With Vancouver so close to Seattle, how could I pass up the opportunity to visit Canada?
From Seattle to Vancouver, there are three realistic options: Planes, trains, and automobiles. (Sadly, “boat” is unlikely to be very timely.) As a truck had recently caused a bridge carrying I-5 to collapse, driving seemed potentially out of the question, so I looked at my options for Amtrak and Alaska Airlines.
Amtrak has a fantastically generous award chart on its “special routes,” 1.5k points for a coach one-way and 2k points for a business class one-way. Amtrak was selling seats for $81 each the night before, so I was happy booking two with points instead. With the low marginal cost of 500 points per ticket, I splurged on business class. I’m glad I did:
- Business Class has its own check-in line at Seattle King Street Station. In contrast, the coach line was still a sea of humanity minutes before boarding.
- Business Class is allowed first off the train and consequently, first through Canadian immigration.
- These tickets come with a $5 voucher for the cafe car. While prices aren’t terrific, we didn’t have the luxury of time on our way from the hotel to the station.
Unlike the Amfleet cars that I see all too often on the NEC, the Cascades train has a unique livery.
The seats can’t rival p.s. Business Class, but they’re far better than coach on an airplane.
Overall, the train took 4 hours; it’s agonizingly slow compared to New York-Washington on the NEC. I slept on the train, just as I was going to if I had stayed at the hotel.