Comparison of Amtrak "Never Again" with "Never Again" on other transportation

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AmtrakBlue

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They probably won't even let you use the bathroom (unless you're stuck on the ground really long term).
On one of my trips, we were taxing for departure. I guesstimated how many planes were ahead of us and got up and went to the back to use the bathroom. Told the flight attendants I could not wait till we were in air and the seat belt signs go off. I was back to my seat before we got to the runway.
 

Ryan

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I've had a similar problem, but at the other end of the flight. I had a brief conversation with the flight attendant after the signs had gone back on and she was making her final check. Her advice boiled down to "I can't tell you you're allowed to, but if you've got to go, you've got to go and if you do go, we're not going to be too grumpy because we're decent people". I did tell her that I'd hold off until we were on the ground and we were off the runway. She seemed to think that was a good plan.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I have actually wondered how many that say "Never again" actually follow through, specially among those who have to travel a lot. If someone who travels once in a blue moon says "Never again" it is probably much easier for them to follow through and the impact on the carrier is probably quite minimal too.
It is difficult for working age folks to make such a plan permanent. I said "never again" to America West but had to fly them again when work booked me. I said "never again" to Delta back in the late 1990's and kept it up for nearly two decades but when I said "never again" to United in 2017 I had to bring Delta back into the rotation. That turned out to be the right move though and DL's F/C+ was an improvement over UA's F/E+. I've since had a couple flights on UA that were difficult or impossible to replace with another carrier but in general when I have a choice I choose something else. When it comes to full service airlines it's becoming harder to swear off a carrier for an entire lifetime and make it stick.
 
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cirdan

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I'm still wondering why we needed to be told that the passenger was a pastor, and a big man.
Maybe being a pastor, there is some expectation that he may have a deeper understanding of human nature, foibles and weaknesses than the average Joe, and may as a result be empathetic and understanding and will also because of his training and experience be able to express himself in a diplomatic, dignified, measured and restrained manner. I would assume that it is thus implied that his complaint thus has more gravitas than some random entitled guy living in a bubble who will lash out and complain loudly because some minor and insignificant detail is not to his liking.

His size may help understand why he was uncomfortable when the AC quit working.

So I would say this information is nor entirely irrelevant in understanding the situation.
 
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Maybe being a pastor, there is some expectation that he may have a deeper understanding of human nature, foibles and weaknesses than the average Joe, and may as a result be empathetic and understanding and will also because of his training and experience be able to express himself in a diplomatic, dignified, measured and restrained manner. I would assume that it is thus implied that his complaint thus has more gravitas than some random entitled guy living in a bubble who will lash out and complain loudly because some minor and insignificant detail is not to his liking.

His size may help understand why he was uncomfortable when the AC quit working.

So I would say this information is nor entirely irrelevant in understanding the situation.
I understood both aspects, but the point was that the AC stopped working. That will soon make people of all sizes uncomfortable, so within a short while, his size is not an issue; therefore it did not need to be mentioned.

Pastors may be empathetic (or not), but the same could be said for many others, including, but not limited to, social workers, teachers, nurses, counselors, therapists, etc., and even some customer service reps. Again, at a certain point, such identification becomes moot.
 
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It's interesting, people say "never again," because of humongous delays, malfunctioning locomotives, A/C, toilets, etc., but not because Amtrak took the sightseer lounge off the Eagle or the Capitol, or an attendant forbids them for sitting in the cafe car, or Flex Food, or they removed fresh flowers from the tables in the dining car. Seems like Amtrak's priorities are to (1) make sure their equipment is in good mechanical condition (which is under Amtrak's control, and (2) eliminate delays caused by the host railroads, for which they have less control, but they seem to be getting more aggressive at pushing back. If a train can't get you there within an hour of the scheduled time (for long-distance trains, more like 15 or 20 minutes for corridor trains), then passenger rail is not going to be a realistic transportation alternative for most travelers.
 

AmtrakBlue

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It's interesting, people say "never again," because of humongous delays, malfunctioning locomotives, A/C, toilets, etc., but not because Amtrak took the sightseer lounge off the Eagle or the Capitol, or an attendant forbids them for sitting in the cafe car, or Flex Food, or they removed fresh flowers from the tables in the dining car. Seems like Amtrak's priorities are to (1) make sure their equipment is in good mechanical condition (which is under Amtrak's control, and (2) eliminate delays caused by the host railroads, for which they have less control, but they seem to be getting more aggressive at pushing back. If a train can't get you there within an hour of the scheduled time (for long-distance trains, more like 15 or 20 minutes for corridor trains), then passenger rail is not going to be a realistic transportation alternative for most travelers.
There are people who say they won’t ride again till such things are reinstated… but we’ve seen evidence that they’re still riding the trains. ;)
 

crescent-zephyr

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It's interesting, people say "never again," because of humongous delays, malfunctioning locomotives, A/C, toilets, etc., but not because Amtrak took the sightseer lounge off the Eagle or the Capitol, or an attendant forbids them for sitting in the cafe car, or Flex Food, or they removed fresh flowers from the tables in the dining car.
I avoid trains with flex dining that I used to ride on a regular basis. I don’t think I’m the only one.
 
