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Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,799
Location
Denver
This is information that has been discussed in a variety of ways, but in a quiet evening I thought to get some perspective by showing fares day by day for Chicago to Emeryville in the current supply and demand situation.

In this chart. fares are shown Coach/Business/Sleeper (starts at). Business class in this case indicates via Portland. Fares are not shown on other optional routings, but the various routings via LAX also have numerous sold out dates. All dates are April, beginning Easter Monday, April 18th.

18th = $283 / $327 / SO
19th = SO train
20th = $224 / ---- / SO
21st = $176 / ---- / SO
22nd = $224 / ---- / $1052
23rd = $224 / ----/ $1052
24th = $226 / $289 / $1605
25th = $225 / $289 / $3274
26th = $141 / ---- / SO
27th = $141 / ---- / SO
28th = $224 / ---- / $1052
29th = $141 / ---- / $1052
30th = $224 / ---- / $1415
etc.
 
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NorthShore

Conductor
Joined
Sep 3, 2013
Messages
1,224
Location
Chicago
I'd like to see the prices west to east, too. In checking on costs for the EB, I noticed that the eastbound trip is, often, more affordable and available for booking.
 

joelkfla

Conductor
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
1,777
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
This is information that has been discussed in a variety of ways, but in a quiet evening I thought to get some perspective by showing fares day by day for Chicago to Emeryville in the current supply and demand situation.

In this chart. fares are shown Coach/Business/Sleeper (starts at). Business class in this case indicates via Portland. Fares are not shown on other optional routings, but the various routings via LAX also have numerous sold out dates. All dates are April, beginning Easter Monday, April 18th.

18th = $283 / $327 / SO
19th = SO train
20th = $224 / ---- / SO
21st = $176 / ---- / SO
22nd = $224 / ---- / $1052
23rd = $224 / ----/ $1052
24th = $226 / $289 / $1605
25th = $225 / $289 / $3274
26th = $141 / ---- / SO
27th = $141 / ---- / SO
28th = $224 / ---- / $1052
29th = $141 / ---- / $1052
30th = $224 / ---- / $1415
etc.
I was curious about the high fare on the 25th. Turns out it's routing via Portland, with a Bedroom on the 27 and the Family Bedroom on the CS.

But if you're willing to change cars in the middle of the night, you can get a Roomette on the 7 to Spokane and then change to a Roomette on the 27, and finally the Family Bedroom to EMY, for a total of $2167. Still a bunch of money, but an $1100 saving over Arrow's price.
 

pennyk

51 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
Administator
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MODERATOR NOTE: There were numerous threads regarding long distance fares that have been combined into this thread.

Thank you for posting questions/comments/complaints about long distance fares in this thread and avoid starting new threads.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,254
Location
Austin Texas
This is information that has been discussed in a variety of ways, but in a quiet evening I thought to get some perspective by showing fares day by day for Chicago to Emeryville in the current supply and demand situation.

In this chart. fares are shown Coach/Business/Sleeper (starts at). Business class in this case indicates via Portland. Fares are not shown on other optional routings, but the various routings via LAX also have numerous sold out dates. All dates are April, beginning Easter Monday, April 18th.

18th = $283 / $327 / SO
19th = SO train
20th = $224 / ---- / SO
21st = $176 / ---- / SO
22nd = $224 / ---- / $1052
23rd = $224 / ----/ $1052
24th = $226 / $289 / $1605
25th = $225 / $289 / $3274
26th = $141 / ---- / SO
27th = $141 / ---- / SO
28th = $224 / ---- / $1052
29th = $141 / ---- / $1052
30th = $224 / ---- / $1415
etc.
Wow, Sticker Shock!😱
 
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Messages
6,442
Location
Chicago
I just found out I was going to have some extra money. Looked at sleeper fares for Chief and Sunset Limited. On multiple days those trains are sold out. Then the same thing for the CONO. This would be for June when school lets out.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,748
Location
Washington State
It is a bit more than 7 months out for my annual New York trip in November, VIA outbound, Amtrak back. Unfortunately, the trip is a week later than is usually is, so as to capture VIA's off season rates that start on November 1 and that puts the return starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving. With the Canadian now running twice a week, I could more the departure back a couple days (from Monday 11/7 to Friday 11/4), which will have me leaving New York a full week before Thanksgiving (the previous Wednesday), but the fares are all still high bucket then, too.

