Wow. Just for comparison I looked at the timetable & rates for me to take Amtrak to Phoenix in May.
For $0.73 less than flying SWA, I can get there on Amtrak. Of course, I would have to leave Monday at 7:50 am, and I would get to Chicago 45 minutes *after* the train to Arizona left, so I'd have a 23 hour layover.
Then I'd finally board the train to AZ on Tuesday at 3:15 and ride it for 31.5 hours. I'd arrive in Flagstaff, AZ at 9 pm and have to "Self Transfer" from the Amtrak station to the Greyhound station. This means walk my ass the 1/2 mile from one to the other in the middle of the night. That should be fun. They always put the bus station in the best part of town!
Then I'd get on a Greyhound to take me the rest of the way to Phoenix, arriving at 2:30 am on Thursday.
67 hours of travel, and I'm getting there over 12 hours earlier than I wanted to be. Ugh.
And that's just looking at getting there. I didn't have the energy to figure out the return trip.
Now I know why people don't take the train more!
Of course that $0.73 I saved would be offset by the hotel room in Chicago, probably a taxi in Flagstaff, and probably an extra night of hotel in Phoenix. Not to mention the 3 extra days off work I'd have to take (I don't get paid time off).
Hell, driving is only 29 hours, so even taking an 8 hr break to sleep, that puts travel time at 37 hours. That means leaving Mpls 6 am Wed. would get me to Phoenix around my target time of 4 pm Thurs. That's only one extra day off work, and one extra person in the car would make the gas less expensive than flying. Heck we could leave Tues nite to drive through the boring parts of the country in the dark and then we'd have extra time during the day to explore anything interesting in the Rockies.
And all these options are moot if I'm going by myself, because I'm not driving 2000 miles alone. At that point I'm definitely flying.