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Seat assignments (Acela pilot Feb 2018)


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#41 Hal

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 10:56 AM

 

Amtrak should have it set up so you choose your seat in advance.  End of story.  It would simplify everything. 

 

For me, I like to bring my kids on trips. Sometimes 2 kids. Sometimes even 5 kids.  Its always important to me to make sure we are all sitting together.  Sure, "choosing a seat in advance" may solve that problem, but it also might mean that by the time I go to pick the seats, there will be nothing left but random aisle seats.

 

I don't count on the conductor to "let groups with children board first" since that almost never happens. I try to board at terminal points, and be first in line.

 

 

The best thing to do if you have 2 kids or 5 kids is have a Red Cap pre board your family group. 

 

I don't think seat assignments will simplify everything. It will just create a different set of isues for people to whine about. 



#42 jis

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 11:16 AM

But if you happen to book early to get low fares you will get your five seats together with seat assignment, and once you have them they are guaranteed to remain so. I know the rest of the stupid world has figured it out. It might take the geniuses in the exceptional US of A, who have taken a world class passenger railroad system and basically run it into the ground over half a century or more a while yet to rediscover the obvious. :D

Edited by jis, 22 November 2015 - 11:19 AM.


#43 SarahZ

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 11:38 AM

But if you happen to book early to get low fares you will get your five seats together with seat assignment, and once you have them they are guaranteed to remain so. I know the rest of the stupid world has figured it out. It might take the geniuses in the exceptional US of A, who have taken a world class passenger railroad system and basically run it into the ground over half a century or more a while yet to rediscover the obvious. :D

 

Seriously. This is no different than families who wait until the last minute to book airline tickets. You either deal with being split up, or you ask strangers if they would be so kind as to switch seats so you can sit together.


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#44 Thirdrail7

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 01:05 PM

 

 

Amtrak should have it set up so you choose your seat in advance.  End of story.  It would simplify everything. 

 

For me, I like to bring my kids on trips. Sometimes 2 kids. Sometimes even 5 kids.  Its always important to me to make sure we are all sitting together.  Sure, "choosing a seat in advance" may solve that problem, but it also might mean that by the time I go to pick the seats, there will be nothing left but random aisle seats.

 

I don't count on the conductor to "let groups with children board first" since that almost never happens. I try to board at terminal points, and be first in line.

 

 

The best thing to do if you have 2 kids or 5 kids is have a Red Cap pre board your family group. 

 

I don't think seat assignments will simplify everything. It will just create a different set of isues for people to whine about. 

 

 

 

Indeed. This is one of the reasons it wasn't implemented. If you recall, the Acela sets were supposed to have assigned seating. After the passengers started rebelling, it was quickly shelved. Same goes for a few "medium" long distance trains. People didn't like being assigned to seats. A great deal of passengers consider open seating to be one of the marketable differences between the airlines and the rails.

 

When it comes up again, it will be for specific reason..which I obviously can't get into on this board.


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#45 Ryan

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 01:50 PM

When it comes up again, it will be for specific reason..which I obviously can't get into on this board.


ZOMG, Amtrak is going to start charging a premium for window seats!
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#46 jis

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 02:02 PM

There is no conflict between open seating and reserved assigned seating if the British or Japanese model is followed. A fixed number of seats in specific reserved assigned seating cars are offered for assigned seat reservation, sometimes even for an extra nominal reservation surcharge, thus making the car sort of a Premium car, where you pay the premium to get into it and get an assigned seat, and you don;t get into it if you have not paid the premium. There are other cars with open seating. They go so far as to make the open seating cars really open, i.e. no reservation of any kind and if you luck is not good, you get to stand. The Japanese do this even on their Shinkansen, even on the higher speed Hikaris. only the ecclusive highest speed Nozomis are all all reserved. The French will happily sell you a reserved ticket on a TGV with no seat assignment, which usually means you get to sit on one of the drop down seats by the doors if the train is full. The Germans do not insist on any reservations on the ICE trains, but often, if you want to actually have a seat on a heavily booked train, it is better to have a reservation. ICE trains at heavy travel hours carry many standees.

 

But there are other case, though uncommon, of reserved open seating too, where you have to have a reservation to get in a particular car, but can sit wherever in that car.

 

If we wish to find a solution there is one. OTOH, if we just want to make up excuses for not doing something. There are many of those too. ;)



#47 Thirdrail7

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 02:16 PM


If we wish to find a solution there is one. OTOH, if we just want to make up excuses for not doing something. There are many of those too. ;)

 

Of course, there are plenty of people with solutions to problems that don't really exist.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 22 November 2015 - 02:16 PM.

