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33Nicolas

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 10, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Savannah, GA
All I said is Amtrakā€™s generally is worse. Did not say anything about pristine, so that bit is on you šŸ˜¬
I still can't log into Amtrak's site on Firefox and Chromium. Am I the only one with that problem? The app works well, but I can't log in there also.
 

Lonnie

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Western Massachusetts
The "system" you are interacting with on the website is the tippy top layer of an accretion of overlays around an antique 1970s era core. It is probably pretty much a large and stinky pile of technical debt in a "hairball". Plus, the folks that really knew the core system I understand are largely gone, either retired or pushed out. And I am pretty sure Amtrak has a difficult time attracting quality corporate IT talent, their pay scale is likely not particularly competitive and their corporate culture likely sucks. Good IT people have options.

Whatever you ran into was likely an inadvertent artifact of a very brittle and over complicated system and not a design choice. The only way around it was Amtrak's Customer Relations staff doing the task directly on ARROW's own, native old "green screen" interface and avoiding all the encapsulating layers.

I do not try to do anything other than very straightforward and simple things on the website in actual transactions. Just researching fares now I have run into several weird dead ends on the current UI.

I understand your frustration. I personally prefer to do most of my business online generally, and not over the phone. But not with Amtrak. For Amtrak, I call and deal with an agent that can cut through the layers of accretion and interact with ARROW directly.
I just love the way you've explained this. Makes me wonder how many key parts of our infrastructure built so long ago in terms of advances in programming are running on foundations as creaky as all the bridges that need replacing.
 

BCL

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,366
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
I've been trying to book a trip from Anaheim to Emeryville using the Pacific Surfliner V712 discount code. They also have a 5% discount on Disneyland admission, but that's neither here nor there.


I've tried entering it into the website and it always flashes "This coupon code is not valid." before closing the advanced search menu and then turning the FIND TRAINS box into a washed out green. Then I'm stuck there unless I reload the page and start over again. Seems really weird though, since I can get it to work through the Amtrak app on an iPad.

I'm also finding it rather weird that Value is more expensive than Flexible, although it might have something to do with the discount code.
 

Arctifox

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2021
Messages
52
Location
D.C.
The code needs to be added as a discount to the passenger, not as a coupon.
When you click on the passenger numbers you can choose the number of passengers and the category, and at the bottom you can enter the 4 digit discount code - see the attached screenshot.
 

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BCL

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Messages
4,366
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
The code needs to be added as a discount to the passenger, not as a coupon.
When you click on the passenger numbers you can choose the number of passengers and the category, and at the bottom you can enter the 4 digit discount code - see the attached screenshot.

OK. Got a little bit confused especially since the app only has a single place to enter a coupon or discount code, but then it has this weird "add" button if one needs to enter several of them together. But then it's frustrating because the website doesn't just reject the discount code, but then prevents the user from doing anything further without reloading the page.

Yeah, I ran into that weird corner myself a couple months ago.

More intuitive UX design from those aces at Amtrak IT.

I got confused because with the app one can enter either a discount or coupon code and it just parses it.

But I just booked it with whatever I could get to work at the time.
 

PaulM

Engineer
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
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Location
Quincy, IL
Makes me wonder how many key parts of our infrastructure built so long ago in terms of advances in programming are running on foundations as creaky as all the bridges that need replacing.
I think that the "creaky" part, namely Arrow, gets a bad rap. I think the culprit is the "advanced programming" of the website.

When I try to retrieve fares using Firefox, it either spins its wheels and dies, or displays that lazy programmer style error message so popular these days:
We've experienced an unknown error. Try again later or call us at 1-800-USA-RAIL.
I don't think Arrow caused that. Also, the main amtrak.com pages has just under 250,000 characters in 4,322 lines. No wonder it hard to get it right. What ever happened to modular programming?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Washington State
No wonder it hard to get it right. What ever happened to modular programming?
They renamed it OO and then forgot about it?

Seriously, I agree with you. The "wrap" is most likely the issue, not Arrow. And there are probably several layers now between the UI and Arrow. BTW, the API call for the data from the page is one of the worst I have ever seen. It looks like everything plus the kitchen sink is bundled into that single API method.
 
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JermyZP

Train Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Anaheim
Has anyone noticed on the Amtrak website the phrase "First Class" being used a lot when looking at privet room details? I do remember the last couple of years Amtrak would use the term only a few times under details. Also, why would they call it "First Class Room" if they don't print it on a ticket or even show it on your ETicket.
 

TheVig

Lead Service Attendant
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Jun 22, 2020
Messages
261
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Charlotte NC
Currently running at negative capacity.

