Group sales tickets not timely mailed

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Joined
Jun 29, 2022
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Burlington Iowa
PLEASE HELP! I made a group reservation in February of this year for 16 Boy Scouts and Scouters from Fort Madison, Iowa to Raton, New Mexico. I called a month ago and asked when we would receive our tickets in the mail. I was told 7 days prior to our departure date --- and told to call back if I had not. I did not receive them Monday (7 days prior), so I called again and was told that they had not been issued and there was no tracking number. Told to call back Wednesday at 2 pm Eastern Time. So I called back today and spoke with another member of the group sales. He said still no tickets issued, no tracking number. He said he would email the ticket agent with a note and told me to call back tomorrow. Tomorrow is Thursday, and this is an extended holiday weekend for the 4th of July. I am nervous and upset about this. If I do not get them by Monday (when we are supposed to leave), what do I do? This is a boy scout trip so we have no resources to change plans at such a late date. Thanks.
 

zephyr17

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Be aware this site is not Amtrak and is not connected with Amtrak. It is a discussion board of people who are interested in Amtrak.

Note that due the major derailment of the eastbound Southwest Chief on Monday, service on the Southwest Chief's route, your route, is severely disrupted with some trains cancelled and others truncated. Monday's westbound out of Chicago isn't on the announced cancellations at this time.

With that said, your best bet, other than continuing to call the Group Sales desk, would be to call the 800 number during business hours Eastern Time Monday through Friday, get an agent and ask the agent to connect you with Customer Relations (NOT Customer Service). They can cut through many issues, though I do not know how much impact they have on Group Sales. I don't know if Customer Relations is accessible via the Group Sales number.

I am a bit surprised by this, as Boy Scouts traveling to Philmont is a pretty big deal and has been for decades. Does BSA not have a central desk that handles this?

I am also a little bit surprised it requires paper value tickets, almost all Amtrak tickets now are etickets, there are few ticket types that still require paper value tickets and those known to me are pretty esoteric.

Good Luck.
 
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Be aware this site is not Amtrak and is not connected with Amtrak. It is a discussion board of people who are interested in Amtrak.

Note that due the major derailment of the eastbound Southwest Chief on Monday, service on the Southwest Chief's route, your route, is severely disrupted with some trains cancelled and others truncated. Monday's westbound out of Chicago isn't on the announced cancellations at this time.

With that said, your best bet, other than continuing to call the Group Sales desk, would be to call the 800 number during business hours Eastern Time Monday through Friday, get an agent and ask the agent to connect you with Customer Relations (NOT Customer Service). They can cut through many issues, though I do not know how much impact they have on Group Sales. I don't know if Customer Relations is accessible via the Group Sales number.

I am a bit surprised by this, as Boy Scouts traveling to Philmont is a pretty big deal and has been for decades. Does BSA not have a central desk that handles this?

I am also a little bit surprised it requires paper value tickets, almost all Amtrak tickets now are etickets, there are few ticket types that still require paper value tickets and those known to me are pretty esoteric.

Good Luck.
For something like Philmont, BSA (national) does not handle travel arrangements, that is normally up to someone from the local unit (troop) (like the OP).
 

zephyr17

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For something like Philmont, BSA (national) does not handle travel arrangements, that is normally up to someone from the local unit (troop) (like the OP).
Thanks, didn't know that. Still think the best avenue at this point is probably Customer Relations. Only other thing I could think of is physically going over to Ft. Madison and camping out with the agent there until the agent can straighten it out.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
Messages
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Burlington Iowa
Thanks, didn't know that. Still think the best avenue at this point is probably Customer Relations. Only other thing I could think of is physically going over to Ft. Madison and camping out with the agent there until the agent can straighten it out.
I have thought the same thing and will do so this evening if I get the same song and dance today when I call them (after being on hold for an hour). Just terribly disappointed in their lack of answers or set pattern of how things are done. Thanks.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2022
Messages
3
Location
Burlington Iowa
Be aware this site is not Amtrak and is not connected with Amtrak. It is a discussion board of people who are interested in Amtrak.

Note that due the major derailment of the eastbound Southwest Chief on Monday, service on the Southwest Chief's route, your route, is severely disrupted with some trains cancelled and others truncated. Monday's westbound out of Chicago isn't on the announced cancellations at this time.

With that said, your best bet, other than continuing to call the Group Sales desk, would be to call the 800 number during business hours Eastern Time Monday through Friday, get an agent and ask the agent to connect you with Customer Relations (NOT Customer Service). They can cut through many issues, though I do not know how much impact they have on Group Sales. I don't know if Customer Relations is accessible via the Group Sales number.

I am a bit surprised by this, as Boy Scouts traveling to Philmont is a pretty big deal and has been for decades. Does BSA not have a central desk that handles this?

I am also a little bit surprised it requires paper value tickets, almost all Amtrak tickets now are etickets, there are few ticket types that still require paper value tickets and those known to me are pretty esoteric.

