Seat assignments (Acela pilot Feb 2018)

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Triley

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Actually having worked in the Call Center in Philly I have quite a good idea. [emoji6] 
But I actually worked onboard with them and would physically see the corporate Amex platinum cards all day in the cafe.
 

pennyk

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I just upgraded to FC my Acela ticket for Saturday with an upgrade coupon.  I phoned and spoke to an agent.  I guess the system assigned me a seat, which was a double.  I requested a single seat facing forward and the agent changed for me.  I will be curious to see if the seat is really facing forward.  This will be my first experience with assigned seating.
 

cpotisch

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I have to agree.  Seeing how in less than 48 hours, almost all the available seats got taken, I'd have to say the 'upgraders' got the seats.  Those with 12 hour upgrade coupons probably got some of those seats, simply because there are fewer Select Plus/Executive riders than Select only.  Could be some of those 12-hour coupons for BofA card anniversaries got used as well.
Wait, there are 12 hour coupons and 48 hour coupons? We got an upgrade coupon with the AGR BOA card - is that 12 hour or 48 hour?
 

Acela150

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But I actually worked onboard with them and would physically see the corporate Amex platinum cards all day in the cafe.
Show off! :p  

I just upgraded to FC my Acela ticket for Saturday with an upgrade coupon.  I phoned and spoke to an agent.  I guess the system assigned me a seat, which was a double.  I requested a single seat facing forward and the agent changed for me.  I will be curious to see if the seat is really facing forward.  This will be my first experience with assigned seating.
I'm glad to know that I can ask the agent to change the seats. I'll be calling Wednesday to upgrade. :)  

Wait, there are 12 hour coupons and 48 hour coupons? We got an upgrade coupon with the AGR BOA card - is that 12 hour or 48 hour?
Yes. 12 hour coupons are for Select Members and the members that buy upgrades with points. 48 hour upgrades are for select plus and select executive members. 
 

cpotisch

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Show off! :p  

I'm glad to know that I can ask the agent to change the seats. I'll be calling Wednesday to upgrade. :)  

Yes. 12 hour coupons are for Select Members and the members that buy upgrades with points. 48 hour upgrades are for select plus and select executive members. 
Sorry so is mine 48 hour or 12 hour?
 

bratkinson

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Here's the exact text copied from my as yet unused 12 hr upgrade coupon from BofA credit card anniversary:


Coupon Restrictions:


  • Coupon valid for one (1) space-available, one-way, One-Class Upgrade. Valid only from Coach class to Business class, or from Acela® Business class to Acela First class, on a single travel segment or leg.
  • Not valid for upgrade to sleeping car accommodations.
  • Not eligible for use with 10-trip, monthly or other multiride tickets.
  • Subject to availability; upgrade not available on all trains at all times.
  • Upgrade may be combined with corporate discount, but is not combinable with any other discount, coupon or Amtrak Guest Rewards® redemption travel.
  • Travel blackout dates apply.
  • Offer is not valid on the following services: Adirondack®, Auto Train®, California Zephyr®, Capitol Limited®, City of New Orleans®, Crescent®, Empire Builder®, Keystone Service®, Silver Meteor®, Silver Star®, Southwest Chief®, Sunset Limited®, Texas Eagle®, and train/Thruway series 7000 – 8999.
  • This 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.
  • Other restrictions may apply.
 

cpotisch

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Here's the exact text copied from my as yet unused 12 hr upgrade coupon from BofA credit card anniversary:


Coupon Restrictions:


  • Coupon valid for one (1) space-available, one-way, One-Class Upgrade. Valid only from Coach class to Business class, or from Acela® Business class to Acela First class, on a single travel segment or leg.
  • Not valid for upgrade to sleeping car accommodations.
  • Not eligible for use with 10-trip, monthly or other multiride tickets.
  • Subject to availability; upgrade not available on all trains at all times.
  • Upgrade may be combined with corporate discount, but is not combinable with any other discount, coupon or Amtrak Guest Rewards® redemption travel.
  • Travel blackout dates apply.
  •  Offer is not valid on the following services: Adirondack®, Auto Train®, California Zephyr®, Capitol Limited®, City of New Orleans®, Crescent®, Empire Builder®, Keystone Service®, Silver Meteor®, Silver Star®, Southwest Chief®, Sunset Limited®, Texas Eagle®, and train/Thruway series 7000 – 8999.
  • This 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.
  • Other restrictions may apply.
Thanks. This is obviously a pretty irrelevant point, but I am sort of surprised that they had to spell out all the routes it can't be used on due them not having business class or first class seating to upgrade to. I mean if you already say that it's only valid for upgrades from Coach to Business or Acela Business to Acela First, why is that necessary? Just me being nit-picky there. ;)
 

bratkinson

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Thanks. This is obviously a pretty irrelevant point, but I am sort of surprised that they had to spell out all the routes it can't be used on due them not having business class or first class seating to upgrade to. I mean if you already say that it's only valid for upgrades from Coach to Business or Acela Business to Acela First, why is that necessary? Just me being nit-picky there. ;)
I suspect some lawyer types out there 'required' Amtrak to state specific exclusions, train by train.  Otherwise, some jerk may want to use their upgrade coupon on one of those trains and then become beligerant with the Amtrak reservations person or station ticket clerk when they are refused the upgrade.  They might even think it was some kind of discrimination based on just about anything. 

I was politely refused my 48hr upgrades for this past Tuesdays' Acelas when I called on Saturday!  The kind lady had to repeat my reservation was a Tuesday train a couple times before I 'got it', not a Monday train as I had been thinking/telling her all along.  I apologized for proving I'm a senile citizen these days.  This old geezer brain of mine is getting worse by the day!  I have to remind myself every morning when I get out of bed what day of the week it is.  One of the many joys of being retired, I guess.   

