Responding to strong passenger interest, Amtrak is launching today a major expansion of its free AmtrakConnectSM Wi-Fi service to 12 East Coast routes. As a result, trains that carry nearly 60 percent of all Amtrak passengers now have Wi-Fi connections.
Even if I am somewhat astounded, I can't help but note how important 24/7 access to the internet appears to be to some, as with so many infrequent and first time Amtrak travelers the inquiry "is wi-fi available?" made. I have seen consternation on-board; I can't forget how aboard Auto Train this past February, I was sitting at a table in the Lounge for the pre-departure wine tasting and this Mother and teen age daughter sit down on the opposite side. The girl was "at the wailing wall' when she learned that the wi-fi was only good at Lorton and not en-route; she hustles off to their room. The Mother tells me "thank goodness you said something; she has school assignments to prepare and she must have on-line in order to get them done".
To me it sounds as if they were "expecting' that wi-fi would be available.
Personally, I could care less; to be "a day or two" without being on-line is "no biggie'. Most any hotel at which I have occasion to stay during the 21 or so nights a year I'm out of town has a Business Center or Lobby computer; sometimes you have to pay, sometimes not. But I should be prepared to accept that those younger than my age 70+ demographic, it "is a biggie' and is just as expected on-board as is working HVAC and toilet facilities.
Needless to say, the only computer I own is this Dell desktop from which I now write; so I have to ask in all sincerity, is this "need" for wi-fi as prevalent through any societal demographic or is it mostly within a young, computer savvy demographic that frequent blog sites such as here?
I of course note that Amtrak is spending "heap big wampum" to add wi-fi to its fleet. It almost seems to me that Amtrak was slow to "wake up and smell the other guy's coffee brewing' and that if they don't get their own kettle on the fire, they will lose many a potential rider.