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blondninja

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About blondninja

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    Lead Service Attendant

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  1. That's not the customers fault or concern there. The issue is high prices, most would say overpriced, for services rendered. Amtrak is not a charity.
  2. blondninja

    National

    And more http://nypost.com/2016/07/25/amtrak-to-launch-magazine-in-re-branding-effort/
  3. blondninja

    National

    Just found this which tells more than the first blurb I read... http://www.medialifemagazine.com/amtrak-rolling-train-magazine-national/
  4. blondninja

    National

    Anybody see the news about arrive magazine being changed to something called national? I'm wondering if all of us will be able to read and access it if not on the nec? I mean print editions. I know how to find the on line version.
  5. blondninja

    No Steak? SWC out of LA

    The problem is the price. For what you pay, I'm beginning to question the value for money. Room wise I'm paying about $400 a night for a beat up room that needs new upholstery etc. and less than stellar food and service. What I love about train travel I'm realizing has to do with train travel itself, in spite of Amtrak, not because of. As someone once said, we ride Amtrak because it's what we've got. But based on the price point, I could care less if the dining car staff are tired or not. Hire more staff, get a new job, whatever. Nobody cares if I'm tired or overworked in my job, why should we care? We need value for our dollar.
  6. blondninja

    Trip Report

    Well, I am finally back from my trip, and I wanted to post this trip report when I could type at a computer and not on my phone. This was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, and in a lot of ways still was. I am fortunate to travel a lot for work, and my job allows me to take the train, so long as I pay the sleeper cost out of pocket. I am Select Executive currently, and on this recent trip, I re-qualified for Select Executive again. Anyhow, I had to go to D.C. for work over my mom's 70th birthday, so I decided to invite her along for the trip. We departed the Southwest Chief in Fullerton, and stopped first in Kansas City, spending the 4th of July in Kansas City, then headed on to Chicago. We boarded the Capitol Limited to D.C. and then took the Northeast Regional down to Ashland. Here is where is gets weird. We were in the Acela Lounge and they took everything down, train number, etc. and ordered a