Southwest Chief and Promo Code Qs

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

C

CKenzie

Guest
Hello everyone,

We are planning our first ever trip with amtrack this fall, and I have a few questions. We will be boarding the SW Chief in Hutchinson at 2am. Our group includes 5 adults, a child and an infant. We are riding coach. Should I assume by this point in the journey, it will be very difficult and unlikely that we will be able to find seats together? Any work arounds for that ? Also, tips for minimizing disruption to sleeping coach passengers as we are boarding and trying to figure out where to put things and settle the kids?

Finally, I doubt anyone can help me with this, but I hope someone can. There are some great promo codes available during this time, but due to work schedule, we have to travel back home on October the 12th. Every deal I have found does not apply on this day. I want to book the return trip asap but I keep hoping I will find a promo or deal for the return.... I do not unerstand why promos don't apply on this day... How random !! If anyone knows a work around or a good way to score a deal for return tickets on the Chief (CHI to HUT) I would really appreciate it!

Any other tips or a newbie/first time traveler would be welcomed :) Thanks!
 

SarahZ

Engineer
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,292
Location
None
Monday, October 12 is Columbus Day. :) Many teachers/schools have that day off, so it's a blackout date, just like you see around holidays like July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

When you book your ticket, you may want to ask if they can mark you as a "group" or "family". I can't remember how, exactly, this is done, but others will chime in. I believe it shows up that way on the conductor's manifest so they and/or the car attendant can ensure they reserve a group of seats together.

The seats in coach are 2x2, so you will not all be in one row.

As far as boarding quietly, the lights will be turned down low, but you will still be able to see the seat numbers above the seats. Put your stuff in the luggage racks above the seats and recline the seat for the older child ASAP. When we were little, we were already in pajamas so our parents could simply lay us down with minimal fuss. :) The infant can stay in his/her car seat (or travel bed), as there is room on the floor between seats for the car seat to sit safely. The train does lurch at times, but likely not enough that it would cause his/her car seat to tip. (You could always put stuff around it.)

The cafe and diner will be closed until 6:30, so make sure you've eaten, and have some snacks on-hand just in case the older child wakes up and feels hungry. Most people start rising around 6, and the PA starts squawking shortly thereafter, but it generally quiets down after breakfast, and it's easy to catch a nap.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

amtkstn

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
727
Location
OK
The conductor of the train handles the boarding at middle of the night stops. Most of the time they load the coaches by destination. My home station is Newton, the next stop to the east of Hutchison. I live in Oklahoma and have to drive both ways in the late evening on the way out and early morning on the way home. You did not mention where you are traveling to. Over the last year the SWC has had a hard time with timekeeping, Before I leave Oklahoma, I check what time the Chief is expected to stopping at Newton. There are a few ways to do that, One is to call 1-800-872-7245 and tell Julie(Amtrak automated voice) train status. The way I do it either Amtrak.com or the IPhone App. Make sure you either have a paper copy of the e-ticket that you were emailed after getting your reservation. If you have a smart phone you can show using the Amtrak app. A quick way to to see if the Chief is running on time is to visit this website, asm.transitdocs.com. It gives a report for each train of the times it gets to every station on the route. If you have anymore question please post them.
 

me_little_me

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
4,207
NOTE!!!!!!

Join Amtrak Guest Rewards program WITHIN 90 days of but before Amtrak travel. Then "invite" each of the others on your group to join by going to AGR site, logging in and using their email address. You have to have an individual email address for each of the kids. Make sure you respond from their email and fill out their membership so you all get numbers. Then they each get points for their travel PLUS a 500 point bonus for signing up that way. You get a 500 point bonus FOR EACH OF THEM when they travel. You must put their AGR numbers on the reservation or call Amtrak to add them later. You could end up with a 3000 point bonus.
 
C

CKenzie

Guest
Thanks for the great tips! :) Is it possible to bring a small stroller on board? If so, I could have a child asleep ad just roll them in.

Is the chief usually crowded? Is this a slower time of year for train travel? What are rules like for getting up/walking around etc? It is my understanding that passengers are allowed to hang out in other parts of the train at certain times (like the cafe car?) and you aren't just confined to your seat for the entire duration? (If so, this sounds amazing!)

The website said no reservation is needed for breakfast.... Do you just walk in?

Thanks again for the help! :)
 

AmtrakBlue

Engineer
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
12,608
Location
Delaware
You can take a small stroller, but not sure you can wheel it on and down the aisle.

You are free to move about whenever you feel like it. The only restriction is that you will not be able to go into the sleeper cars which are generally on the opposite side of the diner from the coaches and lounge car.

Yes, you can go to the diner for breakfast whenever you're ready. If it's busy, they'll put you on a waiting list to get a seat. The tables seat 4 and it's community seating. Meaning if you're a party of 3 or less, then there could be strangers at your table with you. This is one aspect many like and many dislike. I'm fine with sitting with strangers and I've had some who were great, some who were mediocre and some that I'd rather not sit with again.
 

willem

Maintenance
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,119
Location
in the depths
The stroller is likely to work better if you have lower level seats. Getting it up the narrow stairway, with its two corners, would probably be difficult if it is occupied.

As a small quibble, you can go to breakfast any time you like while the diner is receiving customers. As noted earlier, the diner opens for breakfast at 0630, so don't plan on going at 0600.
 
Top