Question regarding VIA "Canadian" sleeper options

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Northwestern

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
163
Location
Santa Rosa
One these days, I would like to book a trip, on the Canadian, from Vancouver to Jasper.

Looking at the sleeper choices, I am a little confused with regard to link below, as to what "Sleeper Plus" is all about. I believe there is such a thing as "cabin for one", which I think is similar to an Amtrak roomette, but I don't see it listed. All I see, in the columns, is "sleeper plus" with choices of "upper berth" and "cabin for two". Very confusing. Is a "cabin for one" only available at certain times of the year?

 

thully

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
731
Location
Ann Arbor, MI
This chart is missing some of the classes - if you go to book, you will see economy (coach) seats, both lower and upper berths, cabins for 1 and 2, and Prestige cabins for 2. Sleeper Plus encompasses all non-Prestige sleeper classes - berths and cabins for 1/2.

The berths are beds with a privacy curtain which fold into seats during the day. They don’t have outlets, toilets/sinks, or privacy in the daytime configuration (though bathrooms and showers are down the hal)l, but are less costly than cabins. The cabin for 1 is like an Amtrak roomette, but with only one fold-down Murphy bed and an in room toilet (that is covered by the bed at night) and sink. Cabin for 2 is more like a bedroom, but without the in-room shower (the toilet is in a separate room though) - it can be booked by 1 but at 50% higher cost than a cabin for 1. Prestige is a premium-class cabin for 2 in a newly-refurbished car.

I’m currently riding the Canadian, and am riding as a single passenger in a cabin for 2. The reason I chose that is that when I booked there were discounted cabins for 2 available, but not discounted cabins for 1. As a result, the former was slightly less expensive. I’d have been fine with a cabin for 1, though I avoided berths because 1) they have no outlets, and outlets are scarce in the lounge cars (except the Park car, which in peak season is limited to Prestige before 4pm - though that won’t apply to you) and 2) masks must be worn in open spaces under current Transport Canada regulations, which includes berths in the daytime seating configuration but not cabins. Those may not apply in the winter (or if you don’t care about outlets/have a massive battery pack), in which case it may be a good deal (I’d get a lower berth though since it would be easier to get in and has a window.

Hope this helps…
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,288
Location
Washington State
There are three classes:

Economy = coach
Sleeper Plus (which derives from Sleeper Plus Meals) and includes 3 accommodation types
- Open Section Berths
- "Cabins for One" = traditional roomettes. Room has sink and "combolet" a toilet disguised as a footstool. Underneath bed at night.
- "Cabins for Two = traditional Double Bedrooms and Compartments (room F). Room has sink and enclosed toilet annex.
Common shower.

Prestige - large room with double bed, toilet, shower.

All accommodation types are available year round. Berths were not sold during the height of the pandemic but became available again in April.

Pricing is much simpler than Amtrak. Three fare seasons, peak, shoulder and off-peak. Two inventory classes, discount and non-discount. Discount has refund limits and inventory is limited, but there is no "bucket" guesswork. Off-peak fares about 1/3rd lower the peak fares.

VIA does not structure their fares using the traditional rail fare plus accommodation charge method that Amtrak still does. All fares are per person. The per person fares quoted for the Cabin for 2 person in the chart you linked to is the same as per person in a Cabin for 1. Single occupancy in a Cabin for 2 is 150% of that.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
781
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Appreciate that VIA's fare structure is simpler than Amtrak's. I am now seriously considering a trip next year on The Canadian, most likely during one the off-peak periods. How far in advance does it make sense to buy sleeper fares, and does VIA ever have "flash sales?" Does it, like Amtrak, re-price you for said sales if you have already purchased tickets? In other words, what are the best VIA pricing strategies? Appreciate any and all inisights.
 
Last edited:

joelkfla

Engineer
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,203
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Appreciate that VIA's fare structure is simpler than Amtrak's. I am now seriously considering a trip next year on The Canadian, most likely during one the off-peak periods. How far in advance does it make sense to buy sleeper fares, and does VIA ever have "flash sales?" Does it, like Amtrak, re-price you for said sales if you have already purchased tickets? In other words, what are the best VIA pricing strategies? Appreciate any and all inisights.
They do run sales, but perhaps not so much in peak periods. You should sign up for the VIA Préférence rewards program, and for emails. For example, a sale in June offered 40% off Sleeper Plus during November-January.

My trip was in February of 2018, and I booked at a very substantial discount during a Thanksgiving sale in 2017. And on top of that, I was selected apparently at random a few weeks before the trip to receive an upgrade from Cabin for 1 to a Cabin for 2.

Unless things have changed, a single cross-country trip on the Canadian will elevate your status in VIA Préférence, bringing you coupons for discounts on Via travel the following year.
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
781
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
They do run sales, but perhaps not so much in peak periods. You should sign up for the VIA Préférence rewards program, and for emails. For example, a sale in June offered 40% off Sleeper Plus during November-January.

My trip was in February of 2018, and I booked at a very substantial discount during a Thanksgiving sale in 2017. And on top of that, I was selected apparently at random a few weeks before the trip to receive an upgrade from Cabin for 1 to a Cabin for 2.

Unless things have changed, a single cross-country trip on the Canadian will elevate your status in VIA Préférence, bringing you coupons for discounts on Via travel the following year.

Interestingly, I am a VIA Preference member. No joke: I joined 14 years ago and accumulated a grand total of 70 points and haven't been back to Canada since and those points have not expired, which is amazing.
 

Railspike

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Houston
There are three classes:

Economy = coach
Sleeper Plus (which derives from Sleeper Plus Meals) and includes 3 accommodation types
- Open Section Berths
- "Cabins for One" = traditional roomettes. Room has sink and "combolet" a toilet disguised as a footstool. Underneath bed at night.
- "Cabins for Two = traditional Double Bedrooms and Compartments (room F). Room has sink and enclosed toilet annex.
Common shower.

Prestige - large room with double bed, toilet, shower.

All accommodation types are available year round. Berths were not sold during the height of the pandemic but became available again in April.

Pricing is much simpler than Amtrak. Three fare seasons, peak, shoulder and off-peak. Two inventory classes, discount and non-discount. Discount has refund limits and inventory is limited, but there is no "bucket" guesswork. Off-peak fares about 1/3rd lower the peak fares.

VIA does not structure their fares using the traditional rail fare plus accommodation charge method that Amtrak still does. All fares are per person. The per person fares quoted for the Cabin for 2 person in the chart you linked to is the same as per person in a Cabin for 1. Single occupancy in a Cabin for 2 is 150% of that.
Do you happen to know the dates and range of Peak, Shoulder, and Off-Peak fares?
 
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
781
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Do you happen to know the dates and range of Peak, Shoulder, and Off-Peak fares?

I called VIA last week and got this information because I am pining to do a trip next year:

Oct. 15-April 14 -- Off-Peak
April 15-May 31 -- Shoulder Season
June 1-Oct. 14 -- Peak

Unfettered access to Park car for Sleeper Plus passengers is only during off-peak. During peak and shoulder seasons Sleeper Plus passengers have access only from 4 to 10:30 p.m.

At least this is what my notes tell me. Others may have to confirm.
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
6,288
Location
Washington State
Sounds right to me. Looks like they dropped the Fall Shoulder season. Used to be September 15th-October 31st. Surprised me a couple months ago when I booked my Fall trip and I was able to get the same fare on October 29th as I was on November 1st and it made my trip work better. In 2019 and prior years November 1st was the earliest I could get off peak fares. Shoulder season fares are almost expensive as peak, only about 10% less. Full off peak is much cheaper.
 
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