After spending two nights in San Diego, it was time to leave and head up to Los Angeles for dinner with the family for my Grandmother’s 86th birthday. I booked Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner Train 777 two days ago and upgraded myself to Business Class using the last upgrade coupon I had from Amtrak Guest Rewards. Amtrak’s reservation system showed that Train 777 was completely sold out in Business Class today so I lucked out in snagging the Business Class Upgrade 48 hours before departure. Two days ago when I called in for the upgrade, there were only 4 Business Class seats left on train 777.
I checked out of Four Points By Sheraton San Diego Downtown and took an Uber from the hotel to Santa Fe Depot Station about an hour before departure time of the train. I headed inside of the station and out the back to where the boarding lines for Business Class and Coach are setup. Unlike other stations along the Pacific Surfliner’s route, passengers must lineup outside to board the train at San Diego Santa Fe Depot Station. This boarding process is unique to San Diego. At all other Pacific Surfliner stations, passengers have free access to the platform without having to wait in any boarding lines.
Our train arrived on time into San Diego, and once everyone got off of the train and once the new crew members took control of the train from the previous crew, pre-boarding started with the mobility impaired passengers being driven by cart to the train. Generally, boarding begins about 15 minutes before train departure time. After passengers with mobility impairment have been boarded, boarding for Business Class passengers was called. I was the first passenger in line and the first Business Class passenger to board the train. I asked the conductor if the Superliner Car was being used for Business Class today and he said yes but only up to the closed curtain.
Late last year, Amtrak began testing running the Pacific Surfliner Trains with two Business Class cars instead of just one. The Superliner Car, which used to be attached behind the coach/baggage car and used for Coach passengers was moved and attached to the Surfliner Business Class Car. The experiment was supposed to be temporary but the two Business Class Car operation continued with some modifications. Amtrak added a divider curtain in the middle of the Superliner Car for more flexibility. So when Business Class is full, the curtain will be drawn and half of the Superliner Car would be dedicated to Business Class and the other half to Coach. Now if Business Class is not fully sold out but Coach is, then the Superliner would be used for Coach passengers. The Superliner Cars are Amtrak Long Distance equipment which have nicer seats and more legroom than the regular Surfliner Coach Cars. The seats in the Superliner Cars are better than the Business Class Seats on the Surfliner Business Class Car in my opinion.
I decided to take this opportunity and try out the Superliner Business Class today instead of the usual Surfliner Business Class. Boarding for Business Class on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner for both the Superliner and the Surfliner Cars is through the Surfliner Business Class car. You can not enter or exit from the Superliner Car which does not have automated doors that the conductor opens and closes from a panel inside the cars. I placed my luggage on the lower level luggage rack and headed upstairs and into the Superliner Car and found myself a seat on the ocean view side of the train.
All seats in the Superliner Car have power sockets, tray tables, and recline but are missing footrests which the Surfliner Business Class seats have. In the Superliner Car, the lights are dimmer than the other cars and the intercom system is more pleasant to the ears than the “HEAR ME NOW” loud system in the other cars. If you are looking for a quieter ride, I would suggest you sit in the Superliner Business Class vs the Surfliner one. One thing I did notice that could be a problem for someone looking to use their laptop computers is that the tray tables in the Superliner are not designed for using 15 inch laptop computers. If you need to work on your computer, the Sufliner Business Class with the much bigger tray tables is the better option.
We pulled out of Santa Fe Depot on time. Shortly after departing, the conductor came through the car scanning tickets and placing seat checks above everyone’s seat. The Business Class attendant came by afterwards with a tray of drinks for the Business Class passengers. I decided to go with the white wine. Business Class snack packs were delivered to my seat while I was away at the cafe getting some lunch. Both the wine and the snack packs are included in the price of your Business Class ticket aboard Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.
I was starting to get hungry now since it is noon and I skipped breakfast this morning. I headed to the cafe car which is on the lower level of car number 3. I grabbed a jalapeño cheeseburger from the fridge along with a Diet Pepsi and Potato Chips. The cafe car attendant microwaved the cheeseburger for me and placed all of the items in a cardboard box tray for easier carry back to my seat. None of the items that I chose for lunch was good for me but they sure tasted good. While not something I would eat regularly, but once in a while, microwaved burgers are not bad at all. Might be that I grew up eating microwaved snacks purchased in bulk from Costco, that sometime I just want a microwaved unhealthy treat.
After lunch, I reclined my seat and enjoyed the ocean view passing by outside. Somewhere around Oceanside, I did fall asleep for a bit but not for too long. After the short nap, I decided to walk around a bit and take some pictures for this report. I went into the Surfliner Business Class car where the coffee and tea station is located. The Business Class attendant had setup snacks for people to help themselves and also left the morning pastries out as well. Each Business Class attendant have their little quirks and some will add their own little touches to the snack station, while some attendants follow the rules to the letter.
I have written about the amenities aboard Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner on a previous post which you can read about here: Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Amenities
After a 2 hour and 45 minute laid back journey from San Diego, Pacific Surfliner Train 777 arrived into Los Angeles Union Station on time. I got off of the train and headed directly to Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge to have them look after my luggage before taking Metro Rail to my brothers apartment where my parents would meet us and we would take one car to the restaurant.