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no seat in business class and forced to sit in coach... am I due a ref

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Belinda1980

Guest
I am trying to figure out what my rights are when Amtrak downgrades me from business to coach.

I was on the Palmetto train from DC to Rocky Mount(NC). I had a business class ticket.

The train was very crowded. I boarded the train a few minutes before departure time.

The conductor told me and two other passengers that there weren't any seats left in

business class car and she put me in a coach seat 2 cars back. She told me she'll

move me up as soon as someone gets off the train further south. By the time we

reached, only two business class passengers got off. The other two "downgraded"

business passengers were an elderly couple, so I told the conductor to put seat them

first.

From Richmond to Rocky Mount, business class stayed full. The conductor told me

that most of them are going all the way. :( She did bring me a soda and apologized.

The coach seat that I sat in was intended for short haul passengers. (i.e. least

amount of seat pitch?)

She did tell me to call customer service as soon as I get home. They' would be happy

to issue a refund for the business class seat charge that I paid. I called the next

day and was told that no refund was due. Were they correct?
 

Devil's Advocate

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I was under the impression that Amtrak no long offers refunds once you're aboard the train. Maybe the conductor simply misspoke?
 

chakk

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I would think that even Amtrak would refund the difference in price between business class and coach if the passenger could not be accomodated in business class.
 
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I would not take no for an answer. I would call back and ask for Customer Relations rather than just customer service. Anytime I have called and spoke with a regular CS agent, they could not help me, but as soon as I got into Customer Relations, all was handled quickly.
 

the_traveler

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Yes, call back and say "agent" when "Julie" answers (or simply hit "0"). When the agent comes on, ask for "Customer RELATIONS"! They can help you.

If you are involuntarily downgraded (as you were), you are entitled to the fare difference paid. This goes for BC to coach, sleeper to coach, FC to BC on Acela or even from a bedroom to a Roomette!
 
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fairviewroad

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Of course the OP is due a refund for the BC upgrade charge. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. I agree with the

suggestion to contact Customer Relations.
 

afigg

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So Amtrak oversells business class seats on the Palmetto? In this case, they should offer a refund, although how can the CS rep confirm that it happened w/o checking with the conductor?

For the Palmetto, I'm not sure that a downgrade to coach means much if the OP was placed in an Amfleet II coach car seat. As long as the eticket said business class, could still get the free sodas in the café car as well. But if Amtrak oversold the business class seats, the bumped passenger should be entitled to a refund, period.
 

Bob Dylan

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I thought that in the case of Business Class Seats that they only Sold the number of tickets to match the Number of Seats available on that particular Route since Business Class is a Guaranteed Seat!? Somebody dropped the ball whether it was on-line or with an agent! Definitely a Refund is due and perhaps even a Good will Voucher for Future Travel! Please call and let us know the outcome!
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Here's what Amtrak's website says about obtaining refunds.

Where to Obtain Refunds. Refunds of eTickets may be processed at ticket offices, by calling 800-USA-RAIL or through the Amtrak Refunds department. If paper value tickets were printed, they must be returned for any refund. Stations do not keep large amounts of cash on hand and refunds of eTickets or paper value tickets paid by cash may have to be sent to Amtrak Refunds, which will send a refund check. Paper value tickets purchased from a travel agency must be returned to that agency, except when there is a service disruption.
Nowhere in the whole refunds page does it say anything about asking for customer relations. For the vast majority of Amtrak's customers the ability to obtain a refund would be over after they called and were told no. So is it really all that ridiculous to suggest a post-ride refunds are no longer part of Amtrak's SOP at this point?

I thought that in the case of Business Class Seats that they only Sold the number of tickets to match the Number of Seats available on that particular Route since Business Class is a Guaranteed Seat!?
Does it actually say it's guaranteed in writing? Just curious to know.
 

the_traveler

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But the OP paid extra (not just a higher bucket) for BC! Amtrak did not deliver what was bought and paid for. If you bought First Class airline ticket to Asia, but they made you sit in the back row in coach, would you say "Oh well"? If you bought a washing machine at Home Depot for $1,200, but when it was delivered it was just an old fashioned washboard and you called and you were told "It does the same thing, so no refund", you would accept that, right?

The part you quoted is about obtaining a refund for a cancelled trip. But this trip was not cancelled, and the OP didn't receive what was paid for.
 
N

Nathanael

Guest
Yes, you are entitled to a refund of the difference between the coach price and the business class price. Keep calling and writing until you get someone who will give you your refund.

Also, write down the names of anyone you talk to and the time you talked to them. This way, when people give you bad information, you can report them to their superiors and get them reprimanded or fired. >:)
 

xyzzy

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I've had problems on the Carolinian with no seat available in business class even though I'm holding a business class ticket. It's one reason why I don't pay extra for business class anymore. Note that on the Palmetto, business class is usually in a 59-seat Amfleet II coach... the same kind of car that the non-business passengers are usually riding in.
 
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Guest

Guest
I bought BC for my little niece and myself on train 66. Could we be bumped to coach and if so, would we be able to sit together? I want her first trip to be wonderful.Thank you.
 

