CZ and SWC sleepers removed (downgraded to coach)

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Joined
Jul 22, 2020
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I just received an email that my reservation on train #5 from Chicago to Emeryville, CA on Oct. 4 has been changed from a roomette to standard coach seating. The explanation is that the sleeper car has been removed. It stated they will refund the price difference; I used Guest Reward points for this trip. I'm definitely not traveling coach for two nights. Out of curiosity, I checked the website and noticed sleepers are "sold out" on train 5 for most dates in Sept./Oct. What's going on? My only option is to just cancel the trip and get a full refund of my points. After 40 years of traveling with Amtrak, I'm ready to give up on the long distance trains. This is just the latest in a long string of issues I've had with Amtrak; e.g. lengthy delays, bus bridges, cancellations, etc. On top of this, I think sleeper fares are outrageously expensive for what you get. My travel dollars are better spent elsewhere.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
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East San Diego County
As many of you will remember, early last June we had to cancel our LD trip to Ohio after our bedroom reservation on SWC No. 4 was shot out from under us when the second sleeper was replaced with a Trans-Dorm sleeper, and we couldn’t be downgrade because the train was sold out.

Rather than forego this year’s trip we decided to reschedule it to late September-early October.

On June 16th, Amtrak sold us round trip SWC bedroom accommodations (again in the second sleeper.) One of these was the last bedroom still available.

This morning, we received the following e-mail:

“We wanted to let you know that the [second] Sleeper Car has been removed from train #0004, the Southwest Chief, from Los Angeles Union Station on Tuesday, September 20th. We've changed your reservation to standard Coach seating and will refund you for the price difference.

We're sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for being a valued Amtrak customer - we'll see you onboard.”

Since, as seniors, we’re no longer up to making a long-distance train trip in coach, we’ll be contacting Customer Relations to see about rescheduling our trip to June-July 2023 with the stipulation that our SWC bedrooms be in the first sleeper. We’ll keep you posted on how we make out.

Eric & Pat
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
798
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
That’s pretty bad - and this far in advance as well. Glad my sleeper on the Empire Builder was fine, though not sure I want to chance this going forward. The safest thing might be to book a refundable flight in addition to any sleeper if that is a viable alternative for you - currently those are sometimes only $50-$100 more than non-refundable. Despite airlines having their own issues, that may be more reliable than Amtrak sleepers - at least if your flight is cancelled there are generally more alternatives.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
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8
Location
New Mexico
We had 2 bedrooms booked on the Zephyr for 9/18. Also received an email about a sleeper car being removed. Their communication is atrocious as there was not updated reservation information. It wasn't until I called that I discovered that one bedroom had been moved to coach because the other was on a different car. No communication about the amount of the refund. Again had to ask on the call. The agent was rude. For the moment, leaving the reservation as is because my in-laws are coming from the UK for this trip. Anyone ever have any luck picking up a cancellation? I guess I'll be stalking the website in the hopes that I get lucky. Also, does anyone have any insight on seat swaps? I ask because my in-laws will have the room, but by the time of the trip I'll be 17 weeks pregnant. In-laws have said I could have a night in the sleeper and one of them will sit coach. Would the attendant allow that?
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
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East San Diego County
In a different thread, someone commented that they were told by a member of the SWC’s onboard staff that the Trans-Dorm car will remain after the summer travel season has ended.

Will we ever return to those halcyon days when the SWC’s consist had three (count ‘em) three sleeping cars and there were bedrooms available for all those who wanted them?
 

pennyk

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Also, does anyone have any insight on seat swaps? I ask because my in-laws will have the room, but by the time of the trip I'll be 17 weeks pregnant. In-laws have said I could have a night in the sleeper and one of them will sit coach. Would the attendant allow that?
I believe it is unlikely that it would be permitted and I certainly would not count on it.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
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New Mexico
I believe it is unlikely that it would be permitted and I certainly would not count on it.
How does the ticketing work? I've been puzzling over how my in-laws will access the sleeping car for boarding and if they leave to go to observation car or cafe. We only have one ticket received by email...which is no longer current with the change to coach. Do we all just carry a copy of the same ticket?
 

AmtrakBlue

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How does the ticketing work? I've been puzzling over how my in-laws will access the sleeping car for boarding and if they leave to go to observation car or cafe. We only have one ticket received by email...which is no longer current with the change to coach. Do we all just carry a copy of the same ticket?
Yes, you can print out multiple copies of the ticket. As for the changes, the QR code will have those changes. You could call and request they send you updated eTickets so you an "read" the changes.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
853
Just checked our 12/18 trip from EMY to GBB in the 32 car (family room). This is the reservation that took me 5 hours over 3 days to book because website kept crashing and reservations wanted to charge me $800 more than price on the website. Finally I got through to Guest Relations and they forced it through matching the price the website showed. Good news reservation is still intact as of today. Very worried since Amtrak does not add cars for the holidays anymore. So the 32 car is gone until around November it sounds.

I’ll be very surprised if it’s back before next spring at this point. Minus Thanksgiving week and Christmas week, November to February is travels (all modes) slowest months. And like I said before Amtrak doesn’t increase the size of long distance trains just for the holidays. I’m booking back up air tickets which for 12/18 are already going to be pricey compared to when I booked this 3 months ago.

I said yesterday in another thread I hope Gardner tries to put 3 day service back on the table and tries to back up his lame excuses before a Senate hearing. It’s true insanity you can’t run a business like this long term. Until Gardner does something drastic to get the powers to be attention nothing will change and it will continue to be one day closer to the end of the network. Death by a 1000 cuts has to stop.

