Amtrak Could Make Taking The Train As Uncomfortable As Flying

Image courtesy of Northwest dad

If there’s one thing that riding the rails has over flying, perhaps it’s comfort: Train passengers have a bit more legroom than on planes, and can get up and walk around at any time. We all may need to stretch our legs a bit more if Amtrak decides to pack in more seats.

The outgoing co-chief executive of Amtrak says the rail system — which is in need of a major financial boost — is thinking about possibly making it less comfortable in economy class by adding additional seats, Reuters reports.

He didn’t just say that Amtrak is considering adding more seats; he outright admitted that tightening up seat pitch — the distance between the seatback and the seat in front of it — is just one “creative” change under consideration that could make things worse for passengers.

“There will be some other things that just don’t make it quite as comfortable,” Wick Moorman told reporters at a National Press Club talk this week.

Cramped seating is likely nothing new for Amtrak’s recent hire, former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson. He joined the company as president and co-CEO on Wednesday, and will be sharing the top spot until Moorman steps down on Dec. 31.

But hey, there are some ways trains are better, Moorman notes, saying Amtrak — which had a record 31.3 million passengers last year — “competes very well with the airlines.” There’s that legroom thing, for one, and no middle seats on its heavily-traveled New York City to Washington, D.C., route. Plus, those passengers don’t have to deal with LaGuardia Airport or airport security.

Moorman noted that this seating misery may not come to fruition. But if it does, at least you’ll still be able to get up and stretch your legs without waiting for the seatbelt light to turn off.