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Bought Two auto train tickets, other person can't come, can I use


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#1 Guest_Joe_*

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 07:13 PM

Hello Everyone. Thanks in advance for any advice or info.

 

Okay, so I'm going to be traveling on the Auto Train. I purchased two coach tickets, one for me and one for my daughter. If my daughter is unable to travel would they let me keep the extra seat so I can stretch out because of my bad back? Or do I lose the seat and my money?

 

Thanks so much for your help!

 

 

 

 



#2 Thirdrail7

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 09:18 PM

I'm thinking this is one of those "subjective" areas.

 

The service standard manual (obtained by the FOIA) takes this position:

 

 

4. Coach
a) Each Coach seat reservation entitles passengers
to occupy only one seat per person.
b) An additional seat may be reserved for a Service
Assistance Animal accompanying a blind, deaf or
mobility-impaired person at no charge.
c) A passenger who requires two seats due to a
disability, including obesity caused by a disability,
a leg in a cast, a hip operation, may book two
seats and pay only one fare.
d) A passenger who requires two seats due to size
alone, not caused by a disability, may book two
seats but must pay the lowest applicable fare for
both seats.
e) A passenger cannot book two seats simply
because they do not want anyone sitting next to
them.
If the train is full, it is very hard to explain
to standing passengers why that empty seat cannot
be used.

 

 

You could argue that you didn't book two seats for this purpose and that your daughter did not show. However, there is nothing really stopping anyone from occupying the seat next to you.   You'll have wasted your money.

 

Additionally, if the train is light and no one sits next to you, your money will have been wasted.

 

I'd try for the refund which may actually turn into a voucher.


Edited by Thirdrail7, 02 April 2018 - 09:18 PM.

They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#3 cpotisch

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 10:16 PM

Do you recall if you chose a 'Saver', 'Value', or 'Flexible' fare?

You can go here for info on the refund and voucher options for the different fares. Depending on the fare, you could be entitled to an e-voucher, full refund, or reduced refund. Whatever fare you chose, I would recommend waiting until as close in as is permitted before cancelling your daughter's ticket. But don't count on them letting you hold onto that seat for extra space if she's a no-show.


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#4 Lonestar648

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 10:20 PM

OK, if you check with your app or bar code scan, don't say you are by yourself, the system will check in two individuals.  This is important so the other ticket isn't a no show.  If you are given your seats, with out anyone know you are alone, then maybe they mark your two seats as taken.  Since the AT makes no stops, once you are on and everyone is settled you should be fine.  Of course if the load is lite like Thirdrail7 said, you have wasted you money.  


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#5 pennyk

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 07:21 AM

OK, if you check with your app or bar code scan, don't say you are by yourself, the system will check in two individuals.  This is important so the other ticket isn't a no show.  If you are given your seats, with out anyone know you are alone, then maybe they mark your two seats as taken.  Since the AT makes no stops, once you are on and everyone is settled you should be fine.  Of course if the load is lite like Thirdrail7 said, you have wasted you money.  

Last time I rode the Auto Train, seat assignments were given at check in.  I doubt an agent in the station would assign 2 seats to one individual even though he has an additional ticket for a "no show."  I would follow the advice of Thirdrail7.


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#6 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 01:26 PM

thanks for the tips, links and advice. much appreciated



#7 Guest_JKT_*

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:11 PM

Actually on the AT you have a pretty good chance of sitting alone if the train is off peak. I have travelled about 6 times in the past year and have always been able to sit alone. I have even seen people traveling together seated together then spread out to separate single seats opposite each other. Peak season like going N/B now is another story. One of the main reasons I take it over the Silver Service when I am going alone.



#8 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:20 AM

e) A passenger cannot book two seats simply
because they do not want anyone sitting next to
them. If the train is full, it is very hard to explain
to standing passengers why that empty seat cannot
be used.


