Insider.com and businessinsider.com stories about Amtrak trips

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,641
Since I was in coach and the train was full, I was assigned a seat at the very front of the train.

I had more legroom than some other people in coach, but no desk. I had to work during the whole trip, so it was uncomfortable having my computer in my lap for hours.

I also wasn't thrilled about my seatmate, who spread out way too much, watched loud videos, and snored.

Still, although I didn't try in my case, an Amtrak representative told Insider that it is possible to seek out a seat reassignment while you're on board.
So she was on a full train. Amtrak tells you how full a train is on their site when you attempt to book.

She had more legroom - a desirable thing for many - but didn't try to change with someone.

Did she complain to conductor about the noisy person taking too much room?

And she made no attempt to change her seat yet is an experienced rider.

I usually don't like the flexible-dining menu, but it didn't matter since I was a coach passenger. In coach, my options for hot meals were slim and limited to things on the café menu, like hot dogs or a cup of noodles.
Again, she probably knew that or could have looked it up so why didn't she buy something before boarding.

I felt bad for a woman who begged the attendant to give her a more substantial hot meal because she'd been traveling in coach for three days and hadn't had food besides ramen that whole time.
So she knew staff would try and help someone who asked for help but never tried that in spite of seeing it be successful.

I kept anticipating delays, which made me a bit anxious
She arrived on time but suffered because she THOUGHT it was going to be delayed. What kind of stupid comment is that?

In my experience, the bathrooms in coach are pretty gross. I found it genuinely upsetting to have to use the bathrooms, but I dealt with it since my trip was only 18 hours.
So do we all. She obviously has done trips in coach before so this is not something new to her trip this time.

A representative for Amtrak told Insider its "train attendants strive to keep our lavs in clean, working order. But, like all public lavs, we [are] always at the mercy of the previous user."
Amtrak blaming the users because staff cleans far less often than McDonalds? Now that's news! NOT! They lie like rugs.

Overall, everything except being anxious when she wasn't late is all so true and less harsh than my daily comments. Her article would have been a lot better if it didn't appear to be a one-off of a single traveler but instead contained real information about Amtrak's continuing policy of not providing decent food onboard, not cleaning restrooms often enough but providing big sets with lots of room and often suffering delays caused by freight lines 50 year history of violating agreements giving Amtrak priority.

It would been far better to provide a public article indicting Amtrak for the same failures we complain about over and over to each other.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Messages
584
Location
Portsmouth, VA
I've ridden in coach long-distance at the front of the car and I didn't have a tray either. This was back in 2017 when I took the Silver Meteor from Richmond to Orlando. I made do with what I had without complaint.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
I've ridden in coach long-distance at the front of the car and I didn't have a tray either. This was back in 2017 when I took the Silver Meteor from Richmond to Orlando. I made do with what I had without complaint.
Although it still is a valid complaint, as Amtrak advertises that you can work while travelling. If you don't have a tray table, it makes it more difficult.
 

JoshP

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
133
Location
Buffalo, NY
Although it still is a valid complaint, as Amtrak advertises that you can work while travelling. If you don't have a tray table, it makes it more difficult.
In back ole days, I always buy coach ticket and when I'm ready to board the train, I always tell conductor, "I'm sticking into cafe car till end of my trip" and that what I did, sat right across where crews usually sit. They had no problem with it and I sat, work on my laptop, read book, eat/drink. That is what I do. But when pandemic came, I started booked in sleepers from on. Maybe she needs to try and see for herself.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
In back ole days, I always buy coach ticket and when I'm ready to board the train, I always tell conductor, "I'm sticking into cafe car till end of my trip" and that what I did, sat right across where crews usually sit. They had no problem with it and I sat, work on my laptop, read book, eat/drink. That is what I do. But when pandemic came, I started booked in sleepers from on. Maybe she needs to try and see for herself.
I believe she has taken sleepers for a different article of hers. And just because purchasing a sleeper is an option, it doesn’t mean she has to be satisfied with not having a tray table.
 

JoshP

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
133
Location
Buffalo, NY
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,109
When did the Insider become "All Amtrak trip reports all the time"? I realize that the cost of such stories is minimal, so it is cheaper than buying real reporitng, but is there really a rapt reading public out there for these stories?
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,143
When did the Insider become "All Amtrak trip reports all the time"? I realize that the cost of such stories is minimal, so it is cheaper than buying real reporitng, but is there really a rapt reading public out there for these stories?
I’ve been curious about this, too, so I looked up the author requirements for Business Insider.

They say they do not accept promotional or sponsored content, so my first theory, that Amtrak might have bought a “package” of articles for peanuts as cheap advertising, goes out the window.

