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#21 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:38 PM

 

 Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers. 
 

Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?

I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

 

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense. 

 

And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move. 


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#22 Northeastern292

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:39 PM

 

 Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers. 
 

Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?

I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

 

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense. 
 
And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move. 
Let's agree to disagree on the baggage deal.

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#23 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 02:46 PM

You disagree that it makes good business sense?  


Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

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#24 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:02 PM

You disagree that it makes good business sense?  

I would say it may make sense in some cases but not others. Out of the non-railfans I have talked to about travel on Amtrak, many have said one of the main benefits is the generous baggage allowance. I know it is not a one to one comparison, but as has been stated some airlines don't charge for check bags, because they feel as though a charge would reduce the demand to the point that profit decreases.
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#25 jrud

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:49 PM

Southwest Airlines does not charge for bags nor do they assign seats. And last time I checked they were doing just fine.

Im A-list on southwest so I am well aware.

Since they let those with status, or those who are willing to pay extra- first choice on seating their boarding process is quite fair. If I boarded a Sohthwest flight and a FA gave me an assigned seat that I had to sit in for some made up reason, I would choose to fly elsewhere.

Baggage is free on southwest and they advertise that fact against their competitors that do charge for baggage... Meaning there is a large advantage for them. If Amtrak chooses to heavily market the free luggage, that could also be a smart business move. Im guessing people smarter than me are researching what they think is best.

JetBlue also offers free luggage.

Given the fact that I watch many transportation oriented videos on YouTube, I am treated to Amtrak free baggage ads fairly often. Not traditional media but a potentially large audience.


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#26 PVD

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 04:02 PM

JetBlue policy changed. Their lowest fare level no longer offers free bags, There second lowest is now 1 bag, highest level 2 free. Mint, only available on select routes is also 2 free.



#27 Lonestar648

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 04:09 PM

Baggage is free on Amtrak, if you depart AND arrive from a shrinking number of stops that handle baggage. Otherwise, it is NO Checked Baggage.
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#28 jebr

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 04:44 PM

Ideally, Amtrak would implement trainside baggage service systemwide, at least on the long distance routes. However, if they do so there's a time penalty for the quick load stops that don't currently account for time to load luggage. It's probably not much (a minute or two) but it is additional time and, if done without tweaking the timetable a bit, could result in cascading delays.

 

There's also the question of cost. Sure, there'd probably be a lot of angry comments in the railfan community if Amtrak started charging for checked baggage. However, if we want to implement it systemwide, station stops could get much longer if everyone tries to check their bags. It might make sense to put a monetary amount on it to dissuade people from checking luggage "just because" while keeping the option available for those that need it. Now, that being said, the only way I'd be happy with such a change is if checked baggage is implemented systemwide and the carry-on allotment stays the same. (It's currently quite generous, which means most travelers can fit their baggage easily within the current carry-on allotment if they wanted to avoid checked baggage fees.)



#29 Lonestar648

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 06:43 PM

They could also add a box when making the reservation for checking baggage and how many.  This could alert the Conductor before the stop that bags are being checked and if Coach, Sleeper or both.

If they know ahead it might be possible to shave a few minutes off the baggage handling time.  Also, if the Conductor knows a passengers getting off has baggage, they can already have it ready in the baggage car before arriving the station.  Use the computer system to expedite the process.  No matter how efficient, the process still adds time to a stop. Do you charge per bag to have a baggage handler as part of the OBS crew?



#30 Thirdrail7

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:16 PM

From the OP's description it appears that the ticket agent was way out of line. But of course that is the impression based on just one description of the situation.

 

 

Exactly. There seems to be a lot missing from this post for everyone to exclaim how out of line the agent was.

 

I guess I should be tarred and feathered for some of the posts I've made around here. I mean if the OP approached the ticket counter and said "May I have a ticket to CHI and the agent started ranting "This is not an airline and they've stolen you discounts. RAAAARRR!!! There's no food on the Silver Star damn it!!!! GRAAAA....."

 

That's one thing.

 

 

But if you approached the same agent  engaged them and asked their opinion or thoughts...and they gave it to you, so be it. You can disagree with a direction and voice your thoughts without bashing the company.

 

I also agree, Amtrak is not an airline. Attempting to run it like an airline got us the fixed Acelas, with aaaaalllll of that wasted space (that we knew was wasted) and costs us MILLIONS upon Millions after they instituted the failed "bistro" concept.

 

Then, they left.

 

As for luggage, someone needs to get on the good foot and push this train side luggage. I know there are stations where this is not feasible but there are plenty that are. There are some things afoot with the baggage in the future and I'm sure fees will be included.

 

However, wasn't the absence of various fees and restrictions one of the things that attracted people to Amtrak in the first place?


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#31 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:32 PM

 

 

 

However, wasn't the absence of various fees and restrictions one of the things that attracted people to Amtrak in the first place?

 

I'm sure it attracted a few... but free checked baggage surely can't be a huge deciding factor when choosing Amtrak vs. Airlines vs. Bus. 


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Amtrak: - Coast Starlight*, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin*, Cascades*, Empire Builder*, California Zephyr*, Southwest Chief*, City of New Orleans*, River Cities, Illinois Zephyr*, Wolverine, Cardinal, Capitol Limited*, Lake Shore Limited, Downeaster, Acela Express*, Crescent*, Carolinian*, Silver Star*, Silver Meteor*, Maple Leaf* Texas Eagle.