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It's interesting, people say "never again," because of humongous delays, malfunctioning locomotives, A/C, toilets, etc., but not because Amtrak took the sightseer lounge off the Eagle or the Capitol, or an attendant forbids them for sitting in the cafe car, or Flex Food, or they removed fresh flowers from the tables in the dining car. Seems like Amtrak's priorities are to (1) make sure their equipment is in good mechanical condition (which is under Amtrak's control, and (2) eliminate delays caused by the host railroads, for which they have less control, but they seem to be getting more aggressive at pushing back. If a train can't get you there within an hour of the scheduled time (for long-distance trains, more like 15 or 20 minutes for corridor trains), then passenger rail is not going to be a realistic transportation alternative for most travelers.
I have said never again to the Texas Eagle unless the dining car and sightseer lounge car are restored. I have better things to spend my money on. And I really enjoyed my previous trips on the Texas Eagle.

Next year I have to travel from the Northeast to Tucson. I would ordinarily take the Lake Shore and the Texas Eagle but I won't be on the Texas Eagle with no dining car or sightseer lounge. If they are not restored by the time of my trip, I intend to fly to New Orleans and take the Sunset to Tucson.

And I have pretty well given up on 448 after spending two uncomfortable nights at South Station (and almost a third) due to delays on that train. I don't mind taking 449 going west but I am flying back.
 

BoulderCO

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Like most things said in anger, "Never Again!" shouldn't be taken literally.

There is a cartoon in this week's New Yorker magazine that depicts an obviously angry passenger confronting a gate agent at an airport. He is pounding his fist on the agent's workstation and saying:

"If you don't make this right, I'll never fly your airline again unless it's the cheapest option!"
 

jpakala

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I would question that. Unless we’re talking a schedule change done weeks in advance, major airlines don’t “simply” cancel a flight because there weren’t enough people on it on the day of departure. The logistics of getting equipment and crews in place (especially for a carrier like Southwest, which doesn’t operate simple out-and-back flights from a hub) mean they are going to spend a lot of time and money getting people and planes back into place.

The exception to this is if there are other issues going on in the network, then they will cancel flights that have the least overall impact, considering the number of passengers needing rebooking, downline impacts on equipment and crews, etc. (you claim “no weather, employee, or mechanical issues” but how would you know?) Even if Phoenix looks fine, even if your plane looks fine, if a Kansas City-Phoenix flight was cancelled and that plane was, hypothetically, going to continue to Las Vegas and Seattle with a full load, it might be easier to cancel a relatively empty flight to LA rather than strand 143 people going to Vegas and another 143 people in Vegas going to Seattle. But the claim that an airline will cancel a flight “simply” because there aren’t enough passengers to make a profit on that segment with no other underlying reason is a myth.
First, our flight was St Louis to L.A. with an en route stop in Phoenix. They gave no reason whatever. We just would have to get off and wait for the next flight from there to L.A. I don't recall any need for another ticket, gate info or anything. We did notice the plane somewhat emptied at Phoenix. All this happened after landing and others getting off.
 

UserNameRequired

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This.

I've never experienced when being stuck in line on the tarmac that the cabin crew said, you may undo your seatbelts and walk around for a while until we're ready to take off. And they don't serve beverages in that situation either. They probably won't even let you use the bathroom (unless you're stuck on the ground really long term).


