Train cancelled by Amtrak-but they haven't contacted me

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saxpower

Train Attendant
Joined
May 26, 2022
Messages
39
Location
Wilmington, DE
I scheduled a weekend trip from Wilmington, DE to NYC this coming November. Oddly, Acela was actually cheaper than NE Regional Coach, so I book Acela (both ways). No significant difference in travel time at that distance, but (from what I hear) slightly nicer seats and no need to search for a seat.

I happened to be looking at my account (due to issues with missing checked luggage I mentioned on other threads) and noticed the Acela for the return trip had been canceled. Given this is NEC, there are plenty of alternate trains to pick from. No huge problem. I figured I'd hear from Amtrak shortly, but I have not heard anything as of yet.

How long does it usually take Amtrak to contact passengers once a train is cancelled? I'd like to avoid having to call into the 800 number, yell "agent" at Julie, wait for an agent, ask for Customer Relations, and wait again. I also figure speaking to someone who contacts me from Amtrak will more likely understand I am not "changing" my reservation but am rebooking due to cancellation (and thus shouldn't have to pay any change fees. The app will only let me "modify" my trip (ie, as if the change was my choice).

In that regard, the convenient replacement trains all cost more than my original fare ($45). There are four NE Regionals for $59 and an Acela for $99. (There's also an Acela for $45 leaving an hour before the cancelled one, but that cuts it tight to check out of the hotel and get to Penn Station). Is Amtrak likely to honor the original fares (I'd actually be paying more for downgraded service on the Regional)? Arguably, since my Acela ride is marketed as "business class" I could argue Amtrak should put me in business class if I end up on a regional, but given the amount of the original fare I'm not inclined to press the matter.

Obviously, there is still plenty of time. My only concern is that if Amtrak isn't going to honor the original fare, prices tend to go up the closer we get to the travel date. I'd rather minimize any increase I end up paying.
 

John Santos

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2018
Messages
295
I scheduled a weekend trip from Wilmington, DE to NYC this coming November. Oddly, Acela was actually cheaper than NE Regional Coach, so I book Acela (both ways). No significant difference in travel time at that distance, but (from what I hear) slightly nicer seats and no need to search for a seat.

I happened to be looking at my account (due to issues with missing checked luggage I mentioned on other threads) and noticed the Acela for the return trip had been canceled. Given this is NEC, there are plenty of alternate trains to pick from. No huge problem. I figured I'd hear from Amtrak shortly, but I have not heard anything as of yet.

How long does it usually take Amtrak to contact passengers once a train is cancelled? I'd like to avoid having to call into the 800 number, yell "agent" at Julie, wait for an agent, ask for Customer Relations, and wait again. I also figure speaking to someone who contacts me from Amtrak will more likely understand I am not "changing" my reservation but am rebooking due to cancellation (and thus shouldn't have to pay any change fees. The app will only let me "modify" my trip (ie, as if the change was my choice).

In that regard, the convenient replacement trains all cost more than my original fare ($45). There are four NE Regionals for $59 and an Acela for $99. (There's also an Acela for $45 leaving an hour before the cancelled one, but that cuts it tight to check out of the hotel and get to Penn Station). Is Amtrak likely to honor the original fares (I'd actually be paying more for downgraded service on the Regional)? Arguably, since my Acela ride is marketed as "business class" I could argue Amtrak should put me in business class if I end up on a regional, but given the amount of the original fare I'm not inclined to press the matter.

Obviously, there is still plenty of time. My only concern is that if Amtrak isn't going to honor the original fare, prices tend to go up the closer we get to the travel date. I'd rather minimize any increase I end up paying.
I don't know how long they typically take, but if it was more than a few days, I might get antsy. But if it is not until November, with all that is going on, they are probably dealing with more immediate situations first.

Second, your train might not actually be cancelled. They might be adjusting the schedule slightly for some reason, and in a few days you will get a mysterious email that says your trip has been re-booked from train 123 to train 123 (same train number) in the same seat (if it's Acela or another train with assigned seating) and the same departure and arrival times. This has happened to me several times. In the rare case where I've dug into it, I've found that they changed the arrival or departure of some intermediate stop by a few minutes (or even close to an hour on a transcontinental trip) but it had no effect on my trip. If I had checked in the middle, I might have seen it cancelled.