Good Luck.
I appreciate the information and was aware this is not an official Amtrak site, but I thought some followers of Amtrak may have some ideas. Ticket sales appear to be a go starting July 3rd, so we should be good barring any unforeseen issues cleaning and clearing the derailment. I will go the customer "relations" route as well today if I get stonewalled again. As TinCan782 said, BSA does not do reservations or have their own ticket agent per se. Each Troop is on their own to make arrangements. As far as paper tickets, once I said we had 16 people we were funneled to group sales and paper tickets were the only option. I asked then about getting etickets and it was not possible --- I was told. Thanks for the information and insights.
 

daybeers

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Requiring paper tickets for group sales sounds like bureaucratic nonsense. No reason etickets that the rest of Amtrak uses arent an option.
100% agree. I think it's just group sales and open sleeper tickets left that use paper.
 

zephyr17

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unhappy, for the future, if you have 16 and two adults are part of it, you can book up to 8 tickets on one reservation using normal individual sales, although you won't get any fare breaks you might get through Group Sales. So you could just book two reservations as long as there was an adult on each. Those would be etickets.
 
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zephyr17

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Requiring paper tickets for group sales sounds like bureaucratic nonsense. No reason etickets that the rest of Amtrak uses arent an option.
And keeping paper value tickets for two small ticket types is expensive because you have to keep paper ticket infrastructure without any economies of scale. It is almost certainly some limitation of their antiquated IT systems that they haven't yet addressed. The migration to etickets has been a gradual process. At first, they couldn't issue etickets for Thruway services or for the Maple Leaf to/from Canada with VIA because of interoperability between carriers, the USA Rail Pass required paper value tickets for each segment. They remedied the interoperability issues, and when the USA Rail Pass was reintroduced recently, it was etickets. Interoperability was probably the biggest single issue. I don't understand why two small, Amtrak-only islands remain. Although their IT shop has a lot of bigger and more visible problems that are probably higher on the priority list than Open Sleeper (which few people even know about, including many Amtrak call center agents) and Group Sales.
 
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unhappy, for the future, if you have 16 and two adults are part of it, you can book up to 8 tickets on one reservation using normal individual sales, although you won't get any fare breaks you might get through Group Sales. So you could just book two reservations as long as there was an adult on each. Those would be etickets.
You know all the tricks dont ya lol? Good to have people with so much knowledge around here.
 

zephyr17

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You know all the tricks dont ya lol? Good to have people with so much knowledge around here.
I fool around with site a lot sometimes, usually in an attempt to try to get some insight on pricing and timing a purchase when planning for trips.

I happened upon the 8 person limit recently when trying to figure how much inventory was actually available when everything showed as high bucket for my upcoming November trip. I figured if there was a lot of available inventory (which seemed likely in early November) they'd probably reallocate inventory into lower buckets at some point, if inventory was tight, they wouldn't. So I kept pushing the number of travelers up until it wouldn't accept it any more. That was 8. I then tried it on a few different trains and in different classes (coach, sleeper, business) to verify if it was a general limit, as that seemed a good piece if information to know, and it was consistently 8 across everything.
 
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zephyr17

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At least open section sleeper tickets are ARROW generated. Group tickets are still HAND WRITTEN paper tickets. Carbon paper and all!
Point of distinction. "Open section sleepers" are berths, which Amtrak has never had. Open sections are still operated VIA Rail Canada.

"Open sleeper" tickets are sleeper tickets where the passenger isn't linked to a specific accommodation.

That is really shocking the group tickets are hand written.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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"Open sleeper" tickets are sleeper tickets where the passenger isn't linked to a specific accommodation.
Actually, it is "linked to a specific accommodation". It's linked to someone's reservation for a specific accommodation.
 

zephyr17

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Actually, it is "linked to a specific accommodation". It's linked to someone's reservation for a specific accommodation.
That is just a note. Open sleeper is a separate reservation that has a manual note cross referencing it to the occupant's reservation. The Open Sleeper reservation itself is not linked to an accommodation within the system, that is why the call it "open". The passenger will show up on the sleeper manifest, but without a room number associated with them.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I haven't seen a handwritten ticket in the US since the 1980s.
Why am I thinking about red carbon paper now? Common with the airlines and I believe Amtrak did so as well.
It was was only a few years ago (early 2010's?) that conductors still sold hand-punched tickets. That document had red transfer areas. On airlines there was an intermediary document between a ticket and a boarding pass called a "flight coupon" that sometimes came in a printed booklet. As I remember it the first page was a cover sheet, the second page was an impact printed itinerary with segments of the trip split into rows, and individual coupons had one imprinted row each (plus shared details like Ticket No. and PNR).
 
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RebelRider

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Point of distinction. "Open section sleepers" are berths, which Amtrak has never had. Open sections are still operated VIA Rail Canada.

"Open sleeper" tickets are sleeper tickets where the passenger isn't linked to a specific accommodation.

That is really shocking the group tickets are hand written.

Hmmm. Good point. Not sure how the section part tumble out of my brain, but there it is.

Why am I thinking about red carbon paper now? Common with the airlines and I believe Amtrak did so as well.

Yep, it's red carbon on the Amtrak group tickets. The entire trip will be hand written on one form. I'm quite amused when I come across one which, admittedly, isn't very often.
 
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