I think I will adjust the trip back to 11/4, book VIA and give Amtrak some time to play some yield management games. I know they tend to just stick them at higher buckets at first and then shift some inventory to lower buckets as actual demand develops, so I am not losing anything by delaying booking the Amtrak part.

It'll be on points, but there is no sense wasting points.
 

F900ElCapitan

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
489
Location
Frisco, TX
It is a bit more than 7 months out for my annual New York trip in November, VIA outbound, Amtrak back. Unfortunately, the trip is a week later than is usually is, so as to capture VIA's off season rates that start on November 1 and that puts the return starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving. With the Canadian now running twice a week, I could more the departure back a couple days (from Monday 11/7 to Friday 11/4), which will have me leaving New York a full week before Thanksgiving (the previous Wednesday), but the fares are all still high bucket then, too.

I think I will adjust the trip back to 11/4, book VIA and give Amtrak some time to play some yield management games. I know they tend to just stick them at higher buckets at first and then shift some inventory to lower buckets as actual demand develops, so I am not losing anything by delaying booking the Amtrak part.

It'll be on points, but there is no sense wasting points.

I’m doing the same thing with a DAL-SEA trip next September. I was fortunate enough to grab a low bucket roomette DAL to LAX but the Coast Starlight has been at high bucket for all rooms since I decided to make the trip. The other day (5 months to the day from departure) roomettes were dropped by 1 bucket. They still show at least 5 roomettes and bedrooms available so I too will continue to wait.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
822
Out of curiosity I checked fares on the EB,CZ SW Chief and the Sunset/Eagle from LAX,EMY,PDX and SEA for six to eight months out on several dates to Chicago.

Only constant was the low bucket on the Chief and Sunset/Eagle $623. Not too long ago there was nothing lower than $899,third bucket. Third bucket seems to be the norm for the other trains. These are for roomettes.

If you ride for the sake of riding and want maximum train time the Sunset/Eagle gives you three nights and if there are two of you going that's 16 meals included,albeit the flex crap after SAS,but with all the complaining about outrageous prices(and there are many) the Chief and Sunset are bargains,considering how high gas prices are.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
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Location
Washington State
I ride for the sake of riding, but personally I intend to give the Eagle a clean miss under present conditions with flex dining and no Sightseer. This despite the fact it is the only Amtrak long distance train currently operating that I have never ridden.

If buckets drop, I may consider returning from New York via LA, but using the SW Chief (one of my favs), not the Eagle.
 

thully

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
628
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
I'd like to see the prices west to east, too. In checking on costs for the EB, I noticed that the eastbound trip is, often, more affordable and available for booking.
I’m seeing better availability on the eastbound Empire Builder than west this summer as well when looking for my EB+Canadian loop trip. Roomettes are almost always high-bucket when available on the EB this summer, but perhaps that is expected when looking that close. The Canadian actually seems to have better sleeper availability (even in the “discounted” category) than the EB despite being twice-weekly. Granted, the discounted price of a cabin for 1 is double a roomette for 1’s high bucket, though the trip is also twice as long.
 

JC_620

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 15, 2019
Messages
56
Location
Centerville
I'll add my .02,
Looking at the CZ #6 in December from Reno to Chicago in a bedroom.
Already starting them at $2239 at last look.
Wowww...We will probably fly back. 😔
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
822
With the price of gas around $4.50 a gallon,riding Amtrak does seem more affordable. We are on the Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento in July. With a coupon for an additional person we paid $550 for a roomette. Two people and twelve great meals. Three days,two nights. Imagine the price of driving..gas meals.motels. At the other end of the spectrum bedrooms are well over $2000 for that same trip.

If you book three to six months out there are some low buckets to be found. It's time consuming manually looking at dates,but if you can find a low bucket fare you have definately found a bargain.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
875
Location
Brownsburg IN
I checked out a Cardinal / Chief trip from Indy to LAX in late October / Early November. Only looking to travel one way. Roomette Card + Bedroom Chief was right around $1700. Didn't matter which way I traveled in that case. I was looking at IND - LAX out on a Saturday or LAX - IND back on a Thursday. While that was far from inexpensive - we could make it work.