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#48 jis

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 02:38 PM

Whether a problem exists or not is a matter of opinion. Just dismissing something by a wave a hand saying it does not exist is not a reasonable way to treat a possible problem that is being raised by some, unless of course one just wants to use ones imprimatur to force ones opinion on others ;) That does happen a lot when people think they are in a position of unassailable power all over the world, so it is not at all out of the ordinary. Indeed, it is almost expected from many. :P



#49 Thirdrail7

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Posted 22 November 2015 - 02:49 PM

Whether a problem exists or not is a matter of opinion. Just dismissing something by a wave a hand saying it does not exist is not a reasonable way to treat a possible problem that is being raised by some, unless of course one just wants to use ones imprimatur to force ones opinion on others ;) That does happen a lot when people think they are in a position of unassailable power all over the world, so it is not at all out of the ordinary. Indeed, it is almost expected from many. :P

 

Indeed. That is what makes this thread and board entertaining. Problems are often subjective. So are the "solutions," since they can often have unintended consequences for others since most people are concerned about 'their" point of view.

 

Some say assigned seating. Some say unreserved seating, Some say open seating. Some say no seating. The car is too hot, the car is too cold. The ride is too rough, the ride is just fine.

 

And the beat goes on.


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#50 Trollopian

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Posted 26 November 2015 - 11:24 PM

If I recall, on German and Austrian trains, a seat reservation (which you purchase separately from your travel reservation) is a "sitzplatz."  Pretty easy to translate.


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#51 neroden

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 12:28 PM

Indeed. This is one of the reasons it wasn't implemented. If you recall, the Acela sets were supposed to have assigned seating. After the passengers started rebelling, it was quickly shelved. Same goes for a few "medium" long distance trains. People didn't like being assigned to seats. A great deal of passengers consider open seating to be one of the marketable differences between the airlines and the rails.


There's something confused about this statement.

Nobody likes "being assigned to seats" by an arbitrary, unaccountable bureaucracy. Which is one form of assigned seating.

Everyone likes *picking their own seat*. Which is another form of assigned seating. This is what many airlines have done for a long time, with neat little diagrams of the airliner layout, so you can pick the exact seats you want. It incidentally encourages people to book earlier -- you get more choice of seats!

I would absolutely advise Amtrak to go with the *second* form of assigned seating. The first form is unwise.
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#52 HP_Lovecraft

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 01:06 PM

 

I would absolutely advise Amtrak to go with the *second* form of assigned seating. The first form is unwise.

 

 

But assigned seating tends to have the effect of making harder for groups of 2 or more to sit together.  and it also introduces a way for rail companies to charge extra for something.  and since trains have stops en route, you can not simple have an assigned seating system, it has to be a tiered system, which makes a simple operation very complicated.

 

 

In all the times I travelled on european trains, I never picked my own seats. 


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#53 Hal

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 01:32 PM

Indeed. This is one of the reasons it wasn't implemented. If you recall, the Acela sets were supposed to have assigned seating. After the passengers started rebelling, it was quickly shelved. Same goes for a few "medium" long distance trains. People didn't like being assigned to seats. A great deal of passengers consider open seating to be one of the marketable differences between the airlines and the rails.

There's something confused about this statement.

Nobody likes "being assigned to seats" by an arbitrary, unaccountable bureaucracy. Which is one form of assigned seating.

Everyone likes *picking their own seat*. Which is another form of assigned seating. This is what many airlines have done for a long time, with neat little diagrams of the airliner layout, so you can pick the exact seats you want. It incidentally encourages people to book earlier -- you get more choice of seats!

I would absolutely advise Amtrak to go with the *second* form of assigned seating. The first form is unwise.

I am waiting at the airport right now for a flight and there is no assigned seating. I get to pick my own seat on the plane. Southwest seems to do quite well with their system. And I never see any unfilled seats.


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#54 BCL

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Posted 27 November 2015 - 01:44 PM

 

Indeed. This is one of the reasons it wasn't implemented. If you recall, the Acela sets were supposed to have assigned seating. After the passengers started rebelling, it was quickly shelved. Same goes for a few "medium" long distance trains. People didn't like being assigned to seats. A great deal of passengers consider open seating to be one of the marketable differences between the airlines and the rails.


There's something confused about this statement.

