Travel notes: Amtrak schedule, Baltimore Washington parking, Southwest upgrades

The Acela assembly site in New York state. Photo courtesy of Amtrak

Amtrak unveiled its summer schedule featuring the most Acela frequencies since the onset of the pandemic and Northeast Regional departures nearing 80% of pre-pandemic service levels. 

The new summer schedule also includes restoring four long-distance trains to daily service.

Amtrak, which employs about 1,000  in Delaware, added more than 1,500 new employees this year in gearing up for the expansion.

“Thanks to our existing dedicated employees and newly-hired staff, we are thrilled to expand our scheduled service just in time to meet customers’ rising demand for travel this summer,” said Stephen Gardner, CEO of Amtrak. “We are recruiting and training additional employees nationwide to accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and support service growth.

The following services will be available in the Northeast, with the following service for trains that typically stop in Wilmington.


Effective immediately:

  • 13 roundtrips per weekday between Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • 9 roundtrips every Saturday between Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • 14 roundtrips every Sunday between Washington, D.C., and New York City

Effective May 23:

Representing the most Acela frequencies since the beginning of the pandemic, Acela will offer expanded service between Washington, D.C., and Boston

  • 10 roundtrips per weekday between Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • 4 roundtrips every Saturday between Washington, D.C., and New York City
  • 6 roundtrips every Sunday between Washington, D.C., and New York City

The following long-distance service will be offered effective May 23:

  • Daily service:  Palmetto, Silver Star.
  • 5 departures/week: Crescent
  • 3 departures/week: Cardinal
  • Silver Meteor: Interim service continues to be provided daily via Silver Star, Palmetto, Carolinian, and Northeast Regional

Amtrak anticipates the announcement of additional service for summer travel later this spring.

Express lot reopens at BWI

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport reopened its Express Parking earlier this month.

Opening the Express Parking lot provides 1,400 additional parking spaces for passengers before summer, as air travel rebounds. Express Parking was temporarily closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Express Parking offers an additional option for BWI Marshall customers close and convenient to the airport terminal, with frequent shuttle service. The rate for Express Parking is $10 per day. Express Parking operates as a touchless service, with credit card-only payments. Customers must use a credit card for entry and exit.

BWI offers less expensive on airport parking than Philadelphia International.

For northern Delaware travelers, that compensates for the $16 in I-95 tolls paid to the state of Maryland.

 Southwest to spend $2 billion on tech and other improvements

Southwest Airlines Co. plans to spend $2 billion to upgrade its WiFi and other passenger services. Southwest operates a limited number of flights from Philadelphia and has a focus city hub at Baltimore-Washington.

Upgrades include

  • -Enhanced WiFi connectivity onboard aircraft;
  • – Install latest-technology onboard power ports to charge personal devices at every seat;
  • – Offer larger overhead bins with more space and easier access to carryon items;
  • – Launch a new fare category with added flexibility.
  • – Introduce more entertainment options and a wider selection of refreshments in the cabin.
  • – Enable new self-service capabilities.

“You can never stop working to get better, and as our beloved Founder Herb famously said, ‘If you rest on your laurels, you’ll get a thorn in your butt!’ We have a long and proud history of offering legendary customer service and warm hospitality, and we have bold plans and significant investments to modernize and enhance the Southwest Experience,” said new CEO Bob Jordan.

Southwest stopped short of installing TV monitors on seatbacks. After all, many passengers come with their laptops and tablets.

The airline needs to attract more business travelers who want the services, especially with recent fare increases that are beginning to price some leisure travelers out of the market.

Further information is available at

Southwest noted that it was first major airline in the United States to offer satellite-based connectivity on domestic flights. The technology brought free live TV, streamed on individual devices.