Out of all the bizarre Amtrak SOP nonsense I've encountered over the years this explanation might be the most confusing of them all. I'd love to hear Amtrak's (apparently much easier) explanation for why they would willingly overbook and overboard a fully reserved passenger train or why single passengers would be prevented from buying two seats only to be shoved into a shared loveseat contraption with another stranger and no dividers. I've seen Amtrak staff casually berate and ridicule coach customers over any number of other inquiries so I'm not sure why this particular situation is considered beyond their abilities. It honestly sounds like this rule was originally meant to apply to packed commuter trains but somehow ended up being applied to all trains nationwide despite the fact that it makes little or no sense on most LD trains.

.


#9 the_traveler

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 11:02 AM

If you buy a monthly pass (I am not certain about multi-ride tickets), you can board a train without a reservation. And if so, and (s)he sees an empty seat next to you, how are you going to explain that it is occupied and they must stand in the aisle.
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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!

#10 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 11:06 AM

If you buy a monthly pass (I am not certain about multi-ride tickets), you can board a train without a reservation. And if so, and (s)he sees an empty seat next to you, how are you going to explain that it is occupied and they must stand in the aisle.


There's a monthly pass for the Auto-Train? I understand why this rule/explanation exists for busy commuter corridors. What I do not and cannot understand is why this rule/explanation exists for fully reserved long distance trains.

.


#11 PVD

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 11:19 AM

Also, the auto train ( different case from almost any other route, no intermediate stops) is often very busy in one direction compared to the other. Maybe almost full vs very light. Some LD trains to have heavy loading for portioms of their routes, may of which overlap corridors. But I still contend that it would be unfair for a passenger to buy a discount seat for their comfort, and a real passenger is potentially forced to pay a higher price to occupy a seat because lower bucket tickets are gone.  


Edited by PVD, 06 April 2018 - 11:33 AM.

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#12 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 12:09 PM

Also, the auto train ( different case from almost any other route, no intermediate stops) is often very busy in one direction compared to the other. Maybe almost full vs very light. Some LD trains to have heavy loading for portioms of their routes, may of which overlap corridors. But I still contend that it would be unfair for a passenger to buy a discount seat for their comfort, and a real passenger is potentially forced to pay a higher price to occupy a seat because lower bucket tickets are gone.  

 

How is it fair for a single coach passenger to be denied even the most minimal privacy (like an armrest or other divider) on an overnight trip? Amtrak creates a problem (lack of privacy in coach) and then exacerbates the problem by refusing to honor multiple tickets.  Either provide some minimal privacy for every seat or allow people who need or desire privacy to buy and use two seats.  But no, they can't do either of those things because it's "very hard" to explain an empty seat on a reserved train but apparently much easier to explain why you were spooned or drooled on by a stinky stranger in the night.  It makes no sense.


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#13 PVD

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 02:23 PM

They have an answer for those who want privacy on LD trains, it's called a roomette. Whether or not you want to pay for it is another matter entirely.



#14 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 03:45 PM

They have an answer for those who want privacy on LD trains, it's called a roomette. Whether or not you want to pay for it is another matter entirely.

 

Just book a sleeper.  Our forum's irrational low effort answer to nearly any coach related complaint.  Extra points for including a pointless and snobby retort on the end.


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#15 jebr

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 04:16 PM

Whether or not you want to pay for it is another matter entirely.

 

So then that person, since they can't afford a roomette (or don't want to pay for it) and they can't pay for two seats, decides just to drive. Now Amtrak gets $0 instead of 2x coach fare to transport one passenger. That seems to be an even more unwise move for Amtrak.

 

For a fully reserved train without passholders, there should be no reason that 2 seats next to each other can't be sold. An oversell situation should be handled as it is currently (directing short-haul passengers to the cafe or lounge car until seats open up.) Even with passholders, Amtrak could tell passholders that they'll need to sit in the cafe car as someone has purchased the two seats outright. As far as I'm aware, passholders aren't entitled to a seat, simply passage on the train.


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#16 Ryan

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 04:57 PM

If you buy a monthly pass (I am not certain about multi-ride tickets), you can board a train without a reservation. And if so, and (s)he sees an empty seat next to you, how are you going to explain that it is occupied and they must stand in the aisle.