Third, if they really have cancelled your train, they should (and always do, unless they've totally screwed up) book you on another train the same day or the same train on a different day at the same price. It shouldn't cost you anything extra (except maybe lost time and inconvenience.) If your cancelled trip is part of a multi-segment connection, they should also re-book any missed connections for you at no increased cost.
 

saxpower

Train Attendant
Joined
May 26, 2022
Messages
39
Location
Wilmington, DE
I finally gave in and called. Took two tries. The first time, I was under the impression Customer Relations was open for a few hours after business hours and called just after 5 (Eastern). I asked for Customer Relations,was transferred and heard the repeated message that agent are still busy, and you could always e-mail us. I finally realized my error after about a half-hour. Why the Customer Relations line didn't put on a message saying they are closed, who knows. (It also raises the issue of what customers who cannot call during the work day are to get in touch with CR are supposed to do)

Called back the next day. After about an hour of combined hold time (Hold to get the first agent plus much longer hold for Customer Relations), someone finally answered. The person I spoke to was quite pleasant, helpful, and efficient and had me rebooked in less than five minutes. The shame is, as I was fuming while waiting, I kept thinking "this should just take about five minutes". If the CR line were adaqately staffed so I could get to the agent quickly, I'd be quite pleased with the experience. Instead, I was frustrated with the wait. As another member assurred me, no problem taking a train with the same service but higher fare.

The website says if Amtrak cancels, you can rebook online- which is true, but the system does not recognize the modification of your schedule is not of your own choosing, and only lists the current (in this case, higher) fares of other trains. I would think if your train is cancelled, Amtrak could set up the system so a button/link comes up that takes you to a list of the trains you can rebook on at the original price.

And I just have to say- being told every 70 seconds or so (I timed it) that the agents were still busy and being asked if I knew I could e-mail Cutomer Relations from the website drove me nuts. Ended up yelling into the phone "I know I can e-mail you. You've told me 20 times already"! Unfortunately, the recorded voice didn't respond. (Its one of my pet peeves waiting on hold- being told repeatedly you can do alot of your business online and avoid waiting on hold. Yes, I know. For some reason, I want or need to speak to a human being).
 

trimetbusfan

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 27, 2021
Messages
101
Location
Portland
I finally gave in and called. Took two tries. The first time, I was under the impression Customer Relations was open for a few hours after business hours and called just after 5 (Eastern). I asked for Customer Relations,was transferred and heard the repeated message that agent are still busy, and you could always e-mail us. I finally realized my error after about a half-hour. Why the Customer Relations line didn't put on a message saying they are closed, who knows. (It also raises the issue of what customers who cannot call during the work day are to get in touch with CR are supposed to do)

Called back the next day. After about an hour of combined hold time (Hold to get the first agent plus much longer hold for Customer Relations), someone finally answered. The person I spoke to was quite pleasant, helpful, and efficient and had me rebooked in less than five minutes. The shame is, as I was fuming while waiting, I kept thinking "this should just take about five minutes". If the CR line were adaqately staffed so I could get to the agent quickly, I'd be quite pleased with the experience. Instead, I was frustrated with the wait. As another member assurred me, no problem taking a train with the same service but higher fare.

The website says if Amtrak cancels, you can rebook online- which is true, but the system does not recognize the modification of your schedule is not of your own choosing, and only lists the current (in this case, higher) fares of other trains. I would think if your train is cancelled, Amtrak could set up the system so a button/link comes up that takes you to a list of the trains you can rebook on at the original price.

And I just have to say- being told every 70 seconds or so (I timed it) that the agents were still busy and being asked if I knew I could e-mail Cutomer Relations from the website drove me nuts. Ended up yelling into the phone "I know I can e-mail you. You've told me 20 times already"! Unfortunately, the recorded voice didn't respond. (Its one of my pet peeves waiting on hold- being told repeatedly you can do alot of your business online and avoid waiting on hold. Yes, I know. For some reason, I want or need to speak to a human being).
FYI, I don’t think you have to talk to guest relations to process a reservation change. The regular reservation agents or the AGR agents would be able to make this change as well for you.

I say this because a few months ago I had something similar happen to me. App showed ‘canceled’. Called guest rewards, they picked up within 15 mins, very friendly agent processed the change almost immediately.
 
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