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river

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I should have realized it was for ID purposes. Just not a fan of giving out cc info if I don't have to. I'll go back and try again and use the cc. I understand now it's to prevent unauthorized/stolen ticket printing.
 

river

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So I go back to the local Amtrak station today and try to use my cc to try to print off tickets. Didn't work. Called AGR. Like pennyk said, AGR said you need an agent to provide you the ticket. AGR person said to go to customer service in Chicago for assistance since no agents work where I live.
Have others been able to print an open sleeper ticket on a kiosk or have they always gotten their tickets from an agent?
This has been a real challenge to obtain an open sleeper ticket!
 

jebr

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How quickly do you need the ticket? If it's not for a few weeks or longer, I'd call Amtrak and see if they can mail it out.

Alternatively, it looks like the nearest staffed station to GRR is Battle Creek, MI. Amtrak shows the station as having an agent from 8 AM to 3:30 PM M-F.

I believe Quik-Trak machines at least used to be able to print tickets like the open sleeper. However, they were the older style that looked like this:

1645563160305.png

There's newer ones that look more like this - I'm curious if the functionality to print a paper value ticket (instead of an e-ticket) simply isn't programmed into the new machines:

1645563228631.png

I'm not sure which style of Quik-Trak machines GRR has, but if it's the one on the bottom (the newer ones) I wonder if those simply can't print open sleeper tickets.
 

river

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Thanks for replying. Yes, the bottom picture is what Grand Rapids has. They have the other one right next to it but it's not working and seemingly shut down for good.
 

river

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I am leery of waiting until we get to Chicago and would like to have the tickets in hand at the start of our trip. I may call Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and ask if they have agents on duty that can provide the ticket. We can't wait a few weeks, only a few days.

Do you know if both Battle Creek and Kalamazoo stations are staffed and if so, what are their hours?
 

jebr

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From what I'm reading online Battle Creek has a ticketed sales office but Kalamazoo does not--when I read their amenities list.

That's what I read as well. @SarahZ may know on-the-ground details of at least the Kalamazoo station.

EDIT: That said, I'd be at least 99.5% certain that there's an agent in Chicago that can print your ticket. However, I'm in the same mindset as you - I'd rather have the ticket in hand now than have to risk even a small percentage chance of there being an issue mid-trip.
 

Bob Dylan

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So I go back to the local Amtrak station today and try to use my cc to try to print off tickets. Didn't work. Called AGR. Like pennyk said, AGR said you need an agent to provide you the ticket. AGR person said to go to customer service in Chicago for assistance since no agents work where I live.
Have others been able to print an open sleeper ticket on a kiosk or have they always gotten their tickets from an agent?
This has been a real challenge to obtain an open sleeper ticket!
You MUST get your Paper Ticket from an Agent as was said. I'm getting mine Friday @ the Station for my Austin-Dallas Day Trip with friends on the Eaglette.
 

river

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I will call Battle Creek tomorrow (hope they are reachable on the phone!) and confirm they have a ticket agent there. With COVID and current staffing shortages I want to be sure they actually are staffed, will be there, and can print the ticket.

I did find a local number I can try--I will call tomorrow.
 
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SarahZ

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Battle Creek is staffed and is a crew change point. They have a gated parking lot that the attendant monitors/opens for people, and if the lot is full, they write out a parking pass for the lot across the street.

Kalamazoo is definitely staffed during the day. During Covid, they weren't staffed in the evening, but that may have changed. I believe I saw an attendant there the last time I arrived at night, but I never pay attention since I don't need them.
 

river

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The concern is what kind of staffing does Kalamazoo have. GRR has staffing early morning and late night but they don't appear to deal with ticket issues. They just do work related to the train leaving and arriving I think. Seems like you need a person who is dedicating to ticketing.
 

river

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Also interestingly, called AGR again this afternoon for the main purpose of obtaining Battle Creek's Amtrak's direct local number and we got a more experienced agent who looked at our open ticket sleeper reservation and said the previous AGR agent put info in the wrong place so she corrected it.
She emphasized this could be handled in Chicago, but I'm more leery than ever about not having all my ducks in a row with ticket in hand at the start of our trip.
 

SarahZ

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The concern is what kind of staffing does Kalamazoo have. GRR has staffing early morning and late night but they don't appear to deal with ticket issues. They just do work related to the train leaving and arriving I think. Seems like you need a person who is dedicating to ticketing.

