Amtrak business class passengers should be given First Class lounge access in St Louis

For those of you haven’t seen inside Amtrak St Louis Gateway Station First Class Lounge – here is what it looks like. St Louis is a great example of inconsistency with Amtrak service. From station to station – crew to crew – passenger experience is different – rules are enforced differently.

Granted it took a number of years and complaining before Business Class riders were given access to Metropolitan Lounge in Union Station Chicago. Now Business Class passengers catching train home or connecting train can wait inside lounge. For many years this was not allowed. Although Business Class was always given priority boarding in Chicago.

Lounge access and priority boarding are perks not available in St Louis. First Class lounge access excuse has always been stated to be – to small a space. Personally I’ve only seen lounge used twice in the years I’ve traveled in and out of this station. Even with 2 trains of Business Class passengers waiting – I think space could handle that – maybe a bit crowded with 30 or so people. Honestly not sure why area was made small to begin with. Then again not sure why it was built – rarely seen it used. Of course I’m never in station when Texas Eagle sleeper car passengers are waiting for their train.

A quote from a previous article I wrote.

Yes it is a smaller lounge with no attendant – but why shouldn’t St Louis Business Class riders get the same privileges as those who depart from Chicago? Many will be traveling same amount of miles on the route. Why should one Business Class ticket holder get more for their money over another on same train?

I only got St Louis lounge access after receiving a ClubAcela Single Day pass when I made Select status for Amtrak Rewards program. Pass has a horrible name and shows how focused Amtrak is on eastcoast services only. It’s actually good for ClubAcela, First Class and Metropolitan Lounges in stations that have them.

From a previous conversation my girlfriend had with a female St Louis Amtrak ticket agent – I figured it was going to be a hassle for me to use a ClubAcela Single Day pass. That employee stated she had never heard of the pass and didn’t think it would be valid for access to First Class lounge. It clearly states on pass that it is valid – I wasn’t aware of that at the time.

Male Amtrak employee did make process slightly more involved than it needed to be – especially considering how he treated another First Class lounge passenger. That passenger walked up – waved at ticket agent and then headed for lounge. I had to provide a photo ID and when I thought I was going to get attitude – provided my Amtrak Rewards Select card. Figured I was in for an argument when he stated St Louis didn’t have a ClubAcela – like I was stupid and didn’t know that. My comment back was you DO have a First Class lounge. It was then he started writing door code on pass for me. I also made sure to make him aware I knew their lounge was not like one in Chicago. Which got a smile from him. Honestly I think because I was dressed casual – he was stereotyping and that is why he ran me through hoops.

I shared lounge with a man heading back to Los Angeles after visiting friends in St Louis. He was Riding Missouri River Runner Business Class to Kansas City. Then boarding Amtrak Southwest Chief to get home. This was person who just nodded to get OK to head to lounge.

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