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Bringing alcohol on board?


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#1 Guest_Suthernr_*

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 04:47 PM

First timer. Planning a weekend birthday trip from Jackson, MS to New Orleans. Friends have always said you could bring a cooler of "adult beverages" on board for the trip, but I don't understand the working on Amtrak site. Is this still the case? And yes, everyone is well beyond "legal drinking age." Thanks.

#2 zephyr17

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 04:59 PM

First timer. Planning a weekend birthday trip from Jackson, MS to New Orleans. Friends have always said you could bring a cooler of "adult beverages" on board for the trip, but I don't understand the working on Amtrak site. Is this still the case? And yes, everyone is well beyond "legal drinking age." Thanks.

You can bring and consume alcoholic beverages in a sleeping car room, provided you hold a valid ticket for the room. Otherwise, no. The conductor has the right to throw you off the train if he catches you consuming your own stash anywhere but in a room. And if you give him lip in the process, you may get thrown off into the hands of the local police.

As far as I know, no consumption of personal alcohol other than in rooms has always been the policy. Certain conductors on certain runs have been known to look the other way, but in other places with other people the policy is rigorously enforced.

I am pretty sure you can bring a sealed (new) bottle of booze on board, though, as long as you don't open it and consume some.

You can read the policy for yourself here:
http://www.amtrak.co...d=1241267362031

Edited by zephyr17, 31 August 2010 - 06:21 PM.

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#3 BeckysBarn

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:28 PM

Even though that is a little more than a 4 hour trip, you could get a bedroom for 3 people. This would include lunch for all 3 & you'd be able to have your adult beverages, too. If there will be just 2 of you, a roomette would fit the bill.
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#4 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:22 PM

You can bring and consume alcoholic beverages in a sleeping car room, provided you hold a valid ticket for the room.


Just to emphasize, you have to all be a sleeper passengers. Coach (or Business Class) passengers can never.

#5 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:42 PM

I always drink myself to sleep on overnight coach with my own liquor. As long as you are discrete about it they probably won't even know.

#6 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:39 PM

Yes, the rules say no personal drinking for folks in coach. However, so long as you are discrete about it and do not act noisy or rude or mess with the other passengers or cause the staff any problems you're likely to left alone. Just don't let any goody-goody zealot types see you imbibing or they might freak out and report you before following in the conductor's footsteps to make sure you're hassled and possibly kicked off. Seriously, teetotaler passengers are the primary issue, not the largely indifferent staff. I generally ride in sleepers these days but I know a thing or two about how coach works. The same principle applies to coach class on airlines. Long gone are the days when international travel included free booze in classy glass bottles. :(

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#7 spacecadet

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 10:23 PM

Long gone are the days when international travel included free booze in classy glass bottles. :(


Depends on the airline :)

As for alcohol on the train, I have drunk it in coach but the problem is it doesn't sound like the OP is planning to really want to be "discrete" about it. A cooler full of beverages, for "everyone" (which sounds like more than several people) in his/her birthday party.

I'm all for personal freedoms and have argued against the nanny-ization of Amtrak here just recently, but where I draw the line is at the point where it starts to really affect other people. I don't think I'd want to be in a coach full of a birthday party's worth of people enjoying a cooler full of alcohol. That's something you do either in a walled-off area of some kind or in the great outdoors, where you're not subjecting others who are captive to the same area to your drunken boisterousness. It's not as if other passengers can just get up and move. (Nor should they have to.)

I have seen people bring their own alcohol to the lounge car and the conductor looks the other way, and I don't think anyone would really have a problem with that. But I still think it's probably a matter of degree. I've seen people bring one bottle of wine (in fact, I think I've done that too), I've never seen anyone bring an entire cooler full.

