Business vs. Economy: VIA Rail Service Classes

Aug 30, 2013
We recently went out east and experienced both economy and business class on the VIA Rail journeys between Quebec City and Toronto (with stops in Montreal and Ottawa).

We all found both classes very good in their own way.

Business Class: Quebec City to Montreal (3 hours), Ottawa to Toronto (5 hours via Kingston)
Economy Class: Montreal to Ottawa (2 hours)

Our vote is split between the two. Though we prefer to go with Business class, we would be just as happy with Economy if on a budget.

The seating arrangements are nearly identical with plenty of legroom and we managed to fall asleep in both classes, which meant the seats were definitely comfortable (and reclined)! We took advantage of the outlets and power points available near your seat for charging your cellphone or laptop. The oversized windows are also identical in length and width between both classes.

The advantages of Business class are:

Meals and alcoholic beverages are included
Access to the Panorama Lounge at the station where applicable
   Complimentary newspapers
   Free Wi-fi access
   Complimentary juice, pop, coffee and other hot drinks
Priority boarding

If we were to take the train again, we would go Business purely because of the meals we enjoyed and alcoholic beverages included in the fare. Having access to the Panorama Lounge is a nice benefit, rather than waiting with the rest of the crowds - especially handy in Toronto and Montreal. Additionally, the priority boarding is great since you do not have to join the massive line that those travelling Economy will have to face.

One thing to note when disembarking at Ottawa, you will need to retrieve your baggage on the platform. There are no baggage conveyor belts at the station.

The final word? Ride Business class if your journey is longer and choose Economy to complement your budget, shorter travel time, and if you're not fussy for paying additional for other food.

For more information on business class travel with applicable VIA Rail journeys, please visit here.

by Cyndy, Yukiko & Daniel
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