Amtrak Expands Premium Seating for COVID-19 Times
New business class enhancements allow passengers to choose their preferred safe seats
August 6, 2020
Amtrak is expanding its Reserved Seating services to Acela Business Class customers with no extra fees.
Reserved seating, one of several improvements Amtrak has made to enhance its cleaning and safety protocols, now allows travelers to view and select their seats before traveling, including those available in the Quiet Car, offering a snapshot of the overall crowdedness of the train.
Customers and employees are required to wear face masks or an alternative facial covering while in stations and onboard trains.
“Reserved seating is one of several new initiatives we are undertaking in support of expanded health and safety protocols,” said Amtrak president and CEO Bill Flynn. “By providing customers with an easier and safer boarding process that limits people moving through the trains trying to find a seat, we are able to meet customer expectations for safer travel.”
Customers will automatically be assigned a seat at the time of payment, but have the option to change their seat using an interactive car and seat map on the Amtrak app or at Amtrak.com.
As part of Amtrak’s commitment to keeping customers safe, only window seats will be available for booking while Acela operates at a reduced capacity. Aisle and rear-facing table seats will appear as blocked in the customer seat maps. Customers traveling with companions or in groups will have designated reserved seats in separate rows, but may choose to sit together while onboard.
Station and contact center agents and conductors are also able to modify customers’ seat assignments. To assist customers with finding their reserved car and seat locations, exterior and on-board signage will be installed on Acela trainsets.
Signage and boarding locations will be placed on platforms at stations along the Northeast Corridor.
In addition to aggressive enhanced cleaning protocols at stations and on trains, Amtrak has implemented new measures for the travel experience, including:
• Requiring face coverings: Amtrak requires all customers and employees to wear face masks or an alternative face covering while in stations and on board.
• Limiting bookings: This measure allows for more physical distancing in seating areas. Individuals traveling alone may use the seat next to them for personal belongings, while friends and family members will easily find seats together.
• Air Quality: All trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
• Physical distancing: Signage is on display at the busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. Protective plastic barriers also have been installed at high-volume stations.
While Amtrak accelerated the rollout of reserved seating as part of its response to the current pandemic, these enhancements will continue to be in place post-COVID-19, including on the new Acela trainsets scheduled to debut in 2021.