Business professionals turn to trains when traveling regionally for business
Monday, August 20, 2012
A growing business travel trend, rail travel is slowly becoming preferable to air travel, according to The New York Times. Professionals traveling between cities like New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and Philadelphia have increasingly been choosing Amtrak's services over airlines like Delta and US Airways.
According to Amtrak, 75 percent of travelers go by train when traveling from New York to Washington, D.C. Amtrak ridership is currently at a record-breaking 30 million people.
“On the train, you’ve got power outlets and Wi-Fi, you can talk on the phone - it’s usable time,” said George Hamlin, an aviation writer and airline consultant, in an interview for The New York Times.
Hassles such as enduring hours of no Wi-Fi access, intense security procedures and delayed arrival times have alienated business travelers from airlines. Many travelers are in a hurry to get to their next office meeting or corporate suite, so the accessibility of train travel has made it much more attractive.
In California, the future of Amtrak is still uncertain. According to the Los Angeles Times, California was recently given funding to start work on a new bullet train, which would be similar to the high-speed Acela train currently running on the East Coast.
Internationally, high speed rail continues to expand and dominate travel. Japan has long been known for its train system and progressive transportation mentality, but countries like China, South Korea and even Vietnam and Thailand are beginning to realize the advantages of rail travel.
"China, Japan and Korea are all about efficiency and high speed," Greg McCallum, national sales and marketing manager of Rail Plus, told Australia news source the Brisbane Times.
In Europe, high-speed rail has long been an option: The backpacking-friendly continent has used rail travel to attract young travelers for decades. However, business travelers staying in European corporate lodging and traveling between countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Switzerland often opt to travel by rail. Eurostar's Business Premier class caters to traveling business professionals, making high-speed business travel both convenient and luxurious.
There are many benefits to rail travel: Lower carbon emissions, more affordable costs and less hassle are a few of the commonly cited benefits of traveling by train.
"There are no middle seats, no seat belts, no forbidden electronic devices, no fuel surcharges, no fees for seat selection, no liquids ban, and train seats offer far greater comfort and personal space than any economy seat in the sky," wrote business traveler David Grossman in a column for USA Today.