Spinning Seats

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VentureForth

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
6,240
Location
West Melbourne, FL
Here's a question I haven't seen here yet -

If you are a party of three or four, do you think Amtrak onboard staff would balk at letting you spin a set of seats around?

We had no problem doing that on the Shinkansen in Japan (where everyone seems to be very nicely strict about everything). The seat pitch in Japan is a lot tighter than Amtrak, so it meant the world to us to be able to have club seating with the four + infant of us.
 

GregL

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 17, 2006
Messages
233
Location
SE Iowa
I have ridden several trains in the last few years. Sometimes the crew is helpful in getting the seats turned around for the passengers (even asking if they wanted the seats turned to sit in a group). Other times they could care less. We rode about three hours one trip will nearly all the seats in the car facing the rear of the train. Also I have seen the passengers turn the seats themselves, which is what I would do. Good luck.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have ridden several trains in the last few years. Sometimes the crew is helpful in getting the seats turned around for the passengers (even asking if they wanted the seats turned to sit in a group). Other times they could care less. We rode about three hours one trip will nearly all the seats in the car facing the rear of the train. Also I have seen the passengers turn the seats themselves, which is what I would do. Good luck.

Ask the Conductor first. Many crew members do not want passengers doing this. Especially if one passenger sees another one spin seats, then you'll have one person in their own four seater, and so on and so forth. It's like a domino effect. I've seen this happen and seen Conductors read passengers the riot act.

Ask first!
 
E

Eric

Guest
Ask first!
Please do. There is actually an unofficial policy in place that seats are not to be turned by crew members or anyone else. It is viewed as a safety issue, since the rotating mechanisms are unreliable and often become stuck. This can result in injury to a passenger or crewmember trying to turn a seat that is stuck.
 

VentureForth

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2007
Messages
6,240
Location
West Melbourne, FL
OK - at the risk of sounding totally cynical -

That's perposterous! Of course we DO live in a culture where $5 will buy you a lawsuit against anyone for anything... But to have seats that were designed (quite well, I might add), and then to say that no one is allowed to use them the way they were designed - even if you're an employee - is kinda crazy.

If they were that unreliable, a 10-cent spotweld would prevent any futhur question. It really sounds like a bit of over possessiveness.

I think this is one that I'll put in my "better to ask for forgiveness than permission" bucket...
 
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PRR 60

Engineer
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2003
Messages
8,473
OK - at the risk of sounding totally cynical -
That's perposterous! Of course we DO live in a culture where $5 will buy you a lawsuit against anyone for anything... But to have seats that were designed (quite well, I might add), and then to say that no one is allowed to use them the way they were designed - even if you're an employee - is kinda crazy.

If they were that unreliable, a 10-cent spotweld would prevent any futhur question. It really sounds like a bit of over possessiveness.

I think this is one that I'll put in my "better to ask for forgiveness than permission" bucket...
The seats are not designed to be turned to provide facing pairs of seats. They are designed to be turned to permit all seats to face the forward direction of travel. If you turn just one pair of seats such that the back of that pair is now against the back of another pair, then neither pair can recline fully and your seat arrangement is now affecting the comfort of other passengers. The crew is not going to permit that.

I strongly recommend that you do not turn those seats yourself.
 

wayman

Engineer
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Messages
2,312
Location
Northampton MA
The seats are not designed to be turned to provide facing pairs of seats. They are designed to be turned to permit all seats to face the forward direction of travel. If you turn just one pair of seats such that the back of that pair is now against the back of another pair, then neither pair can recline fully and your seat arrangement is now affecting the comfort of other passengers. The crew is not going to permit that.
Basically, it's a heckuvalot cheaper to flip all the seats in a coach if it's in the wrong orientation than to turn the coach at a wye (especially since there aren't convenient wyes everywhere).
 

Joel N. Weber II

Engineer
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
2,917
Location
Greater Boston, MA
If you can get the seats at the front of the car, isn't it possible to flip the frontmost seat to face backwards without it interfereing with reclining for anyone who doesn't want four person seating? And if you had more than one group that wanted four person seating and put them all at the front of the car, couldn't you arrange it so that only the people who had the four person seating would lose the full reclining?

(Yes, I'm sure there are problems with actually getting those seats if you're getting on in the middle of the route and the conductor didn't plan for it. But it's not obvious to me that a conductor who wanted to make the effort to make this available to passengers would have trouble doing so. One might even imagine a conductor reading the manifest to decide how many seats to configure in this fashion at the beginning of the route, if it shows groups of four clearly enough. And isn't there a mechanism by which passengers can ask that notes be put on the manifest with special requests?)
 
A

Amtrak OBS Employee gone freight

Guest
OK - at the risk of sounding totally cynical -
That's perposterous! Of course we DO live in a culture where $5 will buy you a lawsuit against anyone for anything... But to have seats that were designed (quite well, I might add), and then to say that no one is allowed to use them the way they were designed - even if you're an employee - is kinda crazy.

If they were that unreliable, a 10-cent spotweld would prevent any futhur question. It really sounds like a bit of over possessiveness.

I think this is one that I'll put in my "better to ask for forgiveness than permission" bucket...
The seats are not designed to be turned to provide facing pairs of seats. They are designed to be turned to permit all seats to face the forward direction of travel. If you turn just one pair of seats such that the back of that pair is now against the back of another pair, then neither pair can recline fully and your seat arrangement is now affecting the comfort of other passengers. The crew is not going to permit that.

I strongly recommend that you do not turn those seats yourself.

