Is Amtrak ignoring their rules?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

HighBall

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
61
I'm finally diving in with a post......

On a recent Empire Builder trip two events raised questions:

I had a lower roomette and overheard events going on. It is my understanding the Family Bedroom is for two adults and two children. A couple boarded who had reserved the Family Bedroom. Another adult couple traveling with them paid coach tickets and intended to occupy the space with the other couple. I heard the conductor talking outside with them stating it used to be allowed, but is not now. After more talk, he relented. I learned later from the car attendant they showed something they printed off the Web. Then there was another problem. The couple reserving the room stated the other couple are entitled to meals. The diner supervisor came down for a con fab with them and also gave in. So both couples spent the night in the FBR. Any ideas on how they got around the rules? (Lucky us down there, They left the door open and engaged in laughter and risqué jokes for hours while downing beer. I finally complained to the attendant who had them shut there door after he got sass from them).

Although I know Amtrak is going to crack down on carry-on luggage in October, apparently they are turning a blind eye in the meantime. A woman boarded at Minot with 3 suitcases, 3 fair sized boxes, a few sacks and assorted loose items making the attendant wonder where he was going to store it all. If a pax doesn't have money to pay the penalty under the new rules will they be denied boarding?

As a side note under the new rules it seems to penalize those traveling to unmanned or closed stations. Instead of being able to check baggage, it is considered part of their limitations to bring on board and are subject to extra payment. Logically, it would seem those traveling to a closed or unmanned stationed should have extra allowance for carry-on.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
9,213
Location
Ithaca, NY
It's legal to have 4 adults in the Family Bedroom as long as you aren't sleeping (keeping the room in "daytime mode" / chair configuration the entire time). Which it sounds like they did, even though it was night. They had the rules right, I'm afraid.

It seems a bit antisocial for them to deliberately stay up all night drinking. But the door closes on their room, so...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

HighBall

Train Attendant
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
61
Part of the reason I was confused is the conductor was questioning this and the issue why the diner super had to come down to wade through meal entitlements.
 

IHC

Service Attendant
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
134
If the other couple only had coach tickets, they should not have been in the room and they should not have been given any free meals in the dining car. They should have bought their own room.
 

Ryan

Court Jester
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
17,655
Location
Off looking for his sense of humor
Part of the reason I was confused is the conductor was questioning this and the issue why the diner super had to come down to wade through meal entitlements.
The "day use" rule mentioned is a bit obscure, so it isn't surprising to me that they needed to put their heads together and figure things out.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Engineer
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,271
Location
Near an Amtrak station
If the other couple only had coach tickets, they should not have been in the room and they should not have been given any free meals in the dining car. They should have bought their own room.
I have to agree, and go a bit further and say that the coach-only ticketed passengers should not have even been allowed into the sleeper car. The conductor and the LSA should have known that, and if not, shouldn't still have their jobs.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Engineer
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,271
Location
Near an Amtrak station
Another adult couple traveling with them paid coach tickets and intended to occupy the space with the other couple.
It's legal to have 4 adults in the Family Bedroom as long as you aren't sleeping (keeping the room in "daytime mode" / chair configuration the entire time). Which it sounds like they did, even though it was night. They had the rules right, I'm afraid.
One can have 4 SLEEPER TICKETED adults in a daytime Family Bedroom, but I strongly disagree with you that any of those 4, can simply be COACH TICKETED adults.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
30,431
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
In India they solve the problem about daytime vs. nighttime configuration by stating a start time and and end time of night configuration. And by definition the train is in night configuration between those times and the train staff pretty much enforces conversion of the train to night configuration between those times, i.e. making sure that all daytime passengers are off the train before the start of the night configuration. Of course allowance is made for exceptional delay conditions etc.

Yeah, accepting Coach ticketed passengers in Sleeper is incorrect in my opinion. They should have gotten an open sleeper ticket assigned to the accommodation like we all normal peope do. The behavior of the passengers and the staff was outside the norm by a mile.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
If the other couple only had coach tickets, they should not have been in the room and they should not have been given any free meals in the dining car. They should have bought their own room.
I have to agree, and go a bit further and say that the coach-only ticketed passengers should not have even been allowed into the sleeper car. The conductor and the LSA should have known that, and if not, shouldn't still have their jobs.
Wow, you sure are high and mighty. Passengers are sometimes ticketed this way. Say the other passengers were added after the initial reservation. They often don't reticket, they should note it on the PNR though. But often it is not noted. The accommodation charge is separate from the rest of the fare. All passengers in sleepers are paying the coach fare and there is one accommodation charge for the room, it does not matter the number of passengers as long as it is within the occupancy allowed for the room. If they get ticketed that way it does cause confusion because on the EMD it will only show those ticketed on the original reservation for sleepers, not the ones with coach tickets. After the train leaves the station there is sometimes odd ticketing that was done that have to be sorted out. Can't blame the passenger for something a ticket agent did.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
Complain LOUDLY to Customer Relations. The Conductor lost control of the situation. The SCA and diner staff have to follow the lead of the Conductor, who is in overall charge, so they were stuck in a difficult position. Even if those passengers had paid full fare, it is inappropriate and unacceptable for them to be making undue noise at night, inconveniencing other passengers, i.e., you. The noise itself was bad enough. The fact that the jokes were off-color compounds the problem. If those (presumably adult) passengers were taller than about four feet, they wouldn't fit into the "child" beds. There is nothing wrong with a couple buying the Family space; but not two adult couples.

