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Can you use a flexible ticket on a different train?


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#1 Guest_Karen_*

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:44 PM

I am about to book tickets for a trip from Poughkeepsie to Penn Station (NYC) in April.  I am not sure whether we will be able to make the 1:10 departure from Poughkeepsie, and there is another train departing at 2:10.  If I purchase the "Flexible" fare, can I use the ticket on either train?

 

Would it be more prudent to purchase a ticket for the 2:10 train and try to use it on the 1:10 if we get to the station in time?

 

Any advice appreciated!

 

Thanks



#2 Train2104

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:02 PM

Tickets are only valid on the train listed, regardless of class.

 

You could buy both and cancel the one you don't use for a voucher, as soon as you know you can/can't make it on time.

 

Or, just take Metro-North to avoid this.



#3 BCL

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 04:05 PM

Flexible fare is more like Amtrak's version of an airlines "Y-class" economy fare.  It just means you pay more, but have full flexibility to miss the train and request a full cash refund.

 

If you take another train, you're supposed to rebook.  The fare may be different or the train sold out.

 

It may be different on an "unreserved" train, where I've seen an option for flexible fare.  But with those routes it's possible to use any unused ticket to ride another train with some caveats.  If there's a discount involved, the other ride would need to be within the restrictions for the discount.



#4 the_traveler

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 04:16 PM

On reserved trains, tickets are only valid for that specific train. On unreserved trains, tickets are valid for any train. Those trains from Poughkeepsie are reserved trains!

Prior to the 1:10 departure time, if you will not make that train, you can cancel your reservation (even if it's not the flexible fare) and ask that the amount paid to be applied to the new ticket. However, the new train's fare may be more, the same or even less! (Each train is priced separately based on sales for that specific train.)
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#5 BCL

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:07 PM

Tickets are only valid on the train listed, regardless of class.


Amtrak has a few exceptions, but not for the OP's case. Multi-ride tickets can often be used on different trains between the same two points, even if the train is otherwise sold-out. Unreserved routes were mentioned.

One of the big exceptions is that Capitol Corridor (and associated connecting buses) can be used on San Joaquin trains between Martinez and Oakland. I've tried it out myself.

#6 Guest_Karen_*

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:55 PM

So I bought Value tickets on the 2:10.  Poughkeepsie only has a Quik-Trak Kiosk, not a ticket agent.  If we get there in time for the 1:10, I understand I will have to pay a 20% penalty ($9) but how exactly would I change the ticket.  Using the machine?  Calling a phone number?

 

Thanks!

 

 



#7 Guest_Karen_*

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:49 PM

If I also buy Value tickets for the 1:10, assuming I'd be requesting a refund (less 20%) for one of the trips, then I could ensure I'm not paying more than the value fare plus 20%. And not be stick paying an even larger Flexible fare.

Is that logical reasoning? If I don't use one of the trains' tickets can I get a full refund after the fact (less 20%)?

I won't have any use for a credit, since I never use Amtrak, I'd definitely want a refund.

Thanks!

#8 the_traveler

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:57 AM

Using a cell phone or pay phone (are those still around :huh: ), you can call 1-800-USA-RAIL. Tell the agent that you want the value to be applied to the new ticket.

Are you certain those are the departure times from Poughkeepsie? :huh: I see different times listed from Poughkeepsie, but near those times from Yonkers!
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#9 BCL

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:45 PM

Your best option would be to book your tickets attached to an account with Amtrak. If you have a device with internet access, you can make modifications to an active reservation, including changing to a different train.

A refund request must be made before your reservation is declared a no-show.

#10 Guest_Karen_*

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:42 PM

Thank you BCL. I see how to change the ticket on my phone app, where the tickets are shown. That looks easy enough, I'll just keep the one set of tix for the 2:10 and change via app if we manage to get there early. The station info on the Amtrak site says we should arrive 30 min prior departure. If we don't get there until, say, 15 min before departure, would I still be allowed to request a change to my ticket? How far in advance do you really have to arrive for a train?

Yes the_traveler, the departure times are 1:10 and 2:10, on a Saturday. Maybe there different trains on weekdays?

#11 the_traveler

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:16 PM

Unlike an airport, you do not have to "check in" for a train. At some stations (like Washington), they close the gates a few minutes before departure. Poughkeepsie is not one of those.

As long as you're aboard before the Conductor yells "All Aboard" and the doors are closed, it's enough time. I would not advise it, but I was once pulling in the parking lot as the train pulled in - and I made the train!:) If not checking bags, I think 10-15 minutes early is plenty of time.
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#12 BCL

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:55 PM

Thank you BCL. I see how to change the ticket on my phone app, where the tickets are shown. That looks easy enough, I'll just keep the one set of tix for the 2:10 and change via app if we manage to get there early. The station info on the Amtrak site says we should arrive 30 min prior departure. If we don't get there until, say, 15 min before departure, would I still be allowed to request a change to my ticket? How far in advance do you really have to arrive for a train?

Yes the_traveler, the departure times are 1:10 and 2:10, on a Saturday. Maybe there different trains on weekdays?

 

I wouldn't rely on it, but I have seen conductors who have allowed passengers to board a train without a valid ticket, as long as the passenger would buy a ticket on board using an electronic device.  This was at a station with Quik-Trak, and the passenger could have bought a ticket from the conductor with a penalty, but buying it from the Amtrak website saved the surcharge.  It might be possible to board the train then modify it if tickets are available.  I don't know how possible it is to do on a reserved train though.  I've seen it done on Capitol Corridor, although generally a ticket on that route can always be used on an earlier or later train by definition.  I don't have a whole lot of experience modifying a ticket given the route I use, although I have done it a few times well ahead of the train.

 

You should have the option of modifying your reserved coach ticket until such time that you're declared a no-show.  The issue I would see with modifying to an earlier train is whether or not the tickets are sold out or past a point where they're no longer available.  I've checked before out of curiosity, and sometimes tickets are still listed as available even after the train has left the station.





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