Bedroom downgraded to Coach a week before departure

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zephyr17

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I’m worried about my Dec 18th trip in the family room I talked about earlier. I called and asked to get out of 32 car but couldn’t as 30 and 31 car the family room is sold out. The CZ as of now doesn’t have a 32 car and guest relations said to check back for updates. She insinuated something bigger is at play here and expects service to go back to 5 or possibly 3 days a week after summer due to lack of personnel and equipment coming from “the top”. If anyone has tickets more then 6 weeks out I’d highly suggest checking your reservation online weekly to check for changes.

As Jacket94 pointed out, these are not isolated issues. They are getting angry calls all day long about changes.
Sorry not to be able to offer words reassurance, but in your position I'd be worried, too. It does appear that the CZ wasn't hit by the inventory withdrawals the SW Chief and the Builder were. But if Amtrak is as competent in planning for the Christmas season as they were for the summer and plays another round of Sleeper Roulette due to shortages and bad planning, who knows what train will wind up with the loaded chamber?

Just keep checking your reservation on the app regularly on the app to see if your reservation starts showing the dreaded no QR.
 

Eric in East County

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I’m worried about my Dec 18th trip in the family room I talked about earlier. I called and asked to get out of 32 car but couldn’t as 30 and 31 car the family room is sold out. The CZ as of now doesn’t have a 32 car and guest relations said to check back for updates. She insinuated something bigger is at play here and expects service to go back to 5 or possibly 3 days a week after summer due to lack of personnel and equipment coming from “the top”. If anyone has tickets more then 6 weeks out I’d highly suggest checking your reservation online weekly to check for changes.

As Jacket94 pointed out, these are not isolated issues. They are getting angry calls all day long about changes.
Question: if the Southwest Chief goes back to 5 or possibly 3 days a week after summer, on what days will it be departing from Los Angeles and from Chicago?
 
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I’ll be honest I have some concerns. Amtrak is continuing to have a hard time hiring and they are reportedly losing people faster than the hiring process. There are some rumblings on other forums that they may have to again reduce service to 5 days or even 3 days a week in the fall. I think they may need to rethink how OBS is operated on the western routes. People do not want to be away from family - perhaps not send people the whole way and establish intermediate turning points. That may help with hiring.
 
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With rail enthusiasts I guess Amtrak management feels they have a captive audience they can do with what they want without showing respect or appreciation to you and me... the customer. Does your hard earned money mean anything? Can they just steal your fare out of your pocket by downgrading you and then it becomes your responsibility to book that sleeper when they have the space at a much higher fare??? Not ethical by any stretch of the imagination.

IMO they are responsible for rebooking you without charging anything additional... and... providing you with an additional discount for your inconvenience or some kind of fare voucher. This is rationally correct and should be expected.

So my question to the dedicated rail traveler is why are you putting up with such customer abuse... which it clearly is!?!

As for me... I am planning some road trips next fall with my jalopy which is falling apart but has good wheels and engine. Certainly I hope to travel again by train but will require customer respect from Amtrak and will not do so until it is what it should be. !!!

After all, as I remember from riding the 20th Century Limited decades ago, it's all about customer service!!!
 

Eric in East County

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20th Century Rider brings up an interesting point which I’d never considered before and which, if done intentionally, is despicable: Amtrak canceling out a confirmed bedroom reservation made 6 to 12 months earlier so that that bedroom can be sold to someone else for a higher price. In our case, we just had to pay $600 more to remake the same reservations we’d originally made last December. Even now, we have no guarantee that Amtrak will be able to honor these new reservations, particularly if, after the summer season is over, they decide to limit the Southwest Chief to only 5 or 3 departures a week. (If they already know that they are going to do this, and continue to sell reservations for trains they know won’t be running, that is doubly despicable!)
 
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20th Century Rider brings up an interesting point which I’d never considered before and which, if done intentionally, is despicable: Amtrak canceling out a confirmed bedroom reservation made 6 to 12 months earlier so that that bedroom can be sold to someone else for a higher price. In our case, we just had to pay $600 more to remake the same reservations we’d originally made last December. Even now, we have no guarantee that Amtrak will be able to honor these new reservations, particularly if, after the summer season is over, they decide to limit the Southwest Chief to only 5 or 3 departures a week. (If they already know that they are going to do this, and continue to sell reservations for trains they know won’t be running, that is doubly despicable!)
Just think of what you could do with the $600 being lost due to Amtrak caused res xcl's that could be better spent somewhere else. You may want to actually consider a car trip even with high gas prices... next fall. At $6 per gallon, a car getting 30 miles per gallon could go 3000 miles on $600... a decent length for a car trip. [$600/6mpg = 100 gallons x 30 mpg = 3000 mi. Figure out $150 per night for moderate hotels x 10 nights is another $1500; another $400 for food over and above what you would normally spend anyway. [I shop out of super markets opposed to fast food for health reasons] so you get a car trip to wherever you want to go for $2500. Stop anywhere, go anywhere, eat when and where you want and make your adventure whatever you fancy.

