This was my first time using Amtrak Club Acela in Washington DC. My first trip though DC had been 7 years ago in 2007. I recorded this video Thursday, December 11, 2014. I had a round trip though DC in 2007 – but was riding coach both ways – so not eligible for lounge access on that journey. Since I was a ticketed sleeper car passenger heading back to Chicago in DEC 2014- I was eligible.
It wasn’t easy recording this video – very busy location.
Lounge is fairly easy to find – not hidden like Los Angeles Union Station Metropolitan Lounge. In Amtrak passenger seating – gate area – look for large information counter. Right behind information desk you will find ClubAcela doors shown in my recording.
Unfortunately I couldn’t use this lounge or one in New York when riding Acela. Even though Amtrak Acela Business Class passengers pay close to or sometimes above sleeper fares. In Washington DC and New York – Acela BC riders have to stand in line – especially in DC – very limited seating available. Granted Acela BC is that trains version of Coach – just at a much more expensive price. Finding space for a lounge to accommodate that large amount of people might be problematic. Some would state that most Acela Business Class passengers earn Amtrak Guest Rewards status fast enough to gain lounge access if they want it.
From Amtrak website – “Acela Express Business Class and Northeast Regional Business Class passengers can purchase daily access passes for the ClubAcela locations at Philadelphia – 30th Street Station and Boston – South Station for $20.00 per day. Speak with a uniformed employee at the station for more information.”
That is similar to what Amtrak is doing with The Legacy Club inside Chicago Union Station.
Check-in process – just like Los Angeles – went smooth. Over years I have had hit and miss experiences in Chicago. It’s gotten better this year.
Entering Amtrak ClubAcela in Washington DC is easy but a bit different than other lounges I’ve used. There is a door bell that you press – lounge attendant will see you on camera and buzz you in. At desk you will need to present your Sleeper car ticket, Acela First Class ticket or Guest Rewards card. Unlike Chicago Metropolitan Lounge – you will not be given a lounge pass to show for re-entry.
There is no luggage attendant – but luggage storage is available in a room just behind check-in counter.
To left of check-in – you will find snacks and drinks – limited selection – nothing fancy. Unlike Chicago Metropolitan Lounge rules – ClubAcela in Washington DC has signage stating outside food consumption is prohibited in lounge. Although I witnessed several passengers breaking this rule with no consequences. Washington DC Union Station like Chicago has a large food court located one floor below Amtrak ticketing. In Chicago it’s a floor above.
I’ve never seen this option mentioned in Chicago – it would seem you can get a Amtrak Guest Rewards Select Plus and I’d assume Executive status card printed for you inside DC ClubAcela.
I got lucky – not a lot of passengers using lounge when I was recording. But it quickly got very busy and filled up not long after.
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.