Bottom line: Passengers who pay coach prices belong in the coach, and all passengers should be expected to behave in a civil manner. It ain't complicated.

Tom
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,162
Thank you, Tom--that is exactly right, that all passengers should be expected to behave in a civil manner.

From your experience, how close could they have been to getting thrown off the train (after being rude to the attendant, drinking, and using foul language)? Could they have been given one warning, then tossed? Or do they cut them a bit more slack if they're going a long way or are in the sleepers?
 

R30A

Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
215
The problem may well have been that they told the reservation agent exactly what they wanted, and they still ended up being booked in this way. I have added people to my sleeper reservation many times, and many times they ended up being ticketed in coach despite specifically asking to have them be added to my sleeper. Such has happened even when I learned the proper procedure and specifically asked for them to be booked as an "Open Sleeper" ticket. In perhaps the strangest situation, a friend of mine travelling with me managed to end up with a single "Unreserved Coach" ticket from Springfield MA to Emeryville CA!

None of that excuses the behavior issues, but such would certainly explain the crew's behavior.
 

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
R30A:

Yes, it's possible that the problem originated with Res. If that's the case, the Conductor was put in a difficult position as well. Maybe the Conductor knew this and was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I can sympathize with that. Maybe Amtrak had a responsibility there.

However, the noise and distasteful nature of the comments elevated the problem to an entirely new level, and those factors were not Amtrak's fault. That's where a stern warning was required. Different conductors have different tolerance levels. Some will give several warnings before taking action. I happen to believe one warning should be sufficient. It's not hard to pick up a radio and notify the local constabulary to arrange for a welcoming committee at the next town. You, as the "neighboring" passenger, deserve no less.

Tom
 
Last edited by a moderator:

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
No, that last post wasn't edited because the system didn't accept my edits.

I was just going to add that Amtrak may be doing those small-town local law enforcement officers a favor. Maybe they are overdue for a little excitement to liven up an otherwise very boring shift.

Tom
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
9,213
Location
Ithaca, NY
However, the noise and distasteful nature of the comments elevated the problem to an entirely new level, and those factors were not Amtrak's fault. That's where a stern warning was required.
Indeed, all passengers should behave in an appropriate manner. If four people want to drink quietly behind the closed doors of their Family Bedroom, that's allowed by Amtrak. If even one passenger decided to be noisy for long periods and make distasteful comments, distressing the other passengers, then that's an issue no matter how they're booked.

There is a general rule in hotels about reserving the right to throw out customers who are disorderly or actively bothering other customers. I've even had to use it a couple of times when I had really noisy neighbors keeping me awake in a hotel. The same rule applies to every form of transportation I know of (including Amtrak), and pretty much every retail store, and so on and so on.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Engineer
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,271
Location
Near an Amtrak station
If the other couple only had coach tickets, they should not have been in the room and they should not have been given any free meals in the dining car. They should have bought their own room.
I have to agree, and go a bit further and say that the coach-only ticketed passengers should not have even been allowed into the sleeper car. The conductor and the LSA should have known that, and if not, shouldn't still have their jobs.
Wow, you sure are high and mighty. Passengers are sometimes ticketed this way. Say the other passengers were added after the initial reservation. They often don't reticket, they should note it on the PNR though. But often it is not noted. The accommodation charge is separate from the rest of the fare. All passengers in sleepers are paying the coach fare and there is one accommodation charge for the room, it does not matter the number of passengers as long as it is within the occupancy allowed for the room. If they get ticketed that way it does cause confusion because on the EMD it will only show those ticketed on the original reservation for sleepers, not the ones with coach tickets. After the train leaves the station there is sometimes odd ticketing that was done that have to be sorted out. Can't blame the passenger for something a ticket agent did.
I am high, mighty, and CORRECT. And you, my friend, are once again just plain WRONG.

Coach ticketed passengers belong only in coach.

While the 2nd passenger, and so on, for an accommodation pay only the base coach fare, they are still ticketed as a Sleeper passenger.
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
R30A:

Yes, it's possible that the problem originated with Res. If that's the case, the Conductor was put in a difficult position as well. Maybe the Conductor knew this and was just trying to make the best of a bad situation. I can sympathize with that. Maybe Amtrak had a responsibility there.

However, the noise and distasteful nature of the comments elevated the problem to an entirely new level, and those factors were not Amtrak's fault. That's where a stern warning was required. Different conductors have different tolerance levels. Some will give several warnings before taking action. I happen to believe one warning should be sufficient. It's not hard to pick up a radio and notify the local constabulary to arrange for a welcoming committee at the next town. You, as the "neighboring" passenger, deserve no less.

