Amtrak.com multi-city search problem

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the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
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25,780
I was just doing a search for fares, and looked at SAN-FED.

If I do a multi-city search for SAN-CHI and CHI-FED, I get a choice on the LSL (CHI-SDY) of coach, roomette or bedroom. On the EA, I get a choice of coach or BC. I do not get a choice of BC on the LSL! (I did not check about the Surfliner.)

However, if I search for a “regular” SAN-FED, I can chose BC!

So is Amtrak leaving money on the table? Or maybe losing passengers? ("I don’t want to ride coach or pay big bucks for a room, so I’ll fly or drive instead of taking Amtrak!”)
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
790
I was curious about this, so I just tried a test to book SAN-FED on April 1. And like the OP, it came up with no BC on the LSL in the first offering. That was due to the fact that the first offering showed train #48 CHI-SDY and then change trains.

However, scrolling further down the screen, the second offering showed train #448, aka, the Boston section of the train which is where the split BC/Cafe car is located, and it DID show BC as an option. Perhaps the Amtrak screen simply puts its offerings in ascending train number sequence when a multi-section train is being offered.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
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Nov 14, 2007
Messages
25,780
That does make sense, if it involved say BUF-POU, but CHI-SDY has both “trains” and thus offer BC. 448 does not split off until ALB - which is after SDY.

If I were somebody riding Amtrak for the first time, I may say “I don’t want to pay $xxx for a room. I’m not going to take Amtrak then.”
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
790
I'm wondering if it would be feasible for Amtrak to 'add' the cafe/BC car to train 48 rather than 48 in the computer. But only listed as serving CHI-ALB. At ALB, it would be 'moved' to train 448 to CHI. Although it would appear that the car gets physically disconnected from train 48 and moved to 448 in terms of booking, nothing would change physically from what it is today.
Or-
Have the BC appear in both 48 & 448, but somehow linked to the same 'target' with its 18 seat capacity.

Unfortunately, both ideas are likely beyond the availability of someone to do it as well as not feasible in terms of todays' staff vs what is likely mainframe assembler language programming.
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
845
So is Amtrak leaving money on the table? Or maybe losing passengers? ("I don’t want to ride coach or pay big bucks for a room, so I’ll fly or drive instead of taking Amtrak!”)
The only thing I would say about this is when you have refurbished Amfleet II with the massive legroom and footrest in coach (which is way more legroom than airline passengers would dream of) business class is really nothing special. In fact doesn’t business class actually have LESS legroom on the LSL? I get it it’s quieter as it’s only half a car, but other than that you get everything in coach. If you make that deduction over that then you probably prefer flying anyway. I get it on sleepers and stuff but I just don’t see how business on the long distance trains is a big plus over coach.

The business class half cafes are better off on a corridor train where the business makes more of a difference over coach.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
790
The only thing I would say about this is when you have refurbished Amfleet II with the massive legroom and footrest in coach (which is way more legroom than airline passengers would dream of) business class is really nothing special. In fact doesn’t business class actually have LESS legroom on the LSL? I get it it’s quieter as it’s only half a car, but other than that you get everything in coach. If you make that deduction over that then you probably prefer flying anyway. I get it on sleepers and stuff but I just don’t see how business on the long distance trains is a big plus over coach.

The business class half cafes are better off on a corridor train where the business makes more of a difference over coach.
That's right! Amfleet II legroom from front of cushion to back of upright seat ahead: 22" vs same measurement in split Cafe/BC: 18" However - the 18 BC seats may be slightly wider account 2 and 1 seating with a wide armrest between the seats on the '2' side. It's quieter and has 'instant access' to the cafe counter, including free non-alcoholic beverages. Several times in the past 2-3 years, the cafe attendant has come back to BC and taken orders and returned with them. So is it worth the extra cost? On regional trains, absolutely. On LD trains like the Lakeshore and Cardinal, it depends on how full coach is. Attempting to determine coach full-ness by looking at current prices to determine which bucket is in use for coach seats and deciding if it's maybe half full can be hit and miss, in my experience. Obviously, during peak travel periods, I'll always take BC from ALB-SPG and a roomette ALB-CHI.
 

IndyLions

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
240
The only thing I would say about this is when you have refurbished Amfleet II with the massive legroom and footrest in coach (which is way more legroom than airline passengers would dream of) business class is really nothing special. In fact doesn’t business class actually have LESS legroom on the LSL? I get it it’s quieter as it’s only half a car, but other than that you get everything in coach. If you make that deduction over that then you probably prefer flying anyway. I get it on sleepers and stuff but I just don’t see how business on the long distance trains is a big plus over coach.

The business class half cafes are better off on a corridor train where the business makes more of a difference over coach.
You are right about the seats, but I disagree totally on the value of BC for some folks (not everyone) on LD trains.

I have used BC on the LSL as a less expensive alternative to a sleeper on an overnight where I needed to save money. The quiet and less crowded nature of the car, coupled with the strong possibility I’ll have the single seat side to myself makes it worthwhile for me.

When my daughter was heading to/from college IND-CVS on the Cardinal, I sent her BC as well for the same reason.
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
686
That's right! Amfleet II legroom from front of cushion to back of upright seat ahead: 22" vs same measurement in split Cafe/BC: 18" However - the 18 BC seats may be slightly wider account 2 and 1 seating with a wide armrest between the seats on the '2' side. It's quieter and has 'instant access' to the cafe counter, including free non-alcoholic beverages. Several times in the past 2-3 years, the cafe attendant has come back to BC and taken orders and returned with them. So is it worth the extra cost? On regional trains, absolutely. On LD trains like the Lakeshore and Cardinal, it depends on how full coach is. Attempting to determine coach full-ness by looking at current prices to determine which bucket is in use for coach seats and deciding if it's maybe half full can be hit and miss, in my experience. Obviously, during peak travel periods, I'll always take BC from ALB-SPG and a roomette ALB-CHI.
As we all know, the definition of BC differs greatly across the Amtrak system, but overall, on regional trains, BC is not worth it at all IMO unless it's the split cafe/BC car. On the NEC, for example, you get a little more legroom, some blue coloring added to the seat covers, and curtains on the windows. That's it. And since BC is squeezed into one car vs 6 for coach plus a cafe, you're much more likely to have a seatmate, not to mention all the business people chatting away about shares this and finance that. I'd much rather have a lesser chance of having a seatmate than some curtains and a couple inches of extra legroom on top of already fantastic legroom.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
25,780
The only advantage that I see to take BC on the NEC is that you get a 25% AGR bonus. Other than that, you get a choice of sitting in 1 car, not 8-9 other cars. You do not get a quiet car. (Back in the old AGR 1.0 days, you got BC if you got a sleeper award. I once was in BC when numerous passengers started talking on there cell phones!:mad: The big problem was that they just boarded at WAS - and we were still at the platform!:mad::mad:) You may get slightly more legroom, but not enough for the extra expense.

Unless you get the 2x1 seating, I don’t think it is worth it. (I’ve gotten the 2x1 seats when they added extra cars a few times - in coach!:cool:)
 

iplaybass

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2018
Messages
169
BC is worth it on STL-CHI/KCY. It's almost always a quieter ride, and the seats are better than the Horizon ex-commuter coaches. Chicago trips for me usually start with the early morning departures, and I can sleep until Joliet, single side if by myself, double with my wife. Lincoln service 300 for a long weekend, 302 for connections.

Only a $20 premium if you book early enough. STL-CHI fills up pretty fast with pax from Springfield north. As far as I can tell, STL-KCY generally doesn't run full.
 
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