They actually use articles pitched by writers, and they have two types of writers: contributors (who are not paid) and freelancers (who are paid). Not quite sure what a contributor is and why they’re not paid—maybe they work for the site already and get a salary?

Like flitcraft, I was more interested in why there are all these Amtrak articles. Since they aren’t being sponsored by Amtrak, my second guess is that some young person just happened to be on an Amtrak trip and decided to write the equivalent of a “What I did on my summer vacation” article and see if they could get it published.

Then, when it showed up on Business Insider, every other young person who saw it said to themselves, “Hey, I can do this!” and a flood of Amtrak articles started coming to Business Insider.

Just a theory—but having spent most of my working life in the editing world (although not for a magazine or newspaper), I enjoy trying to figure out how and why something gets published.
 

Manny T

OBS Chief
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
545
Location
Chicago IL
She writes something that cannot be factually true: "Since I was in coach and the train was full, I was assigned a seat at the very front of the train."

I have ridden the Cap Lt'd countless times, including a week ago Sunday (Nov. 7-8), and the consist always has the sleepers first behind the engine and baggage, then the dining car, then the sightseer lounge (when there is one), and then the coach cars. So if she was sitting in coach, she could not have been at the "very front of the train." Most likely she means, she sat in the very front row in her car (which was located in the middle or back of the train.) She's a sloppy reporter.
 
Joined
Sep 13, 2021
Messages
5
Location
Everything she wrote is seemingly accurate about coach travel on Amtrak. Your opinion on Amtrak operations does not invalidate other's, nor does it make her a "garbage editor/journalist". Sometimes it hurts to see something you love being hated on by others. But that's the only way Amtrak can improve. All press, even press with negative connotations, is good press.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
819
Non rail fans consistently use train to describe a coach car or sleeper car. They do not understand that a train consist of an engine and cars.
Even people I know understand that trains consist of cars, me not withstanding and we're in a same age group as the writers of this crap. This is just a them problem. Which can either be put on character limits (no idea why there would be any), bad writing or general willful ignorance on the writer. For example, Jeb Brooks who occasionally does trip reports on trains understood this point and he's into aviation where this terminology wouldn't directly carry over.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,376
Location
Nottingham, England.
I agree that while the item is a bit snippy, I feel that the item is not unfair. Instead of her being told on AU that "she should have done more research, could have expected this and that, etc", we should maybe accept that the travelling public do not expect to put up with things that us train fans have grown sadly used to?
 

lordsigma

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
Messages
1,440
Long distance train travel isn't for everyone. But it's great for those who aren't in a hurry and want to have a relaxing experience. Overnight in coach also takes some additional patience - I personally won't do it - it's always a sleeper for me.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,845
Location
Baltimore. MD
That's been going on since Flex dining started. Once all the trains have traditional dining the complaints will stop. They already have on the Western trains. The author rode in Coach. Cafe menus are pretty much on par with flex. Once Coach passengers can eat in the dining car with traditional dining the bitching will end.
The current cafe menu is pretty sparse, too. Off the NEC, it was pretty bad even before Covid. They need to add bagels, fresh fruit salad, and some decent salads and sandwiches, even if they are pre made.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
660
The current cafe menu is pretty sparse, too. Off the NEC, it was pretty bad even before Covid. They need to add bagels, fresh fruit salad, and some decent salads and sandwiches, even if they are pre made.
I never understood why the flex dining menu can't include pre packaged sandwiches and subs. If you're riding for more than two days and flex is the only option,a cold sub would be most welcome. In Chicago and Philly I make sure to go to Jersey Mikes. Better than anything flex.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
819
In defense of the writer, she also wrote a separate article about what she did like. I took an 18-hour train ride from Chicago to DC. Here are the 7 best parts of the long trip.

So it’s ok for members of this forum to complain about various things during their trip, but god forbid a reporter does it?

Quite the double standard there.
As someone else mentioned, Insider likes using contributors which is what she seems to be. The main difference between us and the writer is that our expectations of Amtrak are a lot more tempered compared to hers. Not to mention her non critical piece is contradictory to her critical one in a few ways. Which is worth pointing out. Not to mention reporter means a lot less now. By this standard, I'm a historian because I can and do make YouTube videos despite not being a trained historian. And based on Nylah's online footprint, she described herself as a writer, not a reporter or journalists.

For me personally, I don't think journalists deserve their inflated sense of self importance. But then again, I'm from the age group that grew up watching journalists lie us into wars and bailout companies that did themselves in. So for me at least, I don't trust them.
 
Top