Well thanks PRR, you beat me to to it. This pretty much sums up the case in point, here. Passengers should not take it upon themselves to make these kind of adjustments as it creates more problems in the long run regarding the comfort of others. It is also a safety issue due to the nature of the mechanisms, and it also creates confusion being the seat numbers appear off a bit. Some folks have a hard time finding their seat when everything is configured properly much less if there are seat pairs spun around in the oposite direction making the seat configuration look screwy! Keep in mind when these seats are facing each other, then neither party has access to their fold down tray and the little storage pocket right below it as well. So on behalf of the OBS crew and conductors, we ask that you please do not turn around any seats on your own! Ask us and we'll let you know if it can be done! Most of the time it can't be allowed, however, I used to allow groups who occupied an entire coach to have some seats turned around facing each other, but I turned the seats around for them on my own! Thank you.

OBS gone freight...
 
A

Amtrak OBS Employee gone freight

Guest
If you can get the seats at the front of the car, isn't it possible to flip the frontmost seat to face backwards without it interfereing with reclining for anyone who doesn't want four person seating? And if you had more than one group that wanted four person seating and put them all at the front of the car, couldn't you arrange it so that only the people who had the four person seating would lose the full reclining?

Actually Joel, this practice is kinda common on some short haul trains (I noticed it on both the Piedmont and Carolinian on a couple of personal trips) depending on the route, and the crew. That works out OK up at the "A" end of the car as only the loss of the drop down table occurs. All four seat pairs will still recline as normal in that case, and this also eliminates the "bulkhead" seat arangement! I stayed on my manager for a couple years on this very thing over here on "Silver Service" to no avail! So I gave up! It would also be better if they ran the Amfleet II coaches with the "B" end forward, anyway! As there would be no "bulkhead without a window" seat arrangment at all even if every seat pair is turned facing forward! But in closing, if you get on a train and you do not find any seats in that configuration, it still doesn't hurt to ask. They'll let you know if it can be done or not. Like I said in the previous posting, most of the time it can't be done without compromising other passengers' comfort. But in cases of a group occupying one entire coach for the whole trip, then I don't see a problem there as long as the crewmember handles the work involved!

OBS gone freight...
 

Everydaymatters

Engineer
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,354
Location
Just North of Normal, Illinois
On a trip from Chicago to Seattle, the last two seats were facing eachother and were the only empty seats on the lower level. There were 4 of us, knee to knee and absolutely no wiggle room. You couldn't stretch your legs one inch. It was terrible and the thought of two nights that close to complete strangers was terrible.

Fortunately, we had a train assistant who got us help to turn things around. We all had to travel backwards, but nobody complained.

Betty
 

Dakguy201

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
67
It seems to me that a car with all or a majority of seats faced the wrong way is (another) sign of Amtrak's weak first line management and the supervision thereof. I'd complain including date and car number; and I bet somewhere in the bowels of the originating service point there is some kind of a checklist that indicates the seats were turned.
 

Joel N. Weber II

Engineer
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
2,917
Location
Greater Boston, MA
Is there a good way to take a photograph that would clearly show the seats were facing backwards? You clearly can photograph the seats, and probably can get a car number in the photograph (at least if they're as visible as they are on the MBTA Red Line; I haven't been on Amtrak trains as much to have taken note of that), but what I haven't figured out is how you get a photograph to clearly indicate which way is forward. Maybe a known landmark out the window might work, but the person looking at the photograph would need to be familiar with that landmark, and sometimes the lighting levels inside and outside the car aren't close enough to get a photograph that clearly shows both.
 
S

Shannon

Guest
Try including the seat number that appears on the luggage rack... Im sure a competent employee can recognize whether the seats should face the train in ascending or descending order... Most of the cars I sat in between Texas and Oklahoma were split with half the seats forward and half backwards... I think this was so that they could avoid rotations entirely :-(
 

Karl1459

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
469
Location
Oregon
My understanding is in turning the seats you have to be careful with the footrest positon or the seat can be damaged. I think another risk Amtrak wants to avoid is if a seat is to jamb without fully rotating it would leave a couple of seats out of service and possibly a blocked isle. Turning the seats at the end terminal would not be a problem as there would be time to fix the issue.

Best to ask the CA or Conducter, and if they say no let it go.
 

benjibear

Conductor
Joined
Dec 9, 2011
Messages
1,078
You have to consider routes like the Keystone and the Pennsylvanian. I am not sure if other routes operate like this.

Both or these trains go one direction west of Philadelphia. Between Philadelphia and New York, the train goes the opisite direction.

The Keystone operates half the seats in each direction. If you stay in the same seat the entire route, you may ride forward bewteen Harrisburg and Philly. Between Philly and New York, you will ride backwards.

The Pennsylvanian rides backwards our of New York and then forward the remainder of the trip.

I highly doubt Amtrak wants you to flip seats as others have said.
 

Texan Eagle

Conductor
Joined
Aug 25, 2011
Messages
1,705
Why do guests keep digging up half-decade-old threads?
Because there is a wonderful tool out there in the world wide web called Google and it uses a wonderful thing called "keywords". So if you are curious about something ans search it in Google it will throw up a thread related to that topic, doesn't matter if it was started yesterday or in the last century.
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
Recently on a trip on the Downeaster, the conductor told me that it was a felony to turn the seats. Is this true?
No, but some might toss you off the train. Don't do it. On Amfleets it can really screw things up. And unqualified people tend not to lock them back in which is a safety issue. Also those seats might come off their pedestal.
On Acela train sets it is an FRA violation to have a four seater without a table in between.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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fairviewroad

Engineer
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,357
Recently on a trip on the Downeaster, the conductor told me that it was a felony to turn the seats. Is this true?
I doubt if the conductor has arrest powers. It was a joke.
The conductor can request that law enforcement meet the train at the next station. It's irrelevant whether or not the conductor personally makes the arrest. Convincing a cop to haul you off to jail for turning a seat is another matter though. I suppose it could fall under some clause about interfering with a member of the train crew, or something like that.
 
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