I arrived into Los Angeles Union Station on Amtrak Southwest Chief ( first time riding all way to LA on this route ). I wasn’t going to have a lot of time to explore station before my next train’s departure. This was my first visit to Los Angeles and it’s Union Station. I hadn’t done my homework on layout of station before my trip – so I had to get oriented and figure out where to head.
It’s actually a fairly decent walk to Amtrak ticket counter and lounge from train platforms. I’m comparing that to my experience in Chicago, Washington DC and St Louis – I didn’t have high enough ticket level or rewards status to use lounge in New York last year.
With only slight hesitation – I found Amtrak ticketing – but barely noticed sign pointing to where lounge was located. If you walk past Amtrak ticket counter and make a left you will see a set of elevators. There is also a staircase to right of elevators. Either one of these will lead you to Los Angeles Amtrak lounge.
When I was recording sign and elevators – a female Amtrak employee gave me a suspicious look – but did not say anything to me.
I wasn’t able to get great shots inside or out of lounge. Almost every time I was recording someone was heading in. Rightside elevator was in process of being fixed that day. You can hear that work taking place in video.
When you enter there is a desk where you will check in. Amtrak employee will make sure you have proper ticket allowing you privilege of lounge access. Since LA lounge is smaller than others – only ticketed passengers are allowed access. Other Amtrak lounges allow Guest Rewards members at Select Plus and Executive levels access even when not holding a ticket for travel.
At check-in you are told what time to be back inside lounge before departure. LA lounge like DC and unlike Chicago does NOT give passengers a pass to show for re-entry. There is no luggage attendant – but an area for luggage is provided near check-in desk – it’s not partially enclosed like Washington DC – it’s an open area.
When facing bookcase to your right would be seating and snacks / drinks area. Walking towards book case then to right would lead you to check-in desk and main door. There is also a door to left – that leads outside. In opposite direction of bookcase there is a closed off room and a hallway leading to bathrooms.
Since lounge was very busy that day and most passengers didn’t look happy to see my video camera – I didn’t get a recording showing everything.
After exploring Los Angeles Union Station – I made it back to lounge with just a bit of time to spare before departure. Lounge attendant made boarding call and let us know which gate – but did not walk us down to board. Some hardcore Amtrak fans call that a kindergarten walk and despise it. I personally feel it’s good customer service and makes sure first time visitors don’t get lost. Red Cap service was offered to those who needed or wanted it. Red Cap is a ride with your luggage to train.
I had no problems finding my departure platform. Boarded Amtrak Coast Starlight heading to Seattle with no problems.
Normally that would be where my long winded story would end. I rode Amtrak Empire builder back to Chicago from Seattle. While waiting for next train inside Union Station Metropolitan Lounge – I met someone interesting. A female employee was on her way out to East Coast – I think she was waiting for Capitol Limited to Washington DC – then taking a ride on Acela. It’s not unusual for traveling Amtrak employees to be in lounge.
What was so interesting about this Amtrak employee? Her job is to run Los Angeles Amtrak Metropolitan Lounge. If she hadn’t been on vacation – she would have been person I dealt with at check-in. I thought it was crazy I’d run into her in Chicago only a few days after my first visit to lounge she works in.
Recorded October 20, 2015 arrived back in Chicago Oct 25th
A few photos taken on December 15 2011 in what was Union Gallery now The Legacy Club. Keep in mind some refurbishment and updates have been done since then.
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