Nobody likes "being assigned to seats" by an arbitrary, unaccountable bureaucracy. Which is one form of assigned seating.

Everyone likes *picking their own seat*. Which is another form of assigned seating. This is what many airlines have done for a long time, with neat little diagrams of the airliner layout, so you can pick the exact seats you want. It incidentally encourages people to book earlier -- you get more choice of seats!

I would absolutely advise Amtrak to go with the *second* form of assigned seating. The first form is unwise.

 

 

The airlines have also unnecessarily complicated things by charging a premium for window/aisle/exit-row seats.  It gets to the point where people start asking for trades with others who paid a premium to secure their seats.

 

Of course that's a matter of airlines having three seats across.  I wouldn't expect that Amtrak would charge a premium, although perhaps a charge for a selection.



#55 Cho Cho Charlie

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 09:53 AM

Everyone likes *picking their own seat*. Which is another form of assigned seating. This is what many airlines have done for a long time, with neat little diagrams of the airliner layout, so you can pick the exact seats you want. It incidentally encourages people to book earlier -- you get more choice of seats!


Are all of these suggestions simply moving the coach seating problem around?

Plan "A" has the conductor assign people to seats upon boarding. Plan "B" has the ticket agent assign people to seats upon sale. Plan "A" and plan "B" do nothing but change the location of seat assignment; they are still being assigned. If a passenger is unhappy because they need 8 seats all together, they simply have a different person to blame or argue with.

Plan "X" has the passenger choose their seats from those still available from a diagram upon booking. Plan "Y" has the passenger choose their seats from those still available upon entering the train. Plan "X" and plan "Y" do nothing to create additional available seats (in clumps of 8?) for the passenger who is unhappy because they need 8 seats together and such isn't currently available. Yea, with plan "X" they can book early, before others, but with plan "Y" they can arrive at the station early, before the others, too. Same problem just changing the time/when of seat assignment/selection.

Edited by Cho Cho Charlie, 28 November 2015 - 09:53 AM.

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#56 neroden

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:12 AM

Most people accept that the early reservation gets priority, which is why plan "X" creates the least complaint. All the others involve early reservation holders potentially getting shafted in favor of later reservers.
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#57 PVD

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:27 AM

Neroden is correct. Most reservation systems allow selection based on earlier gets first choice. Sometimes priority levels or fees apply to certain locations. That is their business model. Even open seating airlines like Southwest allow you to pay a fee to be in an earlier boarding group. And airlines have plans in place to deal with plane swaps, the aviation equivalent of swapping for a bad ordered car. Was on a twin aisle 767 that returned to airport after takeoff, substituted a  single aisle 757. Life went on.



#58 PVD

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:47 AM

It is not the job of a transportation carrier to make everyone happy. Every system will have some scenario where one group or another is put out. The trick is to minimize the inconvenience as often as possible, recognizing that it is not reasonable to think you can please everyone all the time. If you show up at the last minute with a group of 4-5, don't expect the other 50 people in a car to be pleased with getting re arranged to accomodate. Now you may be pleased, but someone else is not, even if they begrudgingly accept it and don't speak out and tolerate it.



#59 Seaboard92

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 11:44 AM

In my experience as a private car attendant. One of which was a former LD coach. I think it's better for the TA-C to do the assignments. We get our manifest in the morning and we can best assign our seats that way. Like we had two 8 person groups. Then a two and then two singles. In our dome. And downstairs we had three six groups several fours and almost no singles. And everyone wanted a window seat. But we're able to manage it better
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#60 BCL

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 12:25 PM

Neroden is correct. Most reservation systems allow selection based on earlier gets first choice. Sometimes priority levels or fees apply to certain locations. That is their business model. Even open seating airlines like Southwest allow you to pay a fee to be in an earlier boarding group. And airlines have plans in place to deal with plane swaps, the aviation equivalent of swapping for a bad ordered car. Was on a twin aisle 767 that returned to airport after takeoff, substituted a  single aisle 757. Life went on.


While that's the case now, I've flown international where many airlines charge extra for seat selection. The result is that most passengers don't get seats until checkin. I've also been on the same plane as large student group, and it's crazy with 60 kids and chaperones on a 747.

The traditional airline model was that one got a seat assignment at checkin, and of course that was before online or even automated kiosk options were available. If you wanted a better selection, you showed up at the airport early. That's not much different than some trains if you board at the origin. I got in line early for the CS and was one of the to get assigned a seat in my assigned car.




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