Much has been discussed on AU regarding road trip vs Amtrak. I'm not saying it can replace the experience... but personally and at this point in my life I do find a car trip to be a great travel alternative that provides access to the backroads of America and some unique historical sights, scenery, and etc. If you're lucky enough to own an old jalopy with a tape deck, you're all set. With a car trip one is in more control of the travel experience.

With Amtrak these days, it's a roll of the dice.
 

joelkfla

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Much has been discussed on AU regarding road trip vs Amtrak. I'm not saying it can replace the experience... but personally and at this point in my life I do find a car trip to be a great travel alternative that provides access to the backroads of America and some unique historical sights, scenery, and etc. If you're lucky enough to own an old jalopy with a tape deck, you're all set. With a car trip one is in more control of the travel experience.
But some of us have physical limitations which make spending 8 hours in a driver's seat difficult. The freedom to stretch out and change position from time to time is essential.
 

jis

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MODERATOR'S NOTE: Please let us not turn this thread into yet another car vs. Amtrak thread. We know already that for some the Car is a better choice. No point in repeating that ad infinitum. Back to downgrades or cancellations close to departure date initiated by Amtrak and how they handle such and what choices one has to recover from such. Recognizing that one could be left with dirving as the only choice in some cases, let us broaden the discussion to other viable alternatives.
 

Eric in East County

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We don’t take the train just for the fun of riding the train. Our big long-distance trip for the year is made specifically to visit family members living in Ohio. (It is difficult for them to travel to California so we must go to them.) Being seniors, we’re no longer up to driving to Ohio, and for various reasons, we no longer fly. Taking the train is really our only option for long distance travel and even this is dependent upon being able to obtain bedroom accommodations for the dates we want. This is why we make our reservations 6 months in advance.

As someone else has already pointed out, a confirmed Amtrak reservation was once about as reliable as anything could be, barring some crisis occasioned by the weather or generated by human or structural failure. This does not appear to be the case at the moment. Let us hope that this is just a temporary condition and not just another example of a time-honored tradition that has been overwhelmed in the tidal surge of mediocrity that passes for progress.
 

Michigan Mom

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Yes, this is disturbing, if that is what is happening; low bucket fares booked far in advance being downgraded in favor of higher rates they can sell today. I have encountered this among hotels a couple of times, and whether it's a train, hotel or other travel vendor, it's obviously unethical. There have to be laws on the books already, they need to be enforced, if there are loopholes they need to be closed.
Edit: Amtrak is aggressively marketing sleeper travel. Fine, charge what you can today, if people are willing to pay it. Do not sacrifice existing customers who found a deal and booked it long before you decided this was a way to boost the bottom line.
 

Sidney

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Yes, this is disturbing, if that is what is happening; low bucket fares booked far in advance being downgraded in favor of higher rates they can sell today. I have encountered this among hotels a couple of times, and whether it's a train, hotel or other travel vendor, it's obviously unethical. There have to be laws on the books already, they need to be enforced, if there are loopholes they need to be closed.
Edit: Amtrak is aggressively marketing sleeper travel. Fine, charge what you can today, if people are willing to pay it. Do not sacrifice existing customers who found a deal and booked it long before you decided this was a way to boost the bottom line.
We booked a sleeper on the Zephyr months ago at low bucket. Our trip from CHI-SAC is three weeks away. I have taken a hundred or more Amtrak LD trips in sleepers over the years. I have never encountered a problem. I ve been reading these horror stories about passengers being downgraded to Coach with very little notice.. No way in hell would we do that.
 

joelkfla

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Yes, this is disturbing, if that is what is happening; low bucket fares booked far in advance being downgraded in favor of higher rates they can sell today. I have encountered this among hotels a couple of times, and whether it's a train, hotel or other travel vendor, it's obviously unethical. There have to be laws on the books already, they need to be enforced, if there are loopholes they need to be closed.
Edit: Amtrak is aggressively marketing sleeper travel. Fine, charge what you can today, if people are willing to pay it. Do not sacrifice existing customers who found a deal and booked it long before you decided this was a way to boost the bottom line.
I don't think I've seen anything saying that that's an actual strategy. They're not canceling reservations and then reselling them at a higher price, are they?

My understanding is that they're eliminating inventory that's already been sold, and canceling the reservations of those unlucky enough to be in the cars that have been cut, without regard to fare level or date booked.
 

zephyr17

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I don't think I've seen anything saying that that's an actual strategy. They're not canceling reservations and then reselling them at a higher price, are they?

