nice to see a Red Cap assist him to get there. However, after a few minutes the blind man emerged from the restroom and was totally lost until another passenger helped him back to his chair. I guess the Red Cap thought his duty was done after he helped the man get to the restroom. Later, when the train was ready to board, the Red Cap was back and did help the blind man again. Also, there was a woman in a wheelchair who was assisted in boarding by a Red Cap. Good job! However, there was one other woman in a wheelchair who was traveling alone and who had a lot of carry-on luggage balanced on her lap. Earlier, two Red Caps had visited with her and assured her that they would be there to help with her boarding. I don't know if there was a shift change or what before her train was ready to board but when the time came, there were no Red Caps to help her. She was totally lost trying to make the boarding, dropped some of her carry-ons, and really needed some assistance. Eventually, a good sameritan passenger helped her get to the train. And finally, when it was time for us to board our train, it would have been nice if the Amtrak employee directing us to the train would have been able to speak English. My wife and I, as well as the other passengers had no idea of what she was saying but we eventually figured out on our own where we had to go and found the track with our train.
In conclusion, Amtrak's Metropolitan Lounge and Club Acela are good, but there are certainly some improvements that can be made.



Date: 05/11/08 13:52
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: jdb

I've used the Metropolitan Lounges in Chicago and Portland twice each during the past three weeks. I spent so little time in Chicago Lounge that I didn't notice the furniture. What I did notice was how crowded it was. Lines to check in. Lines to leave a bag for a couple hours. Lines to board the train. I know what you are saying about the language but that didn't bother me. I was told when I checked in that I would board my train at the side door. When the time came we were herded down the platform to the train and I could read the numbers on the cars to find mine with no problem. I was amazed at the constant line to check in and claim your bags. I don't know how many AMTRAK staff work in that area. MANY. I saw no problem with handicap/Redcaps. I simply can't comprehend how Redcaps do their job in Chicago. I can see many opportunities for somebody to drop through the cracks. So many people. I don't see how they can run those carts all over the place and not hit somebody.

Portland is a different story. One person in charge that is FRIENDLY. Make you feel like you are the only passenger. You can put your bag in a room and claim it yourself later on. You are boarded through a side door and directed to your car.

I KNOW, I KNOW. The Empire Builder only has one sleeper and you can see it from the lounge. The Redcap only has one or two people to assist with each train. Totally different story than the zoo in Chicago.

Different subject here but I've figured out how to avoid staying in Chicago when I take the Empire Builder. (either direction) Stay in Milwaukee and use the Hiawathas. At least three hotels in Milwaukee within five (three after construction is done) blocks of the Milwaukee station. Best Western, Hilton, and Mariott. Brand new, squeeky clean, station. The Hiawathas stop at the Milwaukee airport so I would certainly look into that as an option of flying into Chicago and getting downtown. (no clue as to service into Milwaukee airport but I would check it out)

jb



Date: 05/11/08 19:09
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: billio

mopac63 laments:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On our recent trip...my wife and I had the opportunity to
> take advantage of the first class lounges in
> Chicago and DC....I couldn't help notice...
> the sad condition of the furniture in these
> lounges. I realize this furniture receives a lot
> of wear and tear but the sofas and chairs looked
> like something that Goodwill or the Salvation Army
> wouldn't accept as donations.

Hey! If you think the condition of the lounges is bad, you should read what Amtrak riders say about the condition of the rolling stock in which thet ride.



Date: 05/12/08 10:53
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: microwavengr

I was just in the Chicago lounge with my wife. The while crowded just after arrival of a few trains the staff was friendly and helpful, This was unlike the staff in the United Red Carpet club (in 3 locations) for which I pay $ 500.00 per year, to be treated really bad.

The Amtrak equipment could use work, but has anyone really looked carefully at the interiors of the aircraft we are flying in and how clean they are not and how worn the uncomfortable seats are? Talk about rude people, fly a bit and you’ll go back to the train (I have flown over 60,00 miles per year). How about the drunk that groped a friend of my sister and the flight attendants that did nothing……..On a train they would have been handed to the PD, by the time the plane landed the person was sober and no one did much.



Date: 05/12/08 16:37
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: jp1822

Well thank goodness you didn't have the lucky experience to enjoy NY Penn Station's Acela Lounge! I think this is the worst out of all the Acela or First class lounges.



Date: 05/12/08 16:53
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: jccollins

Amtrak's New Orleans "Magnolia Room" clearly takes the award for the finest premier luxury lounge in the system. :-)



Date: 05/12/08 18:34
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: jp1822

Hope this is sarcasm! I thought this was shut down - the Magnolia Room.



Date: 05/12/08 22:06
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: microwavengr

I have been in Penn Station's lounge, they were nicer there than the Continental Presidents club at Kennedy, and yes things were getting old and the room small, but the staff was friendly not surly like the Continental staff.



Date: 05/13/08 09:03
Re: Comments on Metropolitan Lounge-CHI & Club Acela-WA
Author: ProRail

You all have made my day. I have always envied the folks who are entitled to use those lounges, thinking that it was a special experience. I am no longer envious.



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