Booked for March 2022. Should I cancel? (Medical issue)

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Oreius

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Jun 5, 2012
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I’ve just completed 2 long distance train trips in September. However, both trips really aggravated my back. I have had 4 lumbar spinal surgeries since 2018–two in 2021 alone. Does anyone have back issues that could relate? I know it’s a personal question, but I’m not sure. I’m booked on The Meteor from Kissimmee to Elizabethtown in a Roomette in early March. Do you think I should cancel? When does the No Fee cancellation period end? I had my most recent surgery in July. The shimmying and rocking of the train really aggravated my back. March is 5 months away, so perhaps by then I’ll be better. What do you think?
 
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I would get a doctor's note if the doctor feels that, in 5 months, you should not travel and contact Amtrak asking for a full refund and tell them you have a doctor's note that says you should not travel then. If the doctor says to wait and see if you feel better or if he thinks you should spend more money with him for more tests (and you are willing to do so), then wait until he decides you should not go.
 

caravanman

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Nobody wants to miss out on a nice train ride, but do you want to spend the next 5 months fretting about whether you will be well enough to enjoy or even tolerate it?
Maybe cancel for now, and rebook nearer the time if you feel better by then?
 

flitcraft

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How is the price for your trip? If it is low bucket, or even mid-bucket, I would hang on to it till you are sure you can't/don't want to go. My assumption is that, if Amtrak is going to cut you a break due to your medical condition--and I believe they will--that will be as true closer out to your trip as now.

Before you do anything irrevocable, though, I would speak to your surgeon about the likely prognosis for the March trip. They likely have a better sense of the spectrum of how long recovery takes, and how likely a full enough recovery to enjoy the trip would be. Having spoken to the surgeon, be sure to have them make a note in your records of your question--that way, if later on you need to cancel, your surgeon will be able to write something for you regarding your condition to ride. In my very limited experience--having to cancel after a broken leg--Amtrak was incredibly good about refunding my ticket; the airline in question was, unfortunately, not so considerate, only offering me a voucher.
 

zephyr17

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If you are in sleepers, I'd hold on to them for now. The no fee change is in effect perpetually for reservations made before January 2022 (I don't recall the exact new date for that). Since you already have them, they are covered. However, I have heard things both ways regarding cancellations as opposed to changes. I had an AGR agent tell me that a reservation I am holding in November would be cancellable for no fee up to 14 days in advance (the sleeper restriction hasn't changed), but I have heard of others that had a full refund as opposed to a change refused. But however the policy is applied, your reservation is clearly under it.

You have time, take it and see how your back does. Revisit it after the first of the year.

Good luck.
 

Sidney

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I had a huge trip planned a few years ago and I was diagnosed with Cancer. I called Amtrak and they reimbursed me fully. I did recover and have been riding ever since. You shouldn't have a problem canceling.
 

Keith1951

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What is this "No fee cancellation period" that Oreius is talking about? I always thought that you can cancel any Amtrak trip as long as its so many days before the departure.
 

happycamper

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Is coach more comfortable? We have been riding coach as I sat in a roomette and those seats are hard benches compared to coach. Coach is much more comfortable for back issues. Also roll up some clothes in a plastic bag and use for lumbar support. (saves having to pack a pillow for it).... Just thoughts.
 

Sidney

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Is coach more comfortable? We have been riding coach as I sat in a roomette and those seats are hard benches compared to coach. Coach is much more comfortable for back issues. Also roll up some clothes in a plastic bag and use for lumbar support. (saves having to pack a pillow for it).... Just thoughts.
Coach seats are very comfortable,but to me spending an overnight in Coach is not pleasant,especially if you are traveling alone and get a seatmate. When I was younger,I tolerated Coach because I couldn't afford a sleeper. With the price of a roomette sky high these days,I do ride Coach only for one night going West to connect with the Western trains. I completed a rail pass last month. Not more than one night in Coach. Except for one night I did manage to have both seats to myself overnight,one night thanks to a rather obese guy who decided to spend the night in the SSL car. If he didn't move,I would have.
 

zephyr17

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What is this "No fee cancellation period" that Oreius is talking about? I always thought that you can cancel any Amtrak trip as long as its so many days before the departure.
They started charging penalty fees a few years ago. At first you only got hit with it if you took a cash refund, a voucher was 100% of the value. Then it was both cash and voucher. It started at 10%, then it went to 25% with a $200 max.

The 14 day sleeper penalty is still there, too.
 

happycamper

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Coach seats are very comfortable,but to me spending an overnight in Coach is not pleasant,especially if you are traveling alone and get a seatmate. When I was younger,I tolerated Coach because I couldn't afford a sleeper. With the price of a roomette sky high these days,I do ride Coach only for one night going West to connect with the Western trains. I completed a rail pass last month. Not more than one night in Coach. Except for one night I did manage to have both seats to myself overnight,one night thanks to a rather obese guy who decided to spend the night in the SSL car. If he didn't move,I would have.
Just curious can you book 2 coach seats which is still cheaper than the sleeper and guarantee yourself 2 seats? Im not sure this would work but was curious if anyone has tried it???
 

caravanman

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Just curious can you book 2 coach seats which is still cheaper than the sleeper and guarantee yourself 2 seats? Im not sure this would work but was curious if anyone has tried it???
This has been talked about before, but it is not allowed, as far as I know. Keep in mind that you are not guaranteed exactly which seats you book, so you might book two, but find them at opposite ends of the coach, not side by side... :D
 
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Oreius

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Jun 5, 2012
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614
I’ve done some thinking. I’ll proceed with my trip as planned for March 2022. I am in a Roomette this time on 98–Car 9810. I’m hoping it will be a VL2. Though tighter than a Bedroom—I’ll be at least laying down horizontally. Side-to-side rocking aggravates my back, but I should be better by early March.
 

Oreius

OBS Chief
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Messages
614
Just curious can you book 2 coach seats which is still cheaper than the sleeper and guarantee yourself 2 seats? Im not sure this would work but was curious if anyone has tried it???

Thats what I do when I fly Southwest Airlines. I am a large person, though I’ve lost 70 pounds. Southwest will ALWAYS refund the second seat after you fly—you’re doing them (and other passengers) a favor by not encroaching on another passenger’s “bubble” if the flight is full.

Even once I can fit comfortably in an Economy class seat, I’ll still buy two seats because I have Asperger’s (highest functioning Autism.)
 

happycamper

Train Attendant
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Thats what I do when I fly Southwest Airlines. I am a large person, though I’ve lost 70 pounds. Southwest will ALWAYS refund the second seat after you fly—you’re doing them (and other passengers) a favor by not encroaching on another passenger’s “bubble” if the flight is full.

Even once I can fit comfortably in an Economy class seat, I’ll still buy two seats because I have Asperger’s (highest functioning Autism.)
I really dont like to fly as the seats are so close. That is a good idea.. I miss flying long ago when it was fun....
 
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