MewYzjV.jpg
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,593
Location
Baltimore. MD
So my wife, daughter, and I are going down to Washington tomorrow. Turns out the first MARC train isn't early enough for us, so we will be taking Northeast Regional 151, which happens to have a nice, discounted bucket price, too. So I go into the app, and the first thing was, I had to update it. OK, no problem, then I select the number of passengers for the reservation, two Seniors and an Adult. Then after clicking through the unneeded (for us) upsell for a bike or pets, I get to listing the travelers. OK, I'm first, not problem. Then I enter my wife. No problem. Then I enter my daughter, and, DING! "Enter a birth date that qualifies for the Senior discount" (or something like that.) Turns out, Traveler 1 (that's me) is coded as Adult, and travelers 2 and 3 are Seniors. And there's no way to change the order. Traveler 1 is always an Adult if you're booking more than one ticket. And when it comes time to listing the travelers, the person who owns the account is always listed as traveler 1 unless they're just booking one ticket for themselves.

I ended up ditching the app and going to the website, but I had the same problem. In the end, what I had to do was to buy two senor tickets for my wife and me, and then buy a single adult ticket for my daughter on a separate reservation. Even that gave me problems when I tried to buy a ticket for someone else when I was logged in to my account, so I had and then everything worked, thank goodness. In addition, at one point FNBO got suspicious because I was making two purchases to the same place within a short period, so they dinged me and sent me a verification code, which took forever to hit my email. But, finally, in the end, I was able to book the three tickets. What's going on? I've never had this problem before. Who can I complain to, I mean, let Amtrak know that their app and Website need a little tweaking?
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,988
Location
Delaware
This has been discussed before, though I can't remember where. I think the solution given was to select your daughter first and then yourself and then your wife. Then remove your daughter and you should end up first, as a senior and your wife second, then add your daughter. I'm not sure if I got that right, but you might want to try it.
 

Lonnie

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Western Massachusetts
So my wife, daughter, and I are going down to Washington tomorrow. Turns out the first MARC train isn't early enough for us, so we will be taking Northeast Regional 151, which happens to have a nice, discounted bucket price, too. So I go into the app, and the first thing was, I had to update it. OK, no problem, then I select the number of passengers for the reservation, two Seniors and an Adult. Then after clicking through the unneeded (for us) upsell for a bike or pets, I get to listing the travelers. OK, I'm first, not problem. Then I enter my wife. No problem. Then I enter my daughter, and, DING! "Enter a birth date that qualifies for the Senior discount" (or something like that.) Turns out, Traveler 1 (that's me) is coded as Adult, and travelers 2 and 3 are Seniors. And there's no way to change the order. Traveler 1 is always an Adult if you're booking more than one ticket. And when it comes time to listing the travelers, the person who owns the account is always listed as traveler 1 unless they're just booking one ticket for themselves.

I ended up ditching the app and going to the website, but I had the same problem. In the end, what I had to do was to buy two senor tickets for my wife and me, and then buy a single adult ticket for my daughter on a separate reservation. Even that gave me problems when I tried to buy a ticket for someone else when I was logged in to my account, so I had and then everything worked, thank goodness. In addition, at one point FNBO got suspicious because I was making two purchases to the same place within a short period, so they dinged me and sent me a verification code, which took forever to hit my email. But, finally, in the end, I was able to book the three tickets. What's going on? I've never had this problem before. Who can I complain to, I mean, let Amtrak know that their app and Website need a little tweaking?
Yes, I brought this up a few weeks ago. It was a great discussion but only this actually worked:
"I first added a senior traveler in addition to the standard adult, then removed the adult and added one again. At that point, the app put the senior as "Traveler 1" and the adult as "Traveler 2". When I chose a random train and had to enter the passenger names, it still says "Traveler 1 of 2 | Senior (Primary Contact)" on top of the screen. I tried the same on the web site and it doesn't work there, the "adult" is automatically put as the primary traveler, but on the iOS app (and potentially also the Android app)."
 

Lonnie

Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Western Massachusetts
This has been discussed before, though I can't remember where. I think the solution given was to select your daughter first and then yourself and then your wife. Then remove your daughter and you should end up first, as a senior and your wife second, then add your daughter. I'm not sure if I got that right, but you might want to try it.
Yep, it was Artifox who came up with the brilliant solution.
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
14,988
Location
Delaware
I think I've found another glitch, surprise, surprise. I can't modify my tickets online or on the app (trying to use expiring upgrade coupons) because I bought the tickets with the disability discount. The upgrades can be used with the discounted tickets. I had to call AGR earlier for my first train and after she upgraded my ticket, the disability notation disappeared. Now on hold to upgrade the 2nd train. By the time I talk to an agent any remaining BC seats might be gone....to others with upgrade coupons. It's not a big deal to me to sit in BC vs Coach, but figured I should take advantage of the coupons that are expiring in a few days.
 

33Nicolas

Train Attendant
Joined
Oct 10, 2022
Messages
26
Location
Savannah, GA
I find the app to work better than the site although it wouldn't let me register in the beginning. I'm still waiting to hear from Amtrak asking them to include my last trip under my perks. Sadly, I feel most if not all UX is underwhelming these days.
 
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