Quantcast

Amtrak is not an airline. ..

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Steve4031

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
5,819
Location
Chicago
My girlfriend returned from stl on 304 this morning. She enjoyed the trip and liked seeing the train number on the front of the charger. Ive been teaching her about train numbers do she can book her reservations indepently.

The funny thing is that she asked me if the new amtrak president was an airline guy. The ticket agent was complaing about the changes where various discounts had been eliminated. And finished by telling her that Amtrak is not an airline and that you can not run a railroad like an airline. If my gf, who is usually unaware of all stuff amtrsk is hearing these complaints then employee discontent is particularly high.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,210
No Amtrak is not like airlines of today that fly over " fly over country ". But Amtrak does operate very similar to airlines up to the 1950s. Then airlines made many stops between major cities such as Eastern and National airlines making between 4 and 9 stops from Miami to Newark or New York. At that time meals were served and had passenger timetables listing all the stops so passengers would know when and where the next stop was .
 

Lonestar648

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
2,694
Uncertainty in any company generates low employee morale. With the new CEO in full change mode, the rumor mills are running speed at high speed, and the suits are doing nothing to counter this craziness, thus the employees are upset and scared. Will Amtrak be another airline, no way. Hub and spoke operations with non stop routes from the hub just do not fit the rail industry. The airlines operate cattle cars, squeezing as many passengers as possible into a smaller and smaller space. The security nightmare at airports is unlikely to be in Amtrak's future because of the impossible logistics of creating a continual secure area as the train moves from station to station.
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,818
Location
NYC/Queens
In the regulated era, airlines continued to serve unprofitable or marginal cities in exchange for being given authority to moneymakers....
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,759
Location
Nottingham, England.
The point is that the ticket agent had no right to mouth off to a customer about his or her feelings about the job.

Undermining the company that pays your salary is a particularly bad thing, in my view.

Yes, be unhappy with your job, but confine that to friends, workmates, the company, the union, don't bad mouth to the public!

Ed.
 

west point

Conductor
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,210
But an agent should certainly tell a customer that if the customer has a problem is to write and e mail.
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,945
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
But an agent should certainly tell a customer that if the customer has a problem is to write and e mail.
I think that really depends. If someone is actively having an issue or has noticed it has changed (say, someone buys a ticket and asks for the AAA discount, which has been removed) then it's fair to say something to the tune of "the best way to express your displeasure of this change is to email/call [insert name/agency here] at [contact information.]" However, staff shouldn't be expressing their discontent to every customer or as a way to make small talk with the customer. At the end of the day, the employee is serving as a representative of the company and so in general shouldn't be trying to push a negative attitude or connotation to the company or its management staff.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,882
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
From the OP's description it appears that the ticket agent was way out of line. But of course that is the impression based on just one description of the situation.
 

xyzzy

Conductor
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Messages
1,147
Location
NC
Amtrak is not an airline, but it's in the people-moving business like airlines are. An eagle and a penguin differ, but at the end of the day they're both birds. Airlines and Amtrak have 90% commonality.
 

Jersey Jeff

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 10, 2008
Messages
102
Location
Union Tower on the NEC
I thought this thread was about Amtrak's potential plans to require reserved seating on all coach and BC trains. Those are the rumors I am hearing now that it is being run by an "airline guy."
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,733
Is Amtrak an airline? no. Is Amtrak a passenger transportation company? Yes.

There are many aspects of Amtrak's business that don't really make sense.. it's just how railroads have operated. Private Cars are a great example. Adding private cars en-route and delaying passenger trains is an odd business practice... it's just something that was always done.

Discount tickets through an organization like AAA made sense in a different time before internet marketing. That doesn't mean they need to continue.

Non-Reserved seating seemed to be another strange item that was just "how we do things here" at amtrak. I was particularly annoyed that no matter when or how I boarded I was never sure what type of seat I would be assigned by a crew member that decided they alone got to choose where everyone sat regardless of personal requests from passengers.

Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers.

Now I'm still nervous about where this era of Amtrak is heading... I want to see long distance trains continue to exist in some form. But I'm open to seeing what Anderson has in mind and hoping for the best for the future of Amtrak.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
942
Location
Orcas Island, Washington
I hope Amtrak does not move towards the airline model of high-density (five across, short pitch) seating in coaches.

I do hope that Amtrak moves towards the airline model for food service, although along the lines of what is offered in first class on planes. The salmon I had in first class on Delta Airlines to and from Hawaii in December was just as good as the salmon I had on The Cardinal in January, 2017.

