Fed up flyers flirt with train travel

Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:02am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - After idling for decades, train travel in the United States, while not quite out of the station, is beginning to work up a healthy head of steam.

And experts say that is thanks largely to the mounting hassles and tacked-on costs of traveling by air.

"The airlines are prompting a renewed interest in rail travel," said Margie Jordan, CEO of ASAP Travel, based in Jacksonville, Florida.

"Clients paying extra for checked bags, carry-on bags, blankets, pillows, headsets, food, drinks and, in the case of Ryanair, even to use the toilet, are looking for a less expensive option," she said. "It's nice to see the resurgence of a travel experience that had seemingly lost its luster."

Even though the pre-World War II glory days of Art Deco dining cars and streamline sophistication are long gone, Ypartnership, a travel marketing company, found that nine percent of leisure travelers reported having taken at least one train trip during the past year.

That's a hefty increase from the four-to-six percent of previous years, according to CEO Peter Yesawich. And it includes more young people.

"Traditionally train travel has been favored by the older population," he said. "But it appears to be gaining among millennials and gen-Xers. That's a surprising observation."

Not surprising is why.   Continued...

<p>Passengers ride the 5 California Zephyr Amtrak train in Nevada June 14, 2008. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>