Bedroom downgraded to Coach a week before departure

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Joined
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Airlines switch planes and downgrade people. And I have been downgraded a few times on airlines from paid first class to coach, with only a pittance of a refund.
Yes, and (depending on the airline) you may get nothing if you booked a discounted First/Business fare and the cost of coach has met or exceeded that price at the time of the downgrade.
 

ShiningTimeStL

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Apr 23, 2019
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I just watched a video from two days ago of 51 rolling into Chicago with two P42s, a Viewliner, a Viewliner bag, and two Superliners all deadheading in front of the usual Cardinal consist. So yes, more cars are coming from Beech Grove. I will rejoice with great adulation if I see more cars on the Eagle. I will scream in delight if it gets another sleeper. Please save my poor dear train.
 
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I hope you are right but everything seems to be getting worse at the moment.

I wouldn’t agree that everything is getting worse. The handling of this situation related to inventory reductions for the summer is certainly an issue right now and a legitimate debate could certainly be had about whether they should have sold the inventory they sold for the summer due to uncertainties related to equipment. But it’s not all bad - trains are back to daily, and even with the Chief it is a mixed bag - it did receive an extra coach which it did not so last year and they seem to continue to work to accommodate the scouts which are an important customer in the summer. Some other trains have also gotten additions like the Capitol and Coast Starlight.
 

n3rdg1rl

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But has anyone recently (the post above was talking about in the 1980s, when you’d think they would have been more efficient than now) had them cancel the sleeper that same day?
I've been seeing it on Reddit A LOT. It's been quite a few times in the past two weeks where riders have gotten to the train only to be told they are no longer in sleepers.

I'm holding off on my fall trip until this crap passes. I keep reading that it's happening over and over. I don't care too much for myself, but my husband hates to travel to begin with and has never taken the train with me before. If we were stuck in coach for 2 days, he may never leave Ohio with me again.

....then again.....LOL!!!!
 
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I've been seeing it on Reddit A LOT. It's been quite a few times in the past two weeks where riders have gotten to the train only to be told they are no longer in sleepers.
So this seems to be a problem that appears to be much more widespread and impactful than at first glance. Great publicity for Amtrak. At least more people must now know that Amtrak operates sleeping cars but unfortunately they now know not to include them in their travel plans.
 
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My two calls to Amtrak after my website issues yesterday left me this impression. A) The website obviously needs to be updated. B) The general reservations number is just as bad. “I’d like to book the CA Zephyr from Emeryville to Galesburg December 18th”. Gales where? GBB, oh ok. We have 3 trains that day.….The CA Zypher, please? I don’t know that, do you have a train number? Like I said yesterday it was painful. The lady wasn’t rude but if Amtrak expects people to be spending upwards of $2000 for sleeper travel the general agents need to be trained. They really need dedicated agents for sleeper travel only.

My second call to Guest Relations was amazing. She had my problem fixed and trip booked in 5 mins than went on to ask if I had any questions, wanted to know if we had been in the family sleeper before. She ended by saying can you check your email to make sure the ticket looks right? The whole call took maybe 7 minutes. Night and day difference.

Amtrak needs to be able to publicize its services and perks to make its own publicity starting with its call centers. At the same time they should be able to do damage control by reaching out to customers as soon as they know a train or car is canceled.
 
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alpha3

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How much is left from this "top dollar" job after subtracting the cost of paying for a car, gas, food, insurance, retirement, and rent?
Probably a decent amount, these are union shop jobs. I know especially the plumbers and electricians make a lot.
I agree that it's different this time. People are done working themselves into a grave for the privilege of keeping a mediocre job.
That's not completely true. Maybe some are mediocre, yes; but many businesses are now advertising wages AND benefits, where they wouldn't provide benefits like medical before but are doing so now. Those have to be calculated into the total earnings value. Plus, the sign-on bonuses can be quite a lot.
That still leaves a lot of working-age folks that don't want to, or prefer working from home.
 

saxpower

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Wilmington, DE
While a long time ago (late 70s/80s), these remind me of my prior experiences on LD trains.

At the time of these was in late middle/early high school (like I said, quite a while ago. High School was "a few" years ago).
[For some reason on both of these trips we only did the return trip was by train- other way was by bus or plane]

Late 70's, North Carolina to Wilmington DE. This was in the days before a coach ticket meant a coach seat. After trapsing through the train (with all our luggage) several times we ended up in the smoking car, sitting in chairs mounted sideways to the movement of the train. OBS was entirely unsympathetic to the situation. (Not sure what kind of car it was- I'm assuming heritage of some sort. I have odd memory the smoking area was on the second floor of the car, but that doesn't make sense in a train which was going to go up the NEC).