#8 WICT106

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 12:57 AM

I concur with Spacecadet, here. The prohibitions against passengers bringing their own booze aboard exist for good reasons- There are some train crew who will not tolerate any sort of foolishness or drunkenness aboard the train, and they will throw people off. Too many train trips have been ruined by someone who has decided to imbibe too much. it would be slightly better if you were to go to the lounge car, and purchase what you wanted there.
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#9 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 02:39 AM

Depends on the airline :)

Touche. Among US airlines the last two I was aware of were Northwest (gone) and United (merging). Neither airline advertised this "perk" for coach passengers anymore and it was only active on transpacific flights as I recall. I'm under the impression it was meant to be a double-standard where folks who were familiar with Asian airlines wouldn't be declined a free drink but folks who were only familiar with domestic airlines probably wouldn't ask for one. Generally the service is better on Asian airlines but US airlines have better coach seating for tall folks like me, although on United it generally requires an additional fee. On Asian airlines I sometimes need to sit in the exit seats which can be a bit of a bother depending on the airline. Regardless of the carrier I prefer to carry my own spirits aboard as the airlines rarely stock my preferences anymore. The TSA doesn't seem to care about single shot bottles and today's indifferent flight attendants don't seem to remember who ordered what anymore. Of course there are authority suck-ups who can't stand the idea of someone getting away with breaking any rule. Technically it's an FAA rule that you only drink alcohol sold by the airline, but that's only because the FAA has agreed to rubber-stamp and elevate every airline alcohol rule into an FAA rule. It's absurd. The FAA says it's OK to drink your own liquor on airlines that don't care but somehow it's not OK to drink your own liquor on airlines that would rather insist you buy their drinks instead. Originally the FAA only expected that the flight attendants serve you, whether from your source or theirs. That stipulation made sense to me but this rubber-stamp baloney makes no sense at all and only serves to push people to drink covertly and possibly hide their potential for disruptive behavior until it's too late.

I concur with Spacecadet, here. The prohibitions against passengers bringing their own booze aboard exist for good reasons- There are some train crew who will not tolerate any sort of foolishness or drunkenness aboard the train, and they will throw people off. Too many train trips have been ruined by someone who has decided to imbibe too much. it would be slightly better if you were to go to the lounge car, and purchase what you wanted there.

Apparently they tolerate some foolishness so long as it's contained in the sleeper. Much like airlines have long tolerated far more disruptive behavior in first and business class than they do in coach.

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#10 RyanS

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 07:22 AM

With good reason, it's a lot easier to tolerate someone else's foolishness when it's confined to an enclosed room.
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#11 dlagrua

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:13 AM

If you must you can put the adult beverages in soda bottles and drink that way, For instance a Sangria will look right at home in a Cherry soda bottle, hard lemonade in a lemon sode bottle. However, for four hours the drinking should be able to wait.

#12 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:31 AM

If you must you can put the adult beverages in soda bottles and drink that way, For instance a Sangria will look right at home in a Cherry soda bottle, hard lemonade in a lemon sode bottle. However, for four hours the drinking should be able to wait.


Somehow, I think a group of friends in coach, having an overly good time drinking "cherry soda" would still draw attention to themselves.

Though the OP didn't go this way, IMHO, if a person traveling alone in coach feels they just have a hard drink, has some serious problems (ie, "drinking alone").
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#13 rile42

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 10:28 AM

I've oftened wondered how a conductor would know if the adult beverage sitting on my tray at my coach seat was bought in the lounge car or was brought on board by me. Of course, another passenger might tip them off if they see me, discreetly take it out of a piece of luggage I guess. But, a cooler full of beverages would be a dead give-away. On my last trip between CLE and WAS, I used a tomato juice bottle to transport some Bloody Marys. One or two of those sure started the morning off well for me and my friend. Of course, we are close to senior citizen status so behavior might not be an issue. :D
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#14 spacecadet

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 11:42 AM

Touche. Among US airlines the last two I was aware of were Northwest (gone) and United (merging). Neither airline advertised this "perk" for coach passengers anymore and it was only active on transpacific flights as I recall. I'm under the impression it was meant to be a double-standard where folks who were familiar with Asian airlines wouldn't be declined a free drink but folks who were only familiar with domestic airlines probably wouldn't ask for one. Generally the service is better on Asian airlines but US airlines have better coach seating for tall folks like me, although on United it generally requires an additional fee. On Asian airlines I sometimes need to sit in the exit seats which can be a bit of a bother depending on the airline.