Tom
There was nothing in the report to indicate the conductor was ever involved in the bad behavior that Highball reported. He only reported that the attendent had them shut the door. The conductor might not have known about it.

About the ticketing I can assure you that tickets issued that way are not unusual. Since you didn't deal with tickets or reservations you would not know what goes on including errors made by reservations. It should not put the conductor in a bad or dificult situation. If the conductor is experienced the conductor can figure it out. The conductor should use commen sense and not be OCD.
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
If the other couple only had coach tickets, they should not have been in the room and they should not have been given any free meals in the dining car. They should have bought their own room.
I have to agree, and go a bit further and say that the coach-only ticketed passengers should not have even been allowed into the sleeper car. The conductor and the LSA should have known that, and if not, shouldn't still have their jobs.
Wow, you sure are high and mighty. Passengers are sometimes ticketed this way. Say the other passengers were added after the initial reservation. They often don't reticket, they should note it on the PNR though. But often it is not noted. The accommodation charge is separate from the rest of the fare. All passengers in sleepers are paying the coach fare and there is one accommodation charge for the room, it does not matter the number of passengers as long as it is within the occupancy allowed for the room. If they get ticketed that way it does cause confusion because on the EMD it will only show those ticketed on the original reservation for sleepers, not the ones with coach tickets. After the train leaves the station there is sometimes odd ticketing that was done that have to be sorted out. Can't blame the passenger for something a ticket agent did.
I am high, mighty, and CORRECT. And you, my friend, are once again just plain WRONG.

Coach ticketed passengers belong only in coach.

While the 2nd passenger, and so on, for an accommodation pay only the base coach fare, they are still ticketed as a Sleeper passenger.
Are you or have you ever been an Amtrak conductor? I tried to explain how it could happen that they are not ticketed as a sleeper passengers when they should have been.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

FormerOBS

Conductor
Joined
Feb 26, 2014
Messages
1,272
Location
Maryland, but a native of Ohio
Hal ---

I'm willing to accept the idea that some kind of poor communication resulted in the accommodation issue, and the Conductor may have been trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of a passenger who was actually in the wrong, but didn't know it. In such a case, discretion often dictates that you back off and let the "offended" passenger have his way, even thought he is in the wrong. Strict adherence to the rules in this case may not have been the best solution.

Yes, it's possible that after resolving the issue related to an erroneous booking, the Conductor left the situation & went to another part of the train & wasn't aware of the later disruptive behavior. In that case, the SCA should have been the first one to address the noise problem. If that failed to resolve it, the Conductor needed to be brought back in. I wasn't there, so I don't know who dropped the ball. But there is no question that it was dropped.

Tom
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
Hal ---

I'm willing to accept the idea that some kind of poor communication resulted in the accommodation issue, and the Conductor may have been trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of a passenger who was actually in the wrong, but didn't know it. In such a case, discretion often dictates that you back off and let the "offended" passenger have his way, even thought he is in the wrong. Strict adherence to the rules in this case may not have been the best solution.

Tom
That particular issue happens often enough, and it has been going on for years, that I long ago concluded that it was usually not the passenger who was in the wrong.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Meat Puppet

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
342
Although I know Amtrak is going to crack down on carry-on luggage in October, apparently they are turning a blind eye in the meantime. A woman boarded at Minot with 3 suitcases, 3 fair sized boxes, a few sacks and assorted loose items making the attendant wonder where he was going to store it all. If a pax doesn't have money to pay the penalty under the new rules will they be denied boarding?

As a side note under the new rules it seems to penalize those traveling to unmanned or closed stations. Instead of being able to check baggage, it is considered part of their limitations to bring on board and are subject to extra payment. Logically, it would seem those traveling to a closed or unmanned stationed should have extra allowance for carry-on.
 
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,306
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
This whole incident is a gross insult to the rail passengers that follow the rules. People onboard the train that break the rules should be reminded as such and allowed to do the right thing. If they insist on doing otherwise they make it bad for everyone. The police should have been called to be at the next station and the hooligans should have been immediately ejected from the train. The family bedroom is intended for an adult couple with two small children. From their behavior it also sounds like the way the foursome in the family bedroom behaved was inconsiderate and quite bold in their expectation. As for the baggage rule; its easy to follow when checking your bags at a station that has that service but quite hard to be in compliance if you board at an unmanned station.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Aug 10, 2009
Messages
3,704
Location
Baltimore/DC Area
Anyone can reserve the Family Bedroom. If it's open, I usually snag it, if there are just two of us.

While I agree in principle with "good behavior", not everyone who "doesn't follow the rules" should be thrown off the train.

Rule breakers should be willing, with no objection, to suffer the consequences, after all it is THEY who are risking being found out for not following stated rules.

I often break or bend rules, like not putting a quarter in the parking meter, if the meter maid "gets me", my bad, I happily pay the $40 fine. I'm not gonna get all uppity and get in the meter maid's face and stuff. I broke the rule (Stay off the Grass, Speed Limit 55, etc., etc.) and I got caught, I take the punishment.

Sounds like the conductor handled this pretty well, given the few "facts" we have.
 
Top