Regarding the seat reservation process, one minor comment I have is that I think there is variation in the seat numbering system on the Talgo trainsets. Also, I think some seats on any type of car might have obstructed views depending on which way the car is turned.
 

Northeastern292

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
109
Location
Ferndale, NY/Brooklyn, NY
Is Amtrak an airline? no. Is Amtrak a passenger transportation company? Yes.

There are many aspects of Amtrak's business that don't really make sense.. it's just how railroads have operated. Private Cars are a great example. Adding private cars en-route and delaying passenger trains is an odd business practice... it's just something that was always done.

Discount tickets through an organization like AAA made sense in a different time before internet marketing. That doesn't mean they need to continue.

Non-Reserved seating seemed to be another strange item that was just "how we do things here" at amtrak. I was particularly annoyed that no matter when or how I boarded I was never sure what type of seat I would be assigned by a crew member that decided they alone got to choose where everyone sat regardless of personal requests from passengers.

Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers.

Now I'm still nervous about where this era of Amtrak is heading... I want to see long distance trains continue to exist in some form. But I'm open to seeing what Anderson has in mind and hoping for the best for the future of Amtrak.
Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?
I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

Is Amtrak an airline? no. Is Amtrak a passenger transportation company? Yes.

There are many aspects of Amtrak's business that don't really make sense.. it's just how railroads have operated. Private Cars are a great example. Adding private cars en-route and delaying passenger trains is an odd business practice... it's just something that was always done.

Discount tickets through an organization like AAA made sense in a different time before internet marketing. That doesn't mean they need to continue.

Non-Reserved seating seemed to be another strange item that was just "how we do things here" at amtrak. I was particularly annoyed that no matter when or how I boarded I was never sure what type of seat I would be assigned by a crew member that decided they alone got to choose where everyone sat regardless of personal requests from passengers.

Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers.

Now I'm still nervous about where this era of Amtrak is heading... I want to see long distance trains continue to exist in some form. But I'm open to seeing what Anderson has in mind and hoping for the best for the future of Amtrak.
Sent from my Moto Z2 Play using Amtrak Forum mobile app
 

PRR 60

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Feb 18, 2003
Messages
8,348
Southwest Airlines does not charge for bags nor do they assign seats. And last time I checked they were doing just fine.
However, the seating on Southwest is not a free-for-all. Everyone lines up based on prescribed boarding position. Elite program members and those paying the highest fare board and select seats first.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,733
Southwest Airlines does not charge for bags nor do they assign seats. And last time I checked they were doing just fine.
Im A-list on southwest so I am well aware.

Since they let those with status, or those who are willing to pay extra- first choice on seating their boarding process is quite fair. If I boarded a Sohthwest flight and a FA gave me an assigned seat that I had to sit in for some made up reason, I would choose to fly elsewhere.

Baggage is free on southwest and they advertise that fact against their competitors that do charge for baggage... Meaning there is a large advantage for them. If Amtrak chooses to heavily market the free luggage, that could also be a smart business move. Im guessing people smarter than me are researching what they think is best.

JetBlue also offers free luggage.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,733
Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers.
Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?
I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense.

And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move.
 

Northeastern292

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 9, 2013
Messages
109
Location
Ferndale, NY/Brooklyn, NY
Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers.
Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?
I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense.
And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move.
Let's agree to disagree on the baggage deal.
Sent from my Moto Z2 Play using Amtrak Forum mobile app
 

brianpmcdonnell17

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2016
Messages
1,395
Location
Chicago, Illinois
You disagree that it makes good business sense?
I would say it may make sense in some cases but not others. Out of the non-railfans I have talked to about travel on Amtrak, many have said one of the main benefits is the generous baggage allowance. I know it is not a one to one comparison, but as has been stated some airlines don't charge for check bags, because they feel as though a charge would reduce the demand to the point that profit decreases.
 

jrud

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
Messages
126
Southwest Airlines does not charge for bags nor do they assign seats. And last time I checked they were doing just fine.
Im A-list on southwest so I am well aware.
Since they let those with status, or those who are willing to pay extra- first choice on seating their boarding process is quite fair. If I boarded a Sohthwest flight and a FA gave me an assigned seat that I had to sit in for some made up reason, I would choose to fly elsewhere.

Baggage is free on southwest and they advertise that fact against their competitors that do charge for baggage... Meaning there is a large advantage for them. If Amtrak chooses to heavily market the free luggage, that could also be a smart business move. Im guessing people smarter than me are researching what they think is best.

JetBlue also offers free luggage.
Given the fact that I watch many transportation oriented videos on YouTube, I am treated to Amtrak free baggage ads fairly often. Not traditional media but a potentially large audience.

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum
 
Top