Honestly, I'd just have it done in Chicago. There's really no sense in stressing about it and making a pointless drive when you KNOW you can have the ticket printed in Chicago.
 

river

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I hear what you're saying SarahZ, but this entire experience getting this open sleeper ticket has had mistakes and misteps at each and every interaction. I would say inconsistent and inaccurate information over many hours from first agent who incorrectly booked the ticket, to the second agent who insisted Amtrak didn't allow this kind of ticket, to the supervisor who agreed with the second agent that it couldn't be booked, to a third agent who booked the ticket with an error, and a 4th agent who said she fixed everything. Then to the Amtrak station on two separate occasions to unsuccessfully print a ticket the 3rd agent insisted we could print at a kiosk--which was not true.
This does not inspire confidence in me that having an agent in Chicago (where we don't live so can't just shrug it off and easily go home) will happily print the ticket without an issue of some sort. I've been around the block too many times to take any additional chances.
 

jebr

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This does not inspire confidence in me that having an agent in Chicago (where we don't live so can't just shrug it off and easily go home) will happily print the ticket without an issue of some sort. I've been around the block too many times to take any additional chances.

How long is your layover in Chicago? If it's a few hours, I'd recommend just doing it in Chicago. There's plenty of agents in Chicago, along with supervisors who even if something's going awry can figure it out so long as time allows. If nothing else, the agent can sell an open sleeper ticket directly (and presumably refund the other reservation) - I've booked an open sleeper before at MSP and it's worked out fine.

The frustrating part with all of that is that the process for an open sleeper can hit weird edge cases, as Amtrak moved most travel to e-ticketing about 10 years ago (I don't recall the exact date, but most references to it being new were in 2012) and now even most of the edge cases like connecting bus travel on other carriers have been brought into the eTicket era. Since an open sleeper is a paper value ticket that can only be printed once (and is treated on the back end differently from an eTicket) the regular processes don't work, and it appears as though Amtrak hasn't properly accounted for this with their new ticket machines either. However, an agent should still be able to do this, particularly more experienced agents. There may also be the older-style QuikTrak machines at Chicago, which should be able to just print out the ticket as they had the ability to print paper value tickets programmed into them.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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I hear what you're saying SarahZ, but this entire experience getting this open sleeper ticket has had mistakes and misteps at each and every interaction. I would say inconsistent and inaccurate information over many hours from first agent who incorrectly booked the ticket, to the second agent who insisted Amtrak didn't allow this kind of ticket, to the supervisor who agreed with the second agent that it couldn't be booked, to a third agent who booked the ticket with an error, and a 4th agent who said she fixed everything. Then to the Amtrak station on two separate occasions to unsuccessfully print a ticket the 3rd agent insisted we could print at a kiosk--which was not true.
You're not wrong but in this one very specific situation you (1) know you have the room booked, (2) know the rules allow you to add a third passenger to your room, and (3) know staff in Chicago have the authority to make it happen. So even if the open sleeper ticket is completely screwed up right now you should still be able to get what you need in Chicago with sufficient lead time. Worst case you float the cost of an extra open sleeper fare until you return home. I know this experience sucks and I wish you did not have to go through this but the advice you have been given is from knowledgeable resources.
 

drdumont

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It says on the paperwork that I can scan the barcode at a kiosk to receive the ticket. Reading (after the fact, now that I'm home) on Amtrak's website it says you activate it with a credit card. I didn't put in my credit card as I didn't realize it for identification purposes. I thought I don't need to pay anything so why put in the credit card. Maybe that's the problem, ha! It would have helped if the kiosk said credit card for identification purposes , not just insert credit card here.
Am now assuming that's a crucial step for printing off a ticket?

I haven't seen a kiosk in years. But ISTR you could use your AMTRAKGuestRewards card or the credit card you used for the purchase to ID yourself. Frankly, I never trusted the things after a couple of unfortunate happenstances.
Your best option is to call AmtrakGuestRewards during the day. You won't get put on terminal hold, and I have found their agents to be the most helpful and well informed. They will email you the details, and you can print it.
The ticket kiosks can't handle things the slightest bit out of the ordinary
And you should pay the ticket with a credit card now, so you will have a ticket in pdf form as well as on the app.And make note of the reservation locator - keep that with you.
You DO use the app, don't you? <g>
 