Early 80s. Greenville, SC to Wilmington DE. Just my mom and I. My mom had booked 2 rooms (the rooms would not have been enough for both of us, so it wasn't a roomette- again, probably heritage). As we got on the train we were told there was only one room. The seat in the room was too small for both of us and I ended up sitting on the cover to the in-room toilet. Good news was they did "make it right" and I ended up in a crew member's quarters (with private enclosed commode)- you can guess where my mom and I spent the trip.

Obviously, a long time ago. The move to reserved coach seats takes care of the first problem (of course, there would not be a smoking car). I'm assuming the second was some overbooking issue- and with non-refundable fares there should no longer be a reason for that. As to the removal of planned rolling stock after people make reservations- obviously a car can be damaged/malfunction at the last minute and there are only so many cars that can be held in reserve [and they may not be in a location where they can be added to a train at the last moment]. However, this should occur extremely rarely, and doesn't appear to be the problem for the recent occurrences. Changes in accomodations being offered should not occur once reservations are made.

Have my fingers crossed for my July trip on the Cardinal. (I should day I ride Amtrak to NYC a few times a year and found the service to be good).
 
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Have my fingers crossed for my July trip on the Cardinal. (I should day I ride Amtrak to NYC a few times a year and found the service to be good).
The summer consists are basically set now so provided you are booked into the car that's running you should be fine absent some crazy bad order where there's no protect available on the day of.
 
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Also, if they remove your sleeper and chuck you into coach, is it possible to still use the lounges at either end by showing a printout of your original ticket and explaining what happened?

Anyone try this yet?
 

Willbridge

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As a veteran coach passenger following this thread, my main fear for July-August travel that I have booked is that I'll have to sit next to a downgraded First Class passenger and hear how bad everything is. My second fear is that I'll be sitting next to an upgraded Greyhound passenger who will complain that the food on Greyhound is better than in Amtrak Coach.
 
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As a veteran coach passenger following this thread, my main fear for July-August travel that I have booked is that I'll have to sit next to a downgraded First Class passenger and hear how bad everything is.

I realize I must sound like a complete prima donna from some of my remarks here.

I’m really not—I commuted on NJ Transit for many years, and that made Amtrak coach look like the Orient Express.

Normally, if I were changed to coach from a sleeper, I would treat it as an adventure.

The reason I’m so concerned this time is that I have a shin splint, and, although it’s getting better, the absolute worst position for my leg is sitting with it out diagonally. Ten minutes in a friend’s car going to a restaurant is fine, but not 8 hours in a coach seat.

Plus I can barely walk through a moving train without stumbling when everything is fine, so with a cane and wonky leg I don’t know how I’d manage the bathroom. That’s why I splurged for the bedroom —I would never, ever do that normally for this short a trip—bit I wanted the long seat so I could put my leg up whenever I wanted, plus the bathroom in the room so I wouldn’t have to go down the hall.

Just wanted to clarify that I’m not as spoiled as I must have come across.😊

I just don’t want the leg to get worse and then have to go to the orthopedic guys and be told “No more train trips for you for a while”!😮
 
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Thank you so much for the update. Is it mostly trains out west? Or did they mention the Capitol Limited?
It's been out west - Empire Builder and Southwest Chief is what I have heard where they originally sold an additional sleeper and couldn't deliver. Haven't heard about that happening with the Zephyr or Coast Starlight.
 

joelkfla

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I realize I must sound like a complete prima donna from some of my remarks here.

I’m really not—I commuted on NJ Transit for many years, and that made Amtrak coach look like the Orient Express.

Normally, if I were changed to coach from a sleeper, I would treat it as an adventure.

The reason I’m so concerned this time is that I have a shin splint, and, although it’s getting better, the absolute worst position for my leg is sitting with it out diagonally. Ten minutes in a friend’s car going to a restaurant is fine, but not 8 hours in a coach seat.

Plus I can barely walk through a moving train without stumbling when everything is fine, so with a cane and wonky leg I don’t know how I’d manage the bathroom. That’s why I splurged for the bedroom —I would never, ever do that normally for this short a trip—bit I wanted the long seat so I could put my leg up whenever I wanted, plus the bathroom in the room so I wouldn’t have to go down the hall.

Just wanted to clarify that I’m not as spoiled as I must have come across.😊

I just don’t want the leg to get worse and then have to go to the orthopedic guys and be told “No more train trips for you for a while”!😮
You might consider renting a wheelchair that has the extendable leg support and getting an accessible seat. The accessible seats are close to the bathrooms on Amfleet coaches. I'm not familiar with the location on Superliners, but they can't be more than half a car-length away.
 
