Depending on your next Amtrak adventure, an Amtrak lounge could be part of your next rail journey!
Visiting an Amtrak lounge can add a special touch to your experience, for they are a comfortable place to wait for your train.
This article covers what passengers can use Amtrak lounges, what stations have and offer them, and more.
There are two lounges within the Amtrak system: staffed and unstaffed.
No matter what kind of lounge is at the station, this article will help with your prep.
Due to the pandemic, Amtrak may not offer all services discussed in this article, and some lounges may be temporarily closed. Please adjust your expectations accordingly.
Do you qualify to use an Amtrak lounge?
There are several ways for you to qualify to use an Amtrak Lounge.
- Select Plus and Select Executive Amtrak Guest Rewards members with a valid member card and a ticket for same-day travel.
- Amtrak passengers with a same-day travel ticket (departure or arrival) in Acela First Class or sleeping car accommodations.
- Chicago Union Station Lounge is for sleeper and business class passengers as part of their ticket.
- Complimentary Single-Visit Station Lounge Pass holders may access staffed and unstaffed Lounge locations.
- Private car owners/lessee and their party may use them between arrival and departure times specified in the reservation. Provide your reservation number to the lounge agent.
- Due to space limited in Los Angeles Union Station’s Metropolitan Lounge may restrict the size of a private car party in the lounge.
- Some passengers can purchase day passes, and more info is below.
Who can purchase lounge day passes
Business Class Passengers
Business Class passengers can purchase day passes at:
- Philadelphia’s William H Gray III 30th Street Station $35
- Boston’s South Station for $35 per day
- New York Moynihan Train Hall for $50 per day
All Amtrak Passengers at Chicago Union Station
Amtrak coach passengers can purchase a day pass for $35 their day of travel; business class and sleeper passengers already have access.
How to purchase a day pass
See a station agent when you get there if you want to purchase a day pass at any of these stations.
Amtrak may limit the number of passes sold due to space availability.
Amtrak unstaffed lounge
Unstaffed lounges do not have an attendant but provide a place for you to wait for your train and, in some cases, allow for priority boarding. Go to the ticket counter for assistance if you need help while using these lounges.
These lounges often provide coffee and snacks, subject to availability.
|Station||Sleeper Passengers||Business Class|
|New Orleans, LA (NOL)|
|St Louis, MO (STL)||Yes||Yes|
|St Paul, MN (MSP)||Yes||No|
Ask an Amtrak employee for the lounge location and hours. In the case of the Magnolia Room in New Orleans, you need a code to enter that is available from the ticket agents.
My experience with the Magnolia Lounge in NOL
My only experience with an unstaffed Amtrak Lounge was The Magnolia Lounge in New Orleans.
Amtrak had complimentary coffee, comfortable seating, and a few outlets for charging.
Amtrak staff informed those of us using the lounge when it was time to board the train.
The lounge had a small area for kids. While the lounge was nothing too exciting, it was nice to have less traffic and a more secure place to leave my bag for a second.
Offerings at Amtrak staffed lounges.
Lounges give you a place to relax and enjoy comfortable seating.
While waiting for your train, you can enjoy complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and free WiFi.
Most lounges give you a place to store your bag, but these areas are often unsupervised.
Attendants are available to assist with reservations, ticketing, and local information.
The food offered is usually pretzels, chips, muffins, fresh fruit, sweet rolls, and other tasty treats. The food offering will vary from lounge to lounge.
Lounges, like New York and Chicago, may offer a greater variety of food and snacks, although, during that pandemic, Amtrak cut back much of these services,
Lounges have bathrooms, so they are close, and you do not have to leave if you have “to go.” Some lounges
As lounges get updated, USB charging stations are more plentiful, along with computer outlets.
Amtrak may suspend some food service, so plan accordingly.
Amtrak lounges hours and locations
|Station||Hours of Operation||Location|
|Boston, MA (BOS)|
Boston South Station
|5:30 am – 9:30 pm, daily||Between the ticket office and the information booth|
|Chicago, IL (CHI)|
Chicago Union Station
|6:00 am – 9:00 pm, daily||In the hallway leading to the Great Hall|
|Los Angeles, CA (LAX)|
Los Angeles Union Station
|5:00 am – 10:00 pm, daily||On the second floor, above the ticket office, walk toward the car rental booths; then take a left. From there, head up the stairs or take the elevator.|
|Philadelphia, PA (PHL)|
William H Gray III 30th Street Station
|6:30 am – 9:00 pm daily||End of the hall behind stairway 1, then up the stairs|
|Portland, OR (PDX)|
Portland Union Station
|9:30 am – 5:40 pm, daily||Inside the boarding area at gate 5|
|New York, NY (NYP)|
New York Penn Station
Moynihan Train Hall
|5:00 am – 9:30 pm |
Monday to Friday
7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday
full-service bar open
11:00 am – 7:00 pm daily
|Washington, DC (WAS)|
Washington Union Station
|4:30 am – 9:30 pm|
Monday – Friday
5:00 am – 9:30 pm
Saturday – Sunday
|Behind the information booth, between gates D and E|
My Lounge Experiences
Washington DC’s lounge can be bustling, and other times it’s a ghost town.