jis

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I haven't seen a kiosk in years. But ISTR you could use your AMTRAKGuestRewards card or the credit card you used for the purchase to ID yourself. Frankly, I never trusted the things after a couple of unfortunate happenstances.
Your best option is to call AmtrakGuestRewards during the day. You won't get put on terminal hold, and I have found their agents to be the most helpful and well informed. They will email you the details, and you can print it.
The ticket kiosks can't handle things the slightest bit out of the ordinary
And you should pay the ticket with a credit card now, so you will have a ticket in pdf form as well as on the app.And make note of the reservation locator - keep that with you.
You DO use the app, don't you? <g>
Sorry. It does not work that way for open sleeper tickets. An open sleeper ticket is not an e-ticket. It is a paper cash value ticket. At most they can postal mail one to you. They cannot send it to you via any electronic means. Only e-tickets can be sent as PDF documents.
 

drdumont

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Sorry. It does not work that way for open sleeper tickets. An open sleeper ticket is not an e-ticket. It is a paper cash value ticket. At most they can postal mail one to you. They cannot send it to you via any electronic means. Only e-tickets can be sent as PDF documents.

I believe you have been misinformed, unless something has changed. They certainly emailed one to me, I printed it out my very own personal self. And she had it on the app in her phone.

When I added my Granddaughter to my 2 adult ticket in a bedroom last year DAL-CHI-DAL, I called AGR. They said no prob. Emailed me the info. Her railfare had a separate locator number. When we boarded in DAL, I proffered my cell phone with my ticket and hers with her ticket. The conductor said "Naahh.. we got it". Didn't even scan it.

One note of caution... if you get a conductor who works off the manifest and doesn't actually scan your phone or ticket, confirm with him later that he actually put the fact of your boarding in the system. On another trip, we got to CHI after the conductor waved us aboard in DAL. On return we found that we were on the books as no shows and our return rez was cxled. fortunately the CHI Metro Lounge was able to fix it forthwith. A quick check when you arrive at the midpoint with the ML gatekeeper or the AGR line is a good idea.
 

jis

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When I added my Granddaughter to my 2 adult ticket in a bedroom lat year DAL-CHI-DAL, I called AGR. They said no prob. Emailed me a pdf. Her railfare had a separate locator number. When we boarded in DAL, I proffered my cell phone with my ticket and hers with her ticket. The conductor said "Naahh.. we got it". Didn't even scan it.

One note of caution... if you get a conductor who works off the manifest and doesn't actually scan your phone or ticket, confirm with him later that he actually put the fact of your boarding in the system. On another trip, we got to CHI after the conductor waved us aboard in DAL. On return we found that we were on the books as no shows and our return rez was cxled. fortunately the CHI Metro Lounge was able to fix it forthwith. A quick check when you arrive at the midpoint with the ML gatekeeper or the AGR line is a good idea.
You did not use an open sleeper ticket. You got your original ticket reissued as an e-ticket. That can be done with a risk of getting a fare change.
 
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drdumont

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You did not use a open sleeper ticket. You got your original ticket reissued as an e-ticket. That can be done with a risk of getting a fare change.

Sorry, I was there. My original ticket was unchanged. My granddaughter's ticket was notated and had the room designation on it. My ticket for the two of us was unchanged. Our original fare remained the same. There was a fare collection for my granddaughter's ticket, which had a different locator number as stated before.
 

river

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Well thanks all for your advice and suggestions! I am HAPPY to say we called the Battle Creek Amtrak station directly this morning and the phone was answered almost immediately. The agent asked for our reservation number (it was already paid for), looked it up and immediately said YES, come to our station and I can print this ticket for you. He had the voice of an experienced ticket agent. :)
So we drove to Battle Creek--a pleasant and scenic route through several interesting towns. We arrived at the station and saw a large dedicated and windowed staffed office area. We told the agent we were here to pick up the open sleeper ticket. He said this is such a rare transaction I still remember your reservation number. He typed it in and we had the ticket in our hands in less than one minute. He was clearly knew what he was doing. He said again how rare this kind of ticket is and he knew almost all agents were unfamiliar with it.
And the ticket is exactly what I hoped for! All identifying details are present for the conductor to view when we board.
I am very glad we went to Battle Creek. Yes, it would have been easy to print it in Chicago (barring any unforseen circumstances) but it was totally worth it for us. It was a pleasant drive and we even stopped for lunch.
Thanks again! Looking forward to our train trip. All's well that ends well!
 
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