 

VIA: - Canadian*

 

Iowa Pacific - Hoosier State*, and City of New Orleans Pullman*.   


#32 Thirdrail7

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 08:45 PM

 

 

 

However, wasn't the absence of various fees and restrictions one of the things that attracted people to Amtrak in the first place?

 

I'm sure it attracted a few... but free checked baggage surely can't be a huge deciding factor when choosing Amtrak vs. Airlines vs. Bus. 

 

 

By itself...no. Added to other fees, restrictions, loss of discounts, limited schedules, degradation of services and (possibly) high costs, cancelled trains before the first snowflake has fallen and a lot of the competitive edge starts to dissipate...particularly if you're on a fixed income such as a student.

 

Cumulatively, these things may sway someone into another mode of transportation and Amtrak was quite successful at attracting disaffected airline passengers.

 

Hopefully, they still can.


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#33 Skyline

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:00 PM

 

 

 Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers. 
 

Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?

I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

 

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense. 

 

And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move. 

 

 

I have no problem paying for CHECKED baggage, which will almost always be too large for carry-on. But don't try to outmaneuver me with carry-on limitations so long as I only have a couple, they fit in the rack, and I can lift them.



#34 Triley

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:26 PM

They could also add a box when making the reservation for checking baggage and how many.  This could alert the Conductor before the stop that bags are being checked and if Coach, Sleeper or both.
If they know ahead it might be possible to shave a few minutes off the baggage handling time.  Also, if the Conductor knows a passengers getting off has baggage, they can already have it ready in the baggage car before arriving the station.  Use the computer system to expedite the process.  No matter how efficient, the process still adds time to a stop. Do you charge per bag to have a baggage handler as part of the OBS crew?

Baggageman was once actually a T&E job that has been abolished, so it would have to go back to them, not OBS. And you can imagine they're not cheap either.

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#35 Lonestar648

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 02:11 AM

As an T&E job, they would demand high wages, but how would the Baggage Person be operational, governed by hour of work rules. I just thought as an OBS they might be available in support when stops are far apart, or catch some rest, and if tipped they could accept the offer.



#36 OBS

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 05:28 AM

 

 

 Let's be honest... does free checked baggage make sense? No. It is from an era when transportation companies offered free baggage as a service to passengers. 
 

Are you HONESTLY suggesting that Amtrak should charge for bags?

I'll be blunt here, I disagree with you on a few things in regards to how Amtrak should run.

 

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense. 

 

And if you follow the airline model, Business Class, First Class, and those with certain status or credit cards may be offered free luggage. Another smart business move. 

 

You can easily make the argument that charging for checked bags is going to deter people from checking bags, which means literally 50 -200 more suitcases stored in coaches/sleepers...but where? And also the time and safety issues required in loading and unloading these (usually) large bags that quite often have to be handled up and down vestibule stairs......


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#37 Trogdor

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 07:58 AM

They could also add a box when making the reservation for checking baggage and how many.  This could alert the Conductor before the stop that bags are being checked and if Coach, Sleeper or both.
If they know ahead it might be possible to shave a few minutes off the baggage handling time.  Also, if the Conductor knows a passengers getting off has baggage, they can already have it ready in the baggage car before arriving the station.  Use the computer system to expedite the process.  No matter how efficient, the process still adds time to a stop. Do you charge per bag to have a baggage handler as part of the OBS crew?


I find that many crews actually already do this to some extent, at least when there is easy access to the baggage car from the rest of the train (i.e. not baggage-to-regular-Superliner connection, but all other cases). Agents will make a note of what bags are going where and add it to the train status/OS notes in Arrow (at least, they did a few years ago, I’m guessing they still do), and one of the conductors, assuming not overly busy with other stuff, will get the bags for a given stop ready to unload prior to the wheels stopping.
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#38 tricia

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 09:42 AM

 

 

 

However, wasn't the absence of various fees and restrictions one of the things that attracted people to Amtrak in the first place?

 

I'm sure it attracted a few... but free checked baggage surely can't be a huge deciding factor when choosing Amtrak vs. Airlines vs. Bus. 

 

 

The lack of ANY sort of checked baggage at an increasing number of stations is surely a deciding factor for a good many passengers. Especially for folks traveling long distance with young children, and the less-able-bodied among us.


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#39 cpotisch

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 11:56 AM

Are you honestly suggesting it's a smart business move to offer baggage service for free? The baggage cars themselves, baggage handling equipment and staff, and extra ticket agents all cost money to offer a free service. If you have a money losing company, and you want to lose less money, charging for baggage surely makes sense. 
 

If the cost to handle checked bags is less than the extra revenue brought in from higher ridership or fares, then yes, it does make fiscal sense to provide free checked bags.

If it costs Amtrak $5 to handle one bag, and they charge an extra $10 for a ticket, it makes fiscal sense. If checked baggage increases total operating costs by 1%, but brings in 10% more ridership, then it makes financial sense.

Edited by cpotisch, 11 April 2018 - 11:59 AM.

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#40 MARC Rider

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 02:37 PM

Not really a rumor at this point.

http://thenational.i...dc-2ea888fa8ce8

attachicon.gifIMG_5587.jpg

 

It must have been a pretty soft launch, because I rode Acela Express first class on February 28 and March 6, and there was no assigned seating.






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