Unfortunately, my Delta certificate that has an expiration date on it doesn't allow for one way fares. So if we wanted to Air/Rail the trip, we'd have had to throw away a valuable flight certificate.

So in the end, we reluctantly decided to fly both ways. So we're paying $1200 to fly first class IND-SD both ways. Of course it would have been $2400, but I had that expiring free companion certificate. In reality, we're not getting as good of a vacation - because my wife and I really enjoy the western trains - and believe it or not we've never done the Chief before. But God willing there will be another opportunity.
 
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Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,628
Southwest has a $143 fare for early November from Reno to Chicago Midway.
As great and affordable as Southwest is I think it’s a little unfair to expect that sleeping car accommodations would be price competitive with “Wanna Get Away” saver fares on Southwest. While I imagine for many they may be more willing to be herded like cattle for the shorter trip on Southwest but require sleeping accommodations to consider rail it’s still comparing premium service to budget service. Amtrak sleepers are never going to be cost competitive with Southwest saver fares. Business or first class rail fare comparisons seem a bit more appropriate (at least for one’s expectations.) of course it’s your call what’s an affordable sleeper ticket for you but still I think expecting it to be cost competitive with Southwest is a big unrealistic.
 

glensfallsse

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 22, 2017
Messages
46
Maybe someone can help me out with this little oddity I encountered today while looking up prices for a possible a mid-July cross-country trip. There's probably a simple explanation, but I can't figure it out.
I tried several dates Chicago to Portland, and there were no rooms available unless I transferred at Spokane in the middle of the night. I figured that was because the Portland sleeper was booked from Chicago to Spokane, so the only way to do it was to take the Seattle sleeper to Spokane and then move over. Then I tried the same dates for Chicago to Seattle. And again, the only way to get a room was to transfer at Spokane. That doesn't seem to add up. What am I missing?
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
822
I checked sleepers from July 10 to the 19 and the only day not sold out from Chi-Pdx was the 18th with one left. Obviously the EB is extremely popular in the summer.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,748
Location
Washington State
Maybe someone can help me out with this little oddity I encountered today while looking up prices for a possible a mid-July cross-country trip. There's probably a simple explanation, but I can't figure it out.
I tried several dates Chicago to Portland, and there were no rooms available unless I transferred at Spokane in the middle of the night. I figured that was because the Portland sleeper was booked from Chicago to Spokane, so the only way to do it was to take the Seattle sleeper to Spokane and then move over. Then I tried the same dates for Chicago to Seattle. And again, the only way to get a room was to transfer at Spokane. That doesn't seem to add up. What am I missing?
Just one Portland sleeper so you have 13 roomettes, 5 bedrooms, 1 handicapped room and 1 family bedroom at most (I do not know whether the cafe LSA and coach attendant get roomettes, so it might be just 11). When they're gone, they're gone.

Seattle section has at least two sleepers. I don't know if they are running two sleepers and a transdorm like they did in the summer pre-COVID, in either case, there is somewhat more sleeper capacity in the Seattle section.

The inventory is handled as two completely separate trains due to limitations of Amtrak's antique reservation system, Arrow, and Spokane is set up in the system as the connection point between the two "trains" in Arrow. So there are no through rooms available in 27, but there is a room open between some intermediate point and Portland and a room available on 7 between Chicago and Spokane but not between Spokane and Seattle. so you are being offered to "connect" at Spokane.

Mid May is really late to be booking sleepers for mid July. Sell outs are to be expected at this late date.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
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Just one Portland sleeper so you have 13 roomettes, 5 bedrooms, 1 handicapped room and 1 family bedroom at most (I do not know whether the cafe LSA and coach attendant get roomettes, so it might be just 11). When they're gone, they're gone.
Two Roomettes are reserved for OBS on 27/28.

Seattle section has at least two sleepers. I don't know if they are running two sleepers and a transdorm like they did in the summer pre-COVID, in either case, there is somewhat more sleeper capacity in the Seattle section.
7/8 has a Transdorm. It will supposedly get 2 Sleepers in the summer, but currently only one.
 
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