This week I travel from Ottawa to Montreal. I could drive, it’s about 2 hours. I could fly, but then I land about 30 mins out of downtown and have to deal with all the usual overhead of air travel not to mention Montreal drivers (although at least they are predictable, they always cut you off ) or I can take the train. If you live in the Montreal/Ottawa/Toronto corridor, you know the answer to this. YOU TAKE THE TRAIN! Via First! I don’t have status on airlines (well I have enough status to get a different card and a polite smile on check-in but that’s about it). So for me travelling first class on the train which is still cheaper than flying and about the same cost as charging in mileage, rocks!
Via One, is not the same as travelling economy on the train, there is no standing in line to get a good seat. Seats are assigned, you can request window or aisle. You can show up 10 minutes before the train leaves and just walk onto the train when it arrives, so you don’t have the ‘hurry up and wait’ syndrome that is so common during travel. You sit on the train and grab one of the lap desks for your laptop as you walk to your assigned seat. The lap desk gives you room for a mouse, and your drink while preventing premature infertility due to overheating of your lap.
Once you have settled into your seat and plugged in your laptop, you connect to the free wi-fi. Then someone comes by with the menu and you select your main course and something to drink and you are not limited to tea, coffee, and juice how about a nice glass of wine in an actual glass! or Metal cutlery to cut through your quiche or lasagna. I guess they aren’t worried about anyone hijacking a train (I’m hijacking the train go…uhh..that way down those train tracks…and don’t stop in Alexandria or else bwa ha ha!), you can probably bring nail clippers on a train if you want to, and bottles of shampoo that contain more than 50 mL of liquid.
The seats recline more than 6.5 degrees so if you feel like a snooze after having your chocolate truffle to finish off your meal you are all set (of course it helps if the train isn’t full, because the person behind you may not appreciate having your head in their lap).
Only a two hour train ride, so you would think not much time to get work done. But of course this is not a plane, you don’t have to wait until the seat belt sign has been extinguished to open your laptop. If you want you can talk on your cell phone from the moment you board the train until you walk off the platform at your destination (this may cause fellow passengers to want to pelt you with their chocolate truffles, but it is an option)
If train travel was like this in more places, the airlines would be in big trouble! I even debate whether to take the train to Toronto a 4 hour train ride vs a 1 hr flight.
The other thing I love about trains is that the stations are often right downtown. In Montreal I step off the train, walk into the station and across the hall to the hotel elevator. This is the way to travel!
So Thursday when I go home to Ottawa, my toughest decision will be which breakfast pastry to have with my hot breakfast and whether to take a conference call enroute or just sit back and watch a movie on my laptop. Sometimes travel isn’t so bad after all.