My understanding is that they're eliminating inventory that's already been sold, and canceling the reservations of those unlucky enough to be in the cars that have been cut, without regard to fare level or date booked.
Agree it is a straightforward cancelling/downgrading passengers unlucky enough booked in the dropped car. They don't appear to be doing any shuffling of passengers around based on date booked, price paid, or anything else.

I doubt it is a strategy. It's just a s show that they're bumbling through.

Making sure I am in the 30/00/11/whatever "base" sleeper car on any trains until this hurricane of incompetence is over.
 

Michigan Mom

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I don't think I've seen anything saying that that's an actual strategy. They're not canceling reservations and then reselling them at a higher price, are they?

My understanding is that they're eliminating inventory that's already been sold, and canceling the reservations of those unlucky enough to be in the cars that have been cut, without regard to fare level or date booked.
well, I'm sure your understanding is more accurate, and I'm certainly not sure about this being an intentional strategy. But from the perspective of the consumer, they are impacted regardless of why it happened. And this is a lot harder to explain to buyers than say a hurricane, flood, pandemic, etc. Also. When it comes to managing which customers are re-accommodated and who are not... the amount paid is going to factor into that, no matter what anyone admits to.
 

zephyr17

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When it comes to managing which customers are re-accommodated and who are not... the amount paid is going to factor into that, no matter what anyone admits to.
They aren't that smart. The people getting downgraded/cancelled are the ones booked into the dropped car, irrespective of what bucket their ticket was in. Likewise, the ones booked into the operating car get to keep theirs, irrespective of fare bucket.
 

Eric in East County

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They aren't that smart. The people getting downgraded/cancelled are the ones booked into the dropped car, irrespective of what bucket their ticket was in. Likewise, the ones booked into the operating car get to keep theirs, irrespective of fare bucket.
We tend to agree with this opinion. (To think otherwise is to credit Amtrak management with coming up with stratagem worthy of a Borgia!) This whole sorry situation most likely came about through the ineptitude that seems to be the special genius of Amtrak in these last few years.
 

zephyr17

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We tend to agree with this opinion. (To think otherwise is to credit Amtrak management with coming up with stratagem worthy of a Borgia!) This whole sorry situation most likely came about through the ineptitude that seems to be the special genius of Amtrak in these last few years.
Amtrak! We can't find our butts with both hands!
 

Trollopian

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They aren't that smart. The people getting downgraded/cancelled are the ones booked into the dropped car, irrespective of what bucket their ticket was in. Likewise, the ones booked into the operating car get to keep theirs, irrespective of fare bucket.

Hanlon's razor. "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
 

Eric in East County

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We just read an Associated Press article dated June 18 with the headline CANCELED FLIGHTS RISE ACROSS U.S. AS SUMMER TRAVEL HEATS UP. The article attributes these widespread cancellations to bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots. Perhaps we should solace ourselves with the reflection that things are just as bad for airline passengers.
 

jis

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We just read an Associated Press article dated June 18 with the headline CANCELED FLIGHTS RISE ACROSS U.S. AS SUMMER TRAVEL HEATS UP. The article attributes these widespread cancellations to bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots. Perhaps we should solace ourselves with the reflection that things are just as bad for airline passengers.
These problems are pretty much across the board in the transportation industry, freight or passenger.

Airlines are also facing the problems of last minute cancellations and change of equipment leading to downgrades or bumping. The thing that the airlines have going for them though is that most routes have multiple frequencies during the day providing greater flexibility for accommodating people sooner, but still a delay of a day or two are not unheard of.

Al in all it is an ongoing mess.
 
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If sleepers are being downgraded to coach because of a lack of cars/staff, the notion without evidence that they're booting people then reselling the space at a higher price is utterly absurd. But hey, anything that feeds the "AmtRAk MAnaGeMEnT SuckS!!!" narrative, right?
IIRC, there's a post or series of posts up above here somewhere detailing someone's experience with having their room cancelled, then having to pay more to re-book at a later date. That doesn't have to be an intentional revenue-enhancing strategy for the customer to feel abused by it.
 

Michigan Mom

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The explanation of having one car removed and subsequent downgrade of the passengers in that car (regardless of fare paid) makes sense. Especially given some of the apparent antiquities in the booking system. But to say that it's "absurd" to think that paying more for an accommodation might result in differential treatment, is ignoring things that really, truly do happen in other transportation sectors. I've had the fun experience of hotel room downgrades twice after having booked in advance, loyalty be damned, and the hotels in question did not even deny it when I asked. In both cases it resulted in a modest credit which was... better than nothing, not enough that I'd ever rebook there. In the airline world, where I had personal work experience in another life... oh I could tell you a few things but not on an online forum. :)
 
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