This new and popular amenity is being offered by Amtrak to enhance the customer experience and offer more peace of mind while traveling. This latest effort to deliver a New Standard of Travel includes the expansion of Reserved Seating (formerly Seat Assignment) to Acela Business Class customers for travel beginning Monday, August 3 with no extra fees. Reserved seating, one of several improvements Amtrak has made to enhance its cleaning and safety protocols, will allow travelers to view and select their seats before traveling, including those available in the Quiet Car, and provides a snapshot of the overall crowdedness of the train. Customers and employees are required to wear face masks or an alternative facial covering while in stations and onboard trains.
“As Amtrak delivers a new standard of travel, reserved seating is one of several new initiatives we are undertaking in support of expanded health and safety protocols,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn. “By providing customers with an easier and safer boarding process that limits people moving through the trains trying to find a seat, we are able to meet customer expectations for safer travel.”
Customers will automatically be designated a seat at the time of payment and have the option to change their seat using an interactive car and seat map on the Amtrak app or Amtrak.com. As part of Amtrak’s commitment to keeping customers safe, only window seats will be available for booking while Acela operates at a reduced capacity. Aisle and rear-facing table seats will appear as blocked in the customer seat maps. Customers traveling with companions or in groups will have designated reserved seats in separate rows, but may choose to sit together while onboard.
Station and contact center agents and conductors are also able to modify customers’ seat assignments. To assist customers with finding their reserved car and seat locations, exterior and on-board signage will be installed on Acela trains. Signage and boarding locations will be placed on platforms at stations along the Northeast Corridor (NEC).
In addition to aggressive steps to enhanced cleaning protocols at stations and on trains, Amtrak has implemented new measures to deliver a New Standard of Travel, including:
- Requiring face coverings: Amtrak requires all customers and employees to wear face masks or an alternative face covering while in stations and on board.
- Limiting bookings: We are limiting bookings on most trains to allow for more physical distancing in seating areas. Individuals traveling alone may use the seat next to them for personal belongings, while friends and family members will easily find seats together.
- Air Quality: All of our trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
- Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our busiest stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, protective plastic barriers have been installed at customer counters at our busiest stations.
While Amtrak accelerated the rollout of reserved seating as part of its response to the current pandemic, this enhancement will continue to be in place post-COVID-19, including on the new Acela train sets set to debut in 2021. Amtrak will continue to evaluate the program through customer and employee feedback.