I’m glad RPA has started to gather evidence at least with their announcement yesterday.
 
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Joined
Aug 7, 2022
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Location
Scarborough, Maine
We are on a three week trip starting 9/8. We just got a change today that did not have a change to the CZ but included the CHI to DEN leg of the CZ. We are in car 532, room 2. Should I be worried about this reservation? Also, a newbie question, how do you list the trains you have ridden? BTW we purchased these trains last December. Should they not make more recent buyers change from a roomette to coach and not one that bought their tickets 9 months ago?
 

pennyk

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Also, a newbie question, how do you list the trains you have ridden?
Many members list trains ridden in their signature, which you can do by accessing your account. If you need assistance, please send me a PM. Please note the rules for signatures in the Rules and Guidelines thread.
 
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
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In 1968, the PRR mysteriously "lost" my sleeping car reservation for the Broadway. I learned about the loss about 8 hours before departure when my reservation could not be found and the sleeping car accommodations were sold out at that point. Fortunately, I had the luxury of being able to stay an additional day in Chicago and was able to book on the next day's Broadway.

That was 54 years ago. Not much has changed except Amtrak sometimes gives a bit more notice when they pull the rug out from under you.
 

rs9

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Dec 26, 2021
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In another thread it was claimed that empty Superliner sleepers are being moved to the end of regional trains for axel count reasons.
I would have to find the thread again, but I believe it was noted that the Superliners being used on the Saluki, for axle count reasons, are cars that are not in service due to maintenance needs. Since the Saluki originates and ends in Chicago, this seems like a decent use of resources - maintenance delays not withstanding.
 

greatwestern

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Dec 6, 2017
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Bristol England
I also have been demoted from Bedroom to Coach on CZ number 6 on 23rd September.

This after I was demoted from Bedroom to Coach on SWC number 4 in June this year.

I have received an email notifying me - for the trip in June all I received was a sales invoice and pdf ticket leaving me to trawl through to actually find out what was happening.

As the sole purpose for me actually travelling from the UK to the USA in both June and September was to travel on Amtrak I am (to put it politely) not happy. I could not in June, and cannot for September change my flights etc - presumably I am not the only overseas traveller to be affected by this farce.

What I have managed to do is to book (as an alternative to the CZ) the SWC but only in Roomette - currently I have therefore paid for the CZ (presumably with the accommodation refund in the pipeline) and also have paid for the SWC.

If my Roomette booking on the SWC gets dumped by Amtrak I am left with no other option.

I will be looking to make my feelings known to Amtrak as best I can (obviously not as easy doing that from the UK as it might be from the States).
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,840
I’m not all that surprised. Based on some of what you hear of reports on board they’ve stretched pretty thin to go back to daily for the summer. Hopefully the dropped sleeper is a sign they won’t reduce the train to less than daily. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
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Will we ever return to those halcyon days when the SWC’s consist had three (count ‘em) three sleeping cars and there were bedrooms available for all those who wanted them?

I’d think eventually it’ll be back to more than it is now - but not in the next year or two. It’s going to be dicey while OBS remains short staffed.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
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1,840
I just received an email that my reservation on train #5 from Chicago to Emeryville, CA on Oct. 4 has been changed from a roomette to standard coach seating. The explanation is that the sleeper car has been removed. It stated they will refund the price difference; I used Guest Reward points for this trip. I'm definitely not traveling coach for two nights. Out of curiosity, I checked the website and noticed sleepers are "sold out" on train 5 for most dates in Sept./Oct. What's going on? My only option is to just cancel the trip and get a full refund of my points. After 40 years of traveling with Amtrak, I'm ready to give up on the long distance trains. This is just the latest in a long string of issues I've had with Amtrak; e.g. lengthy delays, bus bridges, cancellations, etc. On top of this, I think sleeper fares are outrageously expensive for what you get. My travel dollars are better spent elsewhere.

This isn’t meant to make excuses and I understand your frustration. But in fairness the airline industry has had far from a model summer with many of the same problems and has had to drop flights at a moment’s notice, cut flights routes etc without much notice for much the same reasons. Obviously despite all this the airline industry has infinitely more capacity so eventually there’s a flight they can get you on - and for most people a coach seat on an airline is more likely to be tolerated due to the shorter trip. With the extremely limited capacity of once daily overnight train routes it can be impossible to reaccomodate someone without making someone endure an overnight coach trip as remaining sleepers can be sold out for days.

At the end of the day for most people flying is a necessity while overnight train is discretionary - hence people are going to have higher expectations for Amtrak and a lower threshold for “never again.” Which is the dilemma faced when these things happen.
 

Gary Behling

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
102
Just out of curiosity, in regard to those whose sleeping car reservations were cancelled, is there any way to possibly avoid this situation by either making your reservations 11 months in advance OR by knowing which sleeping car most likely might be cancelled so as to make your reservations in a different sleeping car on the same train?
 

greatwestern

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Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Messages
152
Location
Bristol England
Just out of curiosity, in regard to those whose sleeping car reservations were cancelled, is there any way to possibly avoid this situation by either making your reservations 11 months in advance OR by knowing which sleeping car most likely might be cancelled so as to make your reservations in a different sleeping car on the same train?
Well I booked my June 2022 SWC trip in September 2021 and I still got dumped from Bedroom to Coach just days before I was due to travel.

My downgraded September 2022 CZ trip was booked in March 2022.

Phoning the US from the UK can be expensive (particularly when you find yourself on hold/cut off/not answered) so trying to avoid whatever downgrading strategy Amtrak does (or doesn't) use seems to be pot luck.
 
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