You can store luggage in an unsupervised storage area just past the front desk at this lounge.
This lounge has two levels with places under the “plants” (see photo) to store luggage. Amtrak recently upgraded this lounge with new furniture and light cosmetic upgrades.
The Los Angeles lounge is a little tricky to find but worth finding.
The lounge is on the second story, so you need to use the elevator or the stairs to reach this second-story lounge.
The attendant stores your luggage behind the desk or in the conference room, so it is safe if you want to walk around without lugging your bags.
There are a few available souvenirs in the lounge. Often they have cookies and fruit for snacks, plus things to drink like coffee, soda (pop), tea, and water.
Often “red caps” can help you get from the lounge to your station or bus, depending on where you are going.
The Philadelphia lounge offers a nice place to rest and wait for your train.
One nice thing about this lounge is for most trains, you can go from the lounge directly to the platform via elevators.
This lounge is on a balcony that offers a view of the hustle and bustle of the station.
The last time I was there, desks were available if you needed a place to work.
The Portland Union Station is neat and quaint.
The lounge offers an unsupervised place for your gear, and the last time I was there, there was no food, but there were beverages.
It is a relaxing place to sit back and wait for the Empire Builder or the Coast Starlight.
This lounge is toward the back of the station and near gate 5, where you board the train. If you are leaving this station, it is a short walk to the train.
Chicago offers a little more than the average lounge, but it is the biggest hub for Amtrak’s long-distance trains and hosts the midwest corridor. This station provides an excellent selection of snacks for passengers to enjoy.
The Chicago Union Lounge has TVs and schedule boards throughout the lounge. So you can keep an eye on departure times and track information.
Soft drinks, coffee machines, and various snacks are available on the lower level, with water dispensers on both floors (or there were before the pandemic),
Chicago’s lounge also offers showers, talk to the lounge attendant if you wish to use it, and unstaffed baggage storage. The upper lounge is the “quiet area.”
How to use Amtrak Lounges
Getting into an Amtrak-staffed lounge
Using an Amtrak lounge is easy. Here are a few tidbits you should know for your first visit.
Some staffed Amtrak lounges require you to use a doorbell for access, so if the door is locked, look for the button.
To save time at the desk, prepare your boarding information to show the agent before entering or while you wait in line.
After entering the lounge, check-in at the desk with the agent by showing them your ticket; they will check to ensure you are there on the right day and inform you what you need for your train.
The attendant may mark your ticket during check-in to show you already checked in if you leave and return.
Once in the lounge
After check-in, feel free to walk around and familiarize yourself with the amenities. You are welcome to partake in the food and drinks.
After looking around and obtaining a snack and drink, find a place to sit and enjoy. There is free WI-FI, but depending on how many people are using it, it might be slower than you want.
As I have traveled over the years, I noticed that the WiFi has improved, but it is complimentary, so you can’t complain too much.
As you wait, watch the time and arrival/departure monitors to see how your train is doing.
Keep an ear out for any early announcement or at least one person in your travel party.
Close to your departure time, like 30-45 minutes prior if you are at the start of a route, turn down your volume levels on your headphones, avoid phone calls, and pay attention to announcements. Trains can load trains early at Portland (PDX), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (CHI), New York Penn (NYP), Boston South (BOS), and Washington DC (WAS) for the Capital Limited.
Before leaving the lounge for food (or drink), ask if you can bring outside food back into the lounge; this can vary at different lounges. It’s less frustrating if you know you can or cannot bring food into the lounge ahead of time than learning that fact with your food in hand.
What you should not do in an Amtrak Lounge
Most of this is common sense; some of it is my opinion, but I will still throw this out there.
I hope this section does not come across as judgmental; the moral of the story is to be considerate of your fellow passengers and the staff.
Remember, Amtrak lounges are shared spaces.
Be respectful, and remember this is a shared space. You may need to rearrange your bag, which takes up space, and that is alright as long as you consider others and do not leave your belongings all over.
Especially if the lounges are busy, don’t sleep or sprawl out on the couches or put your feet on the furniture.
We might do this at home, I do, but it’s not cool when you are in a public space.
Besides, people don’t want to put their food and drink on a table where you just placed your feet.
Please clean up after yourself; it does not take that much effort. It is incredible how many people leave messes.
Remember that the food in the lounge is for more than just you; it is not there for you to stockpile for your trip.
Using Electronics in a lounge
When it comes to electronics, use headphones!
Keep phone calls short or find an area that will not disturb others.
Using the speakerphone option on your phone is disruptive to others; headphones can help instead.
Video calling (Facetime, Skype, etc.) is okay if you follow the same rules.
People sometimes do not realize how loud they are when talking on the phone and what information they accidentally share with others.
Sadly this section is based on the experience I had with other passengers.
Remember, if I can travel, you can too!