My First Trip on the Auto Train

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Dakota 400

Engineer
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,161
I'm going to book Auto Train for a January journey from Sanford to Lorton. I'll book a sleeper and I want to reserve a lower level roomette. From what I have learned on AU, booking Auto Train by phone is a more successful and pleasant experience than doing so online.

I'd very much appreciate any other tips and suggestions to consider before I call Amtrak to initiate the booking.

Thank you for your advice.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,922
Location
Long Island, NY
When you call to book you talk to one of the regular phone agents. Years ago the Auto Train had its own agents. Not the case anymore.
Interesting...Do you know when it changed? I was just getting ready to say they have separate res agents...LOL
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
328
Would there be any advantage in booking with an AGR agent?
I'm on the AT about 8-times-a-year since I retired. Booking on-line is really easy and fast. However...since I want my regular bedroom & car ... have to call. And when the niece comes along, I want connecting bedrooms...so have to call. Also, with so many points, usually half the trip is points and half cash, so need to call. By joining the AGR program, you get a special number to call. And, no...there are no special "AT" agents.
 
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dlagrua

Engineer
AU Supporter
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Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,285
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
I do not see any advantage in booking over the phone vs online. The Autotrain can get quite expensive so I suggest that you use Amsnag to check fares before booking. Sometimes a day earlier or later can show a fare significantly less than what it is on the chosen day. Make sure that you arrive at the station at least 2 hours before boarding to allow time for the car to get loaded into the auto carrier car. The A/T is a nice trip but at a prolonged 70 mph speed on CSX freight track the ride can get a bit rocky. Make sure to bring some gaffers or masking tape and a couple of wedges to silence any rattling noises.
 

RichieRich

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 2, 2016
Messages
328
I do not see any advantage in booking over the phone vs online. ... Make sure to bring some gaffers or masking tape and a couple of wedges to silence any rattling noises.
You can't pick your room/car on-line! And all my reasons above. You want a bedroom in the #40 car as it is right next to the dining/lounge car (by call-in only). Coach...not familiar. I also take pizza box-tops to mask over the never-working ceiling vent (always on full-blast)! I always luv the question: "How much does it cost?" LOL For the same trip I've paid $1,600 and at Xmas I've paid $3,500. Yes, check AmSnag, sometimes a day different cost a lot less. During SnowBird migration = pay top price. You may pay half down and double back. If there are 4 dinner sittings = uh-oh. When the kids are still IN school = lowest price. P.S. - always monitor the Train Status a few days before leaving. I've had 3 Canceled trains...THIS is where it pays to have the AGR card...get in there fast to reschedule (They DON'T reschedule for you). Anyone else out there have the 9:00pm chicken dinner at SFA? LOL
 

fixj

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Messages
192
Location
Panama City, FL
40 car and 41 car are next to diner and lounge at each end. They are both deluxe cars with full bedrooms only on top floor. CAR NUMBERS 42, 44 , 46 On one side of the diner lounge cars, 43, 45 on the other side ( other consists sometimes exist)
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,161
Does it make any difference as to where the Sleeper Car that I my Roomette is located in relation to the Dining Car? I'd prefer a location that is close to the Sightseer Lounge Car.
 
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Sauve850

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 9, 2014
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624
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
You can't pick your room/car on-line! And all my reasons above. You want a bedroom in the #40 car as it is right next to the dining/lounge car (by call-in only). Coach...not familiar. I also take pizza box-tops to mask over the never-working ceiling vent (always on full-blast)! I always luv the question: "How much does it cost?" LOL For the same trip I've paid $1,600 and at Xmas I've paid $3,500. Yes, check AmSnag, sometimes a day different cost a lot less. During SnowBird migration = pay top price. You may pay half down and double back. If there are 4 dinner sittings = uh-oh. When the kids are still IN school = lowest price. P.S. - always monitor the Train Status a few days before leaving. I've had 3 Canceled trains...THIS is where it pays to have the AGR card...get in there fast to reschedule (They DON'T reschedule for you). Anyone else out there have the 9:00pm chicken dinner at SFA? LOL

Your pizza box tops have been great for all my trips. Thanks!
 

Ronbo

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
285
Location
Bainbridge Island WA
Has anyone tried to use a Companion Coupon on the AT? I offered one to a person, she tried using it and was unable to. She actually called Amtrak and was told she couldn’t use it for the Auto Train. Is this correct?
 

pennyk

50 year Amtrak Rider
Staff member
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Jul 5, 2009
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Has anyone tried to use a Companion Coupon on the AT? I offered one to a person, she tried using it and was unable to. She actually called Amtrak and was told she couldn’t use it for the Auto Train. Is this correct?
From AGR Website:
  • Coupon valid for one (1) free companion rail fare with the purchase of one (1) regular (full) adult rail fare. Free companion and paying passenger must reserve at the same time and travel together at all times.
  • Each coupon is valid for travel as one (1) one-way reservation.
  • Travel blackouts apply: May 24, 2019; Aug. 30, 2019; Sep. 2, 2019; Nov. 26-27, 2019; Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2019; Dec. 20-22, 2019; Dec. 28-29, 2019; Jan. 3-5, 2020.
  • Valid for travel on all Amtrak service except train/Thruway series 7000-8999.
  • Free companion offer is not combinable with any discount, coupon, or Amtrak Guest Rewards® redemption travel.
  • The Coupon# is unique to your coupon and valid for one use only. Buying or selling this coupon is prohibited and will invalidate the coupon. Coupon may be transferred to a family member or friend.
  • Offer valid for Coach class or Acela Business class. Upgrade to Business class or Acela First class is available upon full payment of applicable accommodation charges.
  • Offer also valid for Roomette travel upon full payment of applicable accommodation charges. Not valid for other sleeping car accomodations.
  • Other restrictions may apply.
 
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