Recently I took a trip from upstate New York to Hegins, Pennsylvania. The last time I traveled to this location I chose to drive my car because I had the whole family with me. It took just under 6 hours, but that included time for bathroom breaks and a McDonald's lunch on the way. This trip, however, I was traveling alone and wanted to either fly or take a train to avoid winter long-distance driving.
When pricing airline tickets out of the Albany airport and into Harrisburg, the lowest I could find was $411 (including fees and taxes). Travel time, including layovers for the cheapest rate was just shy of 5 hours.
When pricing train tickets out of the Albany-Rensselaer train station into Harrisburg, I could travel for $171 round trip. If I wanted to pay an extra $40, I could travel part of the way there and part of the way back in business class (I say part of the way because business class seating was not available from the second train I would have to take from NYC to Harrisburg). The total travel time was 6 hours on the way to PA and 8 hours on the way back (due to waiting times in Penn Station, to change trains).
Price alone was a major deciding factor for me, as I didn't want to spend a fortune for a short trip and because I'm a frugal person, anyway. And while I really didn't want to spend a ton of wasted time sitting in either an airport or train station waiting for the next flight or train to arrive, I knew I could utlize the time working on my laptop if I had to.
Since my typical plane experiences always involve delays, I decided the longer train ride was probably about the same as what I would actually end up with if I decided to fly - if any of the flights were delayed as they usually are when I have tickets!
I chose the train, and upgraded my seat to business class (which entitled me to free drinks and my very own electrical outlet for my laptop, as well as more comfortable seating… almost too comfortable as I found it hard to work at first and wanted to nap, rocked to sleep by the constant rocking of the train!!) It may have taken me a bit longer to get home than it would have if I flew or drove, but I saved $189 over the price of plane tickets, had more comfortable seating than I would have had on the plane, and was able to work the entire way using my laptop and the electricity provided by the train.
In my case - the train was absolutely the best option!