Ryan

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Could you get bumped? It seems so.

Is it likely? No.

Will you be able to sit together? Depends on where you're boarding from.
 

the_traveler

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If you are the same guest that posted in the other thread, because you are boarding in Newport News, where the train originates, the chance of getting bumped and not sitting together is 0.00000000000000001%!
 

PaulM

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I thought that in the case of Business Class Seats that they only Sold the number of tickets to match the Number of Seats available on that particular Route since Business Class is a Guaranteed Seat!?
Does it actually say it's guaranteed in writing? Just curious to know.
I'll rephrase post #2.

I'm waiting to see if Amtrak sells non-refundable stand-by BC tickets? non-refundable, that is, if they over sell.

Since this appears to be a dump and run guest post, I doubt I'll ever find out.
 

benjibear

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There may be other reasons that bussiness class was full. Missed connections, other people being bumped, "special" people know how to work the system. I am sure there is a way to oversell. It may have just been a bad day for Amtrak. Maybe they always oversell by 3 hoping there is a cancelation or no show but on this particular day everyone showed up. It doesn't sound like the norm.
 
G

Guest

Guest
She did bring me a soda and apologized.
For the Palmetto, I'm not sure that a downgrade to coach means much if the OP was placed in an Amfleet II coach car seat. As long as the eticket said business class, could still get the free sodas in the café car as well.
That was my thought too. As long as one got the BC amenities (a soda), what's the harm?
 

the_traveler

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Well, for one thing, the BC seats most times are larger and have more pitch. Again using the airline example, if you paid for a First Class seat on an international overnight flight, but had to sit (and sleep) in a coach seat but they brought you the First Class meal, you would accept that? :huh:
 

Devil's Advocate

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If you bought First Class airline ticket to Asia, but they made you sit in the back row in coach, would you say "Oh well"? If you bought a washing machine at Home Depot for $1,200, but when it was delivered it was just an old fashioned washboard and you called and you were told "It does the same thing, so no refund", you would accept that, right? The part you quoted is about obtaining a refund for a cancelled trip. But this trip was not cancelled, and the OP didn't receive what was paid for.
First Class to Asia can easily reach $10,000 or more last time I checked. That's a whole other ballgame compared to Amtrak "business class" soda service, at least to any reasonably minded person. I'm not disputing what's morally right so much as what's practical. If a refund were important to me and Amtrak had already refused to provide one (as appears to be the case here) then I'd probably stop trying to convince Amtrak to take responsibility for the downgrade and simply call my credit card company instead. That way the credit company can fight it out with Amtrak while I go about my business.

For the Palmetto, I'm not sure that a downgrade to coach means much if the OP was placed in an Amfleet II coach car seat. As long as the eticket said business class, could still get the free sodas in the café car as well.
That was my thought too. As long as one got the BC amenities (a soda), what's the harm?
In many cases "business class" on Amtrak doesn't seem to mean much if anything, and even when it does mean something it's not guaranteed in writing from one train to the next. Based on what I've read it's a bit of a gamble at best and little more than a free soda at worst. I'll be riding in business class on the Missouri River Runner later this week. I have no idea what that gets me but I'm not going into it with any preconceived notions of superior service. If there's a huge seat with fancy meal service and constant attention so much the better, but I'm not expecting anything beyond a can of soda and maybe a newspaper.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Well, for one thing, the BC seats most times are larger and have more pitch. Again using the airline example, if you paid for a First Class seat on an international overnight flight, but had to sit (and sleep) in a coach seat but they brought you the First Class meal, you would accept that? :huh:
Sticking with your airline example, Amtrak's BC on this train better be the 1+2 "lazboy" seating. One should demand nothing less from Amtrak.
 

xyzzy

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On trains 79/80 and 89/90, we see 1+2 seating in business class just once or twice a year -- at most. Amtrak does it only when there is no other car available to run.

89/90 usually get 100% Amfleet II coaches (59 seats) regardless of classes of service. Sometimes they'll get one or two Amfleet I cars, but conductors use them for shorts. Point is, unless you're riding a short distance, the only differentiation for business class on 89/90 is the beverage and newspaper.

79/90 usually get 100% Amfleet I coaches, which have a slight difference in legroom between business class and regular coach. Most people less than six feet tall won't notice the difference.

If you have a choice between coach in 89/90 and business class in 79/80, coach in 89/90 is usually better.
 
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B

Beacha

Guest
Could you get bumped? It seems so.Is it likely? No.Will you be able to sit together? Depends on where you're boarding from.
Yes, it was me who posted on the other thread. Thank you for the help everyone.
 

VentureForth

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This is one of those situations where it would have been good for the passenger to call customer service while on the train. BC is just like the rest of the train - "Reserved Seat" which implies that seats are available if they are reservable. Overbooking happens, but Amtrak should do better to prevent it. Is the Palmetto getting more popular? I would love to see a couple more coaches added... No one travelling from NYP to Savannah should be subjected to an Amfleet I with corridor pitch seating.
 
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