We need to talk about what's good about trains, and continues to be good even when things go wrong.
FAR 121.311(b) …”each person on board an airplane operated under this part shall occupy an approved seat or berth with a separate safety belt properly secured about him or her during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing.” …
They may not know when they they will suddenly get taxi instructions or the aircraft ahead in the conga line moves forward. If they are unable, they could lose their place in line or delay everyone else behind them. Suspect this is why it is not so ok to get up to use the bathroom during possible movement time.
 

cirdan

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FAR 121.311(b) …”each person on board an airplane operated under this part shall occupy an approved seat or berth with a separate safety belt properly secured about him or her during movement on the surface, takeoff, and landing.” …
They may not know when they they will suddenly get taxi instructions or the aircraft ahead in the conga line moves forward. If they are unable, they could lose their place in line or delay everyone else behind them. Suspect this is why it is not so ok to get up to use the bathroom during possible movement time.
I'm not saying the rules aren't justified. I'm just saying we need to see the up sides of trains rather than apologizing for their down sides.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I'm not saying the rules aren't justified. I'm just saying we need to see the up sides of trains rather than apologizing for their down sides.
I don’t think I’m the only member of this board who used to ride Amtrak all around the country and eventually started to fly more than take the train.

The decline in amenities, and poor customer service is what drove me away. Not the OTP. I actually found Amtrak to be about as reliable as airlines in my limited anecdotal experiences.

I do still enjoy the experience of traveling by train and I want to ride in a new Viewliner sleeper and try out the new dining car menus out west.

Point is, some of us understand the simple truth that flying can be better.
 
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I don’t think I’m the only member of this board who used to ride Amtrak all around the country and eventually started to fly more than take the train.

The decline in amenities, and poor customer service is what drove me away. Not the OTP. I actually found Amtrak to be about as reliable as airlines in my limited anecdotal experiences.

I do still enjoy the experience of traveling by train and I want to ride in a new Viewliner sleeper and try out the new dining car menus out west.

Point is, some of us understand the simple truth that flying can be better.
I think the vast majority of never agains on Amtrak when people are taking Amtrak for transportation are OTP and major delays due to equipment issues, etc along with how they treat, communicate with, and accommodate passengers when an issue occurs - in fact they've even found that OTP drives customer responses to other categories in customer satisfaction index. IE. if you have a massive delay - people are more likely to rate everything less including food and beverage, service, etc.

May I respectively suggest perhaps you simply found by flying more that you prefer flying as your mode of transportation when you're simply trying to get there and when the train and train amenities isn't a primary reason for your trip. If I'm correct there's nothing wrong with that - everyone has different preferences and reasons for taking Amtrak when they do. But I would respectively suggest that the vast majority of people taking trips for the experience of riding and where those amenities are paramount are taking the western trains like the Zephyr. The fact is changes like flexible dining has had a negligible effect on ridership on the eastern trains. Not that I wouldn't be happy if they brought it back or that I think that it wouldn't improve CSI scores. But I don't believe it is paramount on those trains in my opinion at least.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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There are specific roads I refuse to drive. Never again.

I also swore off all US flights until the TSA stopped harassing people. So, probably forever.
There are around twenty airports in the US that do not use TSA staff for security screening. I cannot guarantee you'll be any happier but I found the non-TSA folks at SFO to be faster and friendlier than the usual experience.
 

rs9

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There are around twenty airports in the US that do not use TSA staff for security screening. I cannot guarantee you'll be any happier but I found the non-TSA folks at SFO to be faster and friendlier than the usual experience.
Not to go too far off topic here, but I read an interesting perspective from a person who is transgender about the TSA experience (this article may be paywalled): How To Avoid Getting Groped By TSA While Trans | Defector

While transgender people are certainly a very small percentage of the population as far as we know, perhaps some of these folks may be in the "never again" for flying crowd. It's a good illustration that "never again" could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

I hope people who are transgender feel welcome on Amtrak.
 
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The fact is changes like flexible dining has had a negligible effect on ridership on the eastern trains.
I am not sure that I agree with that conclusion. It seems to me that the eastern long distance trains are running with much shorter consists than normal. Is that because of the shortage of staff or because the poor amenities have reduced the patronage?

We have no interest in paying the high sleeping car fares on the Crescent or the Texas Eagle without a dining car or a lounge car and I used to enjoy those routes very much. Someone else can have our roomette and if their patronage can keep these trains running until better times come, that is great.
 
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We have no interest in paying the high sleeping car fares on the Crescent or the Texas Eagle without a dining car or a lounge car and I used to enjoy those routes very much. Someone else can have our roomette and if their patronage can keep these trains running until better times come, that is great.
I don't mean to suggest no one feels that way - but I think most of those that do are rail enthusiasts such as us - and yes I think on many routes (at least east of the Mississippi) someone who doesn't feel that way is available to step in. On shorter consists - it's because of staff/equipment availability and possibly at times yield management. Most of the reductions in the east are on the coach side- and they aren't shedding multiple coaches worth of people over no coach access to the diner.

Routes like the Zephyr are different as MANY more people are riding for that experience and thus the amenities are a more key part of the train's business.
 
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