At least Amtrak didn't use the jargon I've seen in too many contracts..."Including, but not limited to...", I've even written that into a couple of contracts of my own  in years gone by!  The 'other restrictions may apply' clause essentially provides an 'easy out' for any legitimate reason an upgrade can't be used...like...the train is sold out, or, it's the Sunday after Thanksgiving...duh!!!
 
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pennyk

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I just upgraded to FC my Acela ticket for Saturday with an upgrade coupon.  I phoned and spoke to an agent.  I guess the system assigned me a seat, which was a double.  I requested a single seat facing forward and the agent changed for me.  I will be curious to see if the seat is really facing forward.  This will be my first experience with assigned seating.
My seat on the Acela was facing forward and it was a great seat.  It appeared that a good number of passengers in my car were in the wrong seats.  I was sitting just forward of midcar.  The conductor starting scanning tickets in the rear and I could hear many conversations (and some arguments).  I saw many people changing seats.  One man ended up changing seats twice because he sat in the wrong seat twice.  One's seat number is on the e-ticket AND I received an email reminder about the assigned seats.
 

AmtrakBlue

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People are clearly still getting used to the concept. 
If only the occupied/empty sign above the seats actually worked, and display a first of last name...
But who looks above the seats?  ;)    I know I tend to forget to check for seat checks when I'm riding the regionals.  And if I were a regular Acela rider and didn't keep up with things on AU, I probably might not notice I've been assigned a seat.  
 

Triley

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But who looks above the seats?  [emoji6]   I know I tend to forget to check for seat checks when I'm riding the regionals.  And if I were a regular Acela rider and didn't keep up with things on AU, I probably might not notice I've been assigned a seat.  
Understood, but I would use it as a final reminder, to perhaps settle squabbles. First the seat assignment is emailed to you. Then it's on your updated e-ticket. I don't know if there's any signage in the stations, but hopefully crews are making announcements about assignments. At that point the sign above the seat shouldn't even be necessary, other than to confirm one found their seat.
 

Acela150

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People are clearly still getting used to the concept. 
If only the occupied/empty sign above the seats actually worked, and display a first of last name...
Ask me there is a simple fix to that.. 

Give the LSA's the FC manifest and they put names on seats. 

That's too easy though. 
 
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Triley

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Ask me there is a simple fix to that.. 
Give the LSA's the FC manifest and they put names on seats. 
That's too easy though. 
That would just add to the list of things we need to handle when there's a large amount of passenger changeover.
 
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Acela150

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That would just add to the list of things we need to handle when there's a large amount of passenger changeover.
Sorry what I should have said was at origin points. Such as BOS, NYP, WAS. And maybe have name tags ready for places like PHL. But then again I'm a multitasker and a half. 
 

bratkinson

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People are clearly still getting used to the concept. 
If only the occupied/empty sign above the seats actually worked, and display a first of last name...
Unfortunately, the electronic 'taken' seat check/system fell into disuse shortly after the Acelas' started running as it was 'buggy' and the conductors had/have been using paper seat checks for eons.  So, they ended up sewing on small seat check holders on the top of each seat.

What's needed is clear, easy to read row and seat numbers, akin to what's on an airplane.  The couple of times I rode Acela FC in the past month or so I had to really 'look hard' to find the row number, much less seat number.  I think once upon a time they may have been back lit, but those bulbs must have long since burned out on all of them!  Even peel-and-stick row/seat numbers near the bottom of the always-hit-my-head-on-them overhead bin doors would be a big step in alleviating the wrong-seat problem.
 
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Acela150

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Welp,

I just upgraded my reservation for Friday. And of course us Philly people get the shaft. Not one single seat available. Not one two person table available. So Mom and I will be in 4 and 5 C. Which is a four person table. And sadly no window seat. BUT at least it's on the correct side for Long Island Sound. :)  But it seems like to me people boarding at a place other the DC, NY, or BOS. You should dare I say.. PAY for your seat selection. :eek:  
 

bratkinson

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Welp,

I just upgraded my reservation for Friday. And of course us Philly people get the shaft. Not one single seat available. Not one two person table available. So Mom and I will be in 4 and 5 C. Which is a four person table. And sadly no window seat. BUT at least it's on the correct side for Long Island Sound. :)  But it seems like to me people boarding at a place other the DC, NY, or BOS. You should dare I say.. PAY for your seat selection. :eek:  
When I used my 48 hr upgrades a couple weeks ago to Acela FC, I encountered the same thing.  By 48 hrs prior to departure, the Acela FC gets pretty much filled with those actually paying for FC. 

Based on my experience of actually buying/paying for Acela FC about 2 months prior to departure, I was the first person to purchase a FC seat on that train as everything else was available.  So, it would seem, that Amtrak really IS capturing the business market more than the leisure market for the Acelas.  Unfortunately, I can't  confirm that by looking at how many Acela business class seats have been sold, and the 'only x seats left at this price' isn't much of a help unless one has figured out which bucket has only the handful of seats left.   
 

cpotisch

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So if we were booked on Acela from NYP to BOS or vice versa, how good would our odds likely be at getting two or three decent seats together 48 hours out?
 

Acela150

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So if we were booked on Acela from NYP to BOS or vice versa, how good would our odds likely be at getting two or three decent seats together 48 hours out?
I'd say decent. Even more so BOS. There is always a large turnover at NYP and BOS is the origin point. 
 
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