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Brightline High Speed ​​​​Train in Florida, Premium Ticket Upgrade

I enjoyed a cool, clean, and fast ride on the Brightline high-speed train in Florida.
Molly O'Brien/Business Insider

  • Brightline, a high-speed rail service operating in Florida, offers an alternative to road and air travel.
  • The rail line offers trips between Orlando and Miami with stops along the way.
  • A premium ticket offers premium amenities such as snacks, drinks and access to a dedicated lounge.

Florida residents and visitors to the state now have a competitive alternative to road and air travel.

Brightline, a high-speed rail service that runs between Orlando and Miami – with four stops in between and more planned – offers a clean, cool and comfortable way to travel in the Sunshine State.

The rail line began operating in 2018 with stops in South Florida and expanded to Orlando in late 2023.

The drive from Orlando to Miami takes approximately three hours and thirty minutes from end to end. According to Google Maps, the drive over the same route would take about four hours (or longer if there is a lot of traffic).

On a sunny Saturday in March, I took a Brightline train from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. When I purchased tickets, prices ranged from $10 to $44 for the 36-minute ride.

I decided to treat myself to a premium ticket for $44 – $20 more than a regular ticket – and I'm glad I did.

The included snacks and drinks, extra space and access to a dedicated lounge before boarding made the trip a first-class experience.

This is how my Brightline journey went from end to end.

A spacious lobby welcomes passengers to the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station.

The lobby of the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station was bright and sunny.
Molly O'Brien

Even though this station has been open for a few years, the building looked very clean and new. Large windows allowed sunlight to flood the spacious lobby.

A digital board clearly displayed the arrival and departure times.

Arrival and departure signs were easy to see and read.
Molly O'Brien

Trips can be booked through Brightline's app or website, or in person at an automated ticket kiosk.

It was also easy to view Brightline train departure and arrival times.

The artwork in the lobby was vibrant and fun.

Colorful maps of the regions Brightline serves lined the walls of the Fort Lauderdale train station.
Molly O'Brien

Although the lobby had a rather minimalist design, I liked the colorful maps on the walls.

The security check was a breeze.

The security checkpoint at the Brightline station in Fort Lauderdale.
Molly O'Brien

The security check went quickly and smoothly.

During my visit, passengers had to pass through a metal detector and their luggage was scanned. Unlike the TSA line at the airport, I didn't have to take off my shoes.

After going through security, I found a bar area where I could wait for my train.

The bar at the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station.
Molly O'Brien

Food and beverages, including signature cocktails, are available for purchase at Mary Mary Bar at the Brightline Station in Fort Lauderdale.

The nearby shop with drinks and snacks was also well stocked.

There were plenty of snacks and drinks for sale in the waiting area.
Molly O'Brien

As a premium ticket holder, I was able to use these options on the way to an exclusive lounge that I had access to with my ticket.

The premium lounge was airy and bright.

The premium lounge's floor-to-ceiling windows offered breathtaking views of the city skyline.
Molly O'Brien

Although all tickets include access to free Wi-Fi, power outlets and a free carry-on bag, those who upgrade to a premium ticket also enjoy some additional amenities, including access to the station's premium lounge before departure.

Hot and cold food was available – and included in the price of my ticket.

A breakfast buffet in the premium lounge of a Brightline station in Florida.
Molly O'Brien

The breakfast buffet offered during my visit exceeded my expectations. There were hot eggs, sausages, fruit salad and potatoes to be won.

The exhibition was also pretty and even decorated with flowers.

I also found a high-tech coffee maker that serves lattes and tea.

A coffee maker in the premium lounge at the Fort Lauderdale Brightline Station.
Molly O'Brien

Coffee, tea and other warm drinks were available at the touch of a button – all free in the premium lounge.

Wine and beer were also available on tap.

Free drinks were available in the lounge.
Molly O'Brien

A selection of wines and beers were available at self-service taps in the Premium Lounge.

Once I had something to eat, I grabbed a seat near one of the windows.

The view was too beautiful not to photograph during my breakfast.
Molly O'Brien

The premium lounge had plenty of seating options and wasn't too crowded during my visit. Overall, this first-class experience exceeded my expectations before we even boarded.

There was a separate staircase near the premium lounge for passengers to board the train.

The author in front of the Premium Lounge at the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station.
Molly O'Brien

Finally it was time for me to board my train, which was scheduled to leave at 11:30am

Some passengers were already accommodated when I boarded the train.

The hallway was wide and easy to walk down.
Molly O'Brien

There were two seats on one side of the car and one seat on the other.

My carriage was fairly full but didn't feel cramped as there was so much room to spread out.

The seats were comfortable and spacious.

The premium seats were spacious and comfortable.
Molly O'Brien

Those with a premium ticket have access to 21-inch leather seats. For comparison, the Smart Fare (Brightline's business class option) has 19-inch seats.

All seats have access to free Wi-Fi and multiple power and USB Type-A or USB Type-C outlets.

My seat gave me plenty of space to relax.

The author enjoys a cool, comfortable ride on the Brightline train.
Molly O'Brien

After boarding the train, I settled into my seat in the very first carriage.

I was quickly greeted by the Brightline representative who would take care of the car.

The tray tables at each seat were large, which was helpful when the free snacks arrived.

Other free snacks are available on the train.
Molly O'Brien

Free snacks and drinks were included with premium tickets.

Snacks included popcorn, a fruit bar, chocolate and a cheese stick. There were also various drinks available for me to order and I chose a sparkling wine.

Those who do not book premium seats can purchase discounts on board.

The ride on Florida's Brightline was relaxing.

The view from the window of a Brightline train in Florida.
Molly O'Brien

I enjoy Train journey Because I feel like it's relaxing and there's so much to see outside the windows and this trip didn't disappoint.

The toilets on the train were also spacious and clean.

The toilet was clean and spacious.
Molly O'Brien

The onboard bathroom near me was super spacious and seemed clean.

There was enough storage space for bags on board.

There was sufficient luggage storage.
Molly O'Brien

I was impressed by how much space there was on the train for passengers' luggage. There were also bike racks for those who wish to travel with a set of wheels.

The journey was pleasant and the time passed quickly.

The author on a Brightine train.
Molly O'Brien

My train took just 36 minutes for the approximately 46-mile trip from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach – according to Google Maps, the drive can take anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic.

When I arrived at the West Palm Beach train station, I was a little depressed because I had enjoyed the ride so much.

My server said goodbye as I reached my destination.
Molly O'Brien

When it was time to get off, I quickly gathered my things and got off the train.

I just wish the journey wasn't so quick. I really enjoyed looking out the window and the ride felt like a relaxing way to travel.

The West Palm Beach train station was also clean and bright.

Leaving the train was just as smooth as boarding.
Molly O'Brien

The train station in West Palm Beach was similar in style to the train station in Fort Lauderdale where my journey began. There were signs clearly showing where travelers might need to go next.

I had a great trip and would travel with Brightline again.

Overall, I had a lot of fun driving Brightline.
Molly O'Brien

Although ticket prices vary depending on the length of the ride, the date, and the time of day of the riders, I think my ride was great value at $44.

The $20 extra for the premium ticket was totally worth it because of the additional amenities I enjoyed.

Finally, I also liked how quickly I reached my destination – the drive probably would have taken longer and I wouldn't have been able to relax because I would be concentrating on the road.

Anna Harden

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