The VIA Business Class Experience

I’ve traveled by train in Europe, but GO Transit has been the extent of my train experience in Canada. After receiving a VIA voucher for usage between the Windsor-Québec City corridor, I decided a trip to Montreal was in order!

I spoke with VIA’s customer service and, due to a sale, I was able to book a round trip for 2 in Business Class for free!

I was glad I arrived early to the newly renovated Panorama Lounge in Toronto. With plenty of refreshments, lounge seating and complimentary reading materials; it was fantastic!  We also had priority boarding when it was time to depart!

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Seats on the train are organized 2 per row and were comfortable and spacious. However, the seat can be reclined far back which wouldn’t give the person behind you much leg room. On the way there, I found it bumpier than expected but it was never worse in comparison to airplane turbulence (and I had been out quite late the night before for birthday celebrations which may have been a factor). On the return trip to Toronto, I had a window seat and found the ride far better.

The WiFi is satisfactory. You can easily send/receive emails and there is a plug for charging. I wouldn’t suggest streaming any live television because it will be frustrating and most likely freeze (there were a few CFL fans that were determined to watch the Grey Cup on my trip!)

The food is similar to what I’ve experienced traveling by plane. Alcohol is complimentary and there is a fair selection to choose from. The chocolates are probably the best part!

photo (10)photo (9)The service on VIA was exceptional. Even though it was a 5 and a half hour trip, it felt faster than all of the 3 hour plane rides I’ve recently experienced.

Salon Panorama at Montreal’s Central Station was not nearly as luxurious as Toronto. Yet, it did have all of the same benefits and I stocked up on more magazines! Central Station has a substantially better selection of food vendors than Union Station and is connected to the Underground City.

I would definitely travel by train again if it was a distance of less than 7 hours…but it would be difficult to sit in Economy after riding Business Class!

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Aryka’s Advice: VIA consistently has sales, including 50% off promotions,  so I would go on their website or talk to an agent before deciding my method of transportation. 50% off in Business Class is cheaper than most plane trips!


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