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I realize I must sound like a complete prima donna from some of my remarks here.

I’m really not—I commuted on NJ Transit for many years, and that made Amtrak coach look like the Orient Express.

Normally, if I were changed to coach from a sleeper, I would treat it as an adventure.

The reason I’m so concerned this time is that I have a shin splint, and, although it’s getting better, the absolute worst position for my leg is sitting with it out diagonally. Ten minutes in a friend’s car going to a restaurant is fine, but not 8 hours in a coach seat.

Plus I can barely walk through a moving train without stumbling when everything is fine, so with a cane and wonky leg I don’t know how I’d manage the bathroom. That’s why I splurged for the bedroom —I would never, ever do that normally for this short a trip—bit I wanted the long seat so I could put my leg up whenever I wanted, plus the bathroom in the room so I wouldn’t have to go down the hall.

Just wanted to clarify that I’m not as spoiled as I must have come across.😊

I just don’t want the leg to get worse and then have to go to the orthopedic guys and be told “No more train trips for you for a while”!😮

You don't sound at all like a prima donna.

I think for many of us, booking a lie-flat roomette or bedroom is what makes overnight train travel physically possible. That was certainly the case when I was traveling with my elderly father. And the older I get, the less doable overnight in coach is for me, too: Overnight sitting up wouldn't put me in a hospital, but would result in debilitating aches and pains for at least a day or two. Not a good scenario for getting off the train the next day, carrying baggage, and trying to enjoy a vacation or be productive at work.

That Amtrak recently has apparently been inflicting downgrades to overnight coach on passengers with less-than-soonest notice is a real deterrent to me booking overnight train travel right now---especially travel with other elements (hotel, plane tickets...) that can't be cancelled without penalty.
 

billosborn

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It seems as though the Zephyr has consistently run with three sleepers, so it seems to be unaffected by the shortages on the Chief and others.
 
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jis

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A video I saw on Facebook today showed the Zephyr with two Sleepers and a Trans-Dorm. The Starlight has been running with three sleepers but no Trans-Dorm.
Yup. The CZ has generally been running with 2 Sleepers and 1 Trans-Dorm, while the CS got a third Sleeper starting mid May, and it has no Trans-Dorm.
 

dcipjr

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Thanks to all for the information here. I had heard the reports of people being bumped from sleepers on Reddit, so I figured I'd pop by and see if the community here had any knowledge of what was going on.

I was a bit concerned because we have a trip planned (2 adults, 1 child) cross-country for December, to spend Christmas with family—the first time we will have spent the holidays with them since 2019, due to the pandemic.

If Amtrak were to pull the rug out from under us on that trip, I would be rather...unhappy.

But, based on what I'm reading here, it sounds as if we were bumped already:

We booked our trip (PHL-WAS-CHI-LAX) back on 2/15, with a family bedroom on the Capitol Limited, and two roomettes on the Chief.

On 4/30, I got a new and unexpected "eTicket and Receipt" email from Amtrak for the reservation, and noticed we had been bounced from the family bedroom into two roomettes.

I was meaning to call and ask Amtrak about the change and hadn't yet—but now it makes sense. Looking at the original eTicket, our family bedroom was in the 2901 car, and the new ticket has us in two roomettes in the 2900 car.

Our Southwest Chief reservation was in the 330 car, and that didn't get changed.

Sounds like it's possible that they're planning on shortened consists in the winter as well.

I suppose we'll be fine as long as the train goes with a sleeper, but honestly Amtrak sounds a bit of a mess right now. Weren't they supposed to be getting a ton of funding from the federal government as part of the infrastructure bill? I kind of expected that things would be getting better, not worse.
 
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I suppose we'll be fine as long as the train goes with a sleeper, but honestly Amtrak sounds a bit of a mess right now. Weren't they supposed to be getting a ton of funding from the federal government as part of the infrastructure bill? I kind of expected that things would be getting better, not worse.

It should be noted the infrastructure bill funding is largely for long term deferred projects and rolling stock replacement not day to day operations or even shorter term Capitol projects - and while I totally understand the bad optics of the situation given the money they got it actually is somewhat irrelevant. The current Amtrak issues of consists, staffing, rolling stock is all dealt with out of the normal appropriations Amtrak gets yearly from Congress. While there is certainly some criticism to be had on Amtrak’s handling of various issues - these issues are not unprecedented across transportation or really the whole economy right now. We can certainly criticize various decisions made - chiefly in my opinion the short sighted downsizing decisions they made in late 2020 which was the biggest blunder. At the end of the day however the pandemic and it’s consequences remains largely the core of Amtrak’s problems - and even if there was a management shuffle these problems would remain.
 
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