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2018 Discount Fares and Refund/Cancellation Fee Changes


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#141 Anderson

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 11:26 PM

Amtrak's practices aren't out of line with what you see on VIA (though even there, IIRC, you've still got a "full flex" sleeper fare), where you basically have "Escape" (Saver), the intermediate fare (Value), and the full flex fare (Flexible).  One thing this does trigger is a "push" towards Business Class, which is very much at odds with the pricing structure I saw in the UK.

Of course, this also in practice stands in opposition to the practices on most airlines, where usually flexible/refundable fares are also variable (roughly in line with the non-refundable fares).  For example, on JetBlue, the "refundable" fare is (IIRC) a pretty standardized $200 surcharge on whatever the prevailing "full" fare is.  If nothing else, doing this helps to time-differentiate some of the full-flex crowd (e.g. you don't want them to all become time-agnostic if you can "nudge" some of them to a lower-demand train, since [for example] you'd probably just assume bump some of them away from the 5PM Acela (which will sell out or close to it) and to the 7PM Acela (which might not be anywhere near to selling out).  I mean, it's fine to sell out that peak train, but all else being equal you'd probably rather fill seats on those other trains and still enable walk-up/last-minute sales if possible...especially since this is going to "push" some folks to full-flex tickets.

Edit: And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?"  I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.


Edited by Anderson, 24 March 2018 - 11:28 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#142 willem

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 12:10 PM

And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?"  I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.


Does the insurance pay the passenger who simply decides not to take the trip for whatever reason? Or does the insurance require one from a list of qualifying reasons for not traveling?



#143 niemi24s

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 03:06 PM

When I bought travel insurance from Travel Insured International, I asked the agent what reasons were covered under the most expensive "cancel for any reason" coverage.  I was told "Oh, a bad haircut would qualify".  So from that company, at least, "any reason" truly meant precisely that.  Less expensive coverages have more stringent qualifying causes.



#144 spinnaker

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 06:03 PM

The policy really should be based on availability.   If there are lost of spaces open then your cancellation really didn't mean much in costing them anything.    Or if they sell your spot AND the train is full, you should get 100% of your money back.   If you add you need to be paid with a voucher on top of all of that then they really don't loose any money. 

 

Amtrak really needs to be more flexible than other mods of transportation.  You are already dealing with inconvenient departure / arrival times (in many cases)  and restrictions on things like luggage (in many cases) .   They really need to become much more friendly  to passenger.


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#145 NorthShore

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 09:04 PM

So, if one wants to float value (at least on coach tickets), either make a reservation and cancel it forty five minutes later, or at least cancel it eight days in advance to preserve 100% value on a voucher?

#146 Anderson

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 03:27 AM

 

And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?"  I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.


Does the insurance pay the passenger who simply decides not to take the trip for whatever reason? Or does the insurance require one from a list of qualifying reasons for not traveling?

 

That is going to depend on the product...but I'd bet that the form of travel insurance that's being pushed on the Amtrak page doesn't offer this.

There is "cancel for any reason" coverage out there; part of the problem is that I think you have to cover the full "trip"...and the insurance gets more expensive with age, too.

(I think it's also fair to say that I resent having to do business with a third-party company in these transactions.)


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)




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