Going OT, but I usually fly ANA to Japan and while their service changes recently have probably been a net loss, they do still offer free wine in half-size bottles. They don't walk around with it anymore like they used to, but you can order it with the drink service or really at any time if you just buzz the flight attendant. They've also changed the seats now to the slide-forward kind, so they give you more seat pitch to begin with, but then if you "recline" you lose most of that. I almost always get an exist row or a bulkhead, though, so I don't have to worry about it. (Never taking the bulkhead again, though, after my last trip. It's exit row or nothing.)

Anyway, I am not against drinking in coach on Amtrak, I just think there's a difference between having a drink to relax (appropriate) and having a party (not appropriate).

#15 OlympianHiawatha

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:24 PM

I know "Amwine" purchased or won during the wine tastings on some of the LD trains is fair game and may be consumed anywhere on the train, even in the Diner where if you bring in your bottle, they will set up and cork for you. Of course strutting through the PDX Coaches on the Builder slinging a bottle of wine does get some looks, especially when a big group comes back from the wine tasting loaded to the gunwales with booty :)

#16 caravanman

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 06:12 PM

Hi,
I am not sure what Amtrak is trying to achieve with their no private booze for coach passengers rule? If, as a coach passenger I go to the cafe car and purchase 8 cans of Bud, or bring 8 cans onboard with me, what is the difference?.. Other than giving Amtrak a huge profit with their inflated beer prices?
I can see they don't want a train full of drunks, but then why sell alcohol on board?

Cheers,

Eddie :cool:

Edited by caravanman, 01 September 2010 - 06:13 PM.


#17 Eric S

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 06:42 PM

Hi,
I am not sure what Amtrak is trying to achieve with their no private booze for coach passengers rule? If, as a coach passenger I go to the cafe car and purchase 8 cans of Bud, or bring 8 cans onboard with me, what is the difference?.. Other than giving Amtrak a huge profit with their inflated beer prices?
I can see they don't want a train full of drunks, but then why sell alcohol on board?

Cheers,

Eddie Posted Image


Not that they always do a good job of it, but by only "allowing" consumption of alcohol purchased onboard the train, Amtrak employees can observe and limit the amount consumed by each person.

#18 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 06:48 PM

Anyway, I am not against drinking in coach on Amtrak, I just think there's a difference between having a drink to relax (appropriate) and having a party (not appropriate).

Agreed.

If, as a coach passenger I go to the cafe car and purchase 8 cans of Bud, or bring 8 cans onboard with me, what is the difference?. Other than giving Amtrak a huge profit with their inflated beer prices?

I think you already nailed it. If they really cared about keeping people sober they probably shouldn't be serving alcohol. I suppose they can keep a better eye on you if you are forced to buy from them, in theory anyway, but in actual practice I've yet to see them decline to serve anyone where I ride. Maybe I just don't spend enough time in the diner or lounge to see people being actively refused. My personal guess is that most of those passengers who prefer to drink on their own are generally discrete enough about it avoid attention. Unless and until they're smashed and then they get handed over to the local police at the next stop. What happens after that I have no idea. I'm guessing large fines, forfeiture of their ticket, and a police record that permanently sours future job prospects.

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#19 RyanS

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 07:16 PM

Maybe I just don't spend enough time in the diner or lounge to see people being actively refused.

Pretty much, yeah.
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#20 jmbgeg

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:14 PM


Maybe I just don't spend enough time in the diner or lounge to see people being actively refused.

Pretty much, yeah.


I seem to remember posts about passengers who rraised a fuss when they were cut off by Amtrak staff for being over the limit, and were promptly involuntarily detrained.
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