There's a monthly pass for the Auto-Train? I understand why this rule/explanation exists for busy commuter corridors. What I do not and cannot understand is why this rule/explanation exists for fully reserved long distance trains.

Nope.

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#17 PVD

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 05:02 PM

The general public subsidizes every person's travel on Amtrak to varying degrees. My point is that it is harder to sell the public on paying for a seat unoccupied for the benefit of a solo traveler, than for the subsidization of the operation in general. You are certainly entitled to your view of coach travel, but I am not of the opinion that your proposed solution would be beneficial to the system as a whole. I do not think it it is a good business practice to offer too many different service offerings to try and please everybody. It rarely works on this scale.

A more sophisticated ticketing and reservation system would allow this,  which might make sense: allow the reservation for an empty seat, with the system able to override and refund the "empty" if an actual passenger wanted to buy it. 


Edited by PVD, 06 April 2018 - 05:15 PM.


#18 the_traveler

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 06:13 PM

[quote name="Devil's Advocate" post="747886" timestamp="1523034559"]How is it fair for a single coach passenger to be denied even the most minimal privacy (like an armrest or other divider) on an overnight trip? Amtrak creates a problem (lack of privacy in coach) and then exacerbates the problem by refusing to honor multiple tickets.  Either provide some minimal privacy for every seat or allow people who need or desire privacy to buy and use two seats.  But no, they can't do either of those things because it's "very hard" to explain an empty seat on a reserved train but apparently much easier to explain why you were spooned or drooled on by a stinky stranger in the night.  It makes no sense.[/quote]
Amtrak did?:huh: That is news to me!

So I guess all those 100+ year old railcars that I see in Rail Museums across the country must all be reproductions. I had never saw an armrest on the bench seats, and since Amtrak created the problem and Amtrak is less than 50 years old, those 100 year old cars had to be reproduced - they can not be original!:o

Edited by the_traveler, 06 April 2018 - 06:17 PM.

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!

#19 SarahZ

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 06:32 PM

The general public subsidizes every person's travel on Amtrak to varying degrees. My point is that it is harder to sell the public on paying for a seat unoccupied for the benefit of a solo traveler, than for the subsidization of the operation in general. 

 

Not really. People are in full support of making obese people pay for two seats on a plane. (And before you I assume I disagree with that policy, let me assure you I happily pay for two seats because I don't like touching other people any more than they like touching me.)

 

If I, an obese person, want to pay for two seats on Amtrak, I should be not only allowed to but encouraged to. As it stands, you can only buy two adjoining seats if you are handicapped in some way or "obese due to a medical condition". I don't understand how Amtrak would verify the latter, to be honest.

 

So, I've been driving to Chicago for the past year or so. Business Class has larger, more comfortable seats (plus the dividers), but the cost is absolutely ridiculous between Kalamazoo and Chicago, and it's sold out 99% of the time.

 

If I'm really desperate to take the train, I buy a coach seat and hope it isn't packed. If it is, I sort of perch myself along the arm rest and tell the panicked window seat passenger that I'm not planning on staying for the entire trip. Once the conductor puts the seat check above my seat, I head to the cafe car and sit in a booth until we reach Chicago/Kalamazoo.


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#20 SarahZ

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 06:38 PM

There's a monthly pass for the Auto-Train? I understand why this rule/explanation exists for busy commuter corridors. What I do not and cannot understand is why this rule/explanation exists for fully reserved long distance trains.

 

 

I'd put "reserved regionals" in there along with LD trains.

 

There is no need for a conductor to have to explain why a seat is empty when the entire train is reserved. If a passenger books both seats, the conductor simply puts a seat check up for both seats with the passenger's destination written on both.

 

I see empty seats with seat checks on the Wolverine all the time. People go to the bathroom, hang out in the cafe car, decide to walk up and down the train to soothe their baby, etc. You just move on and find a seat that doesn't have a check above it.

 

I can see how this would be a huge issue with unreserved trains, but with reserved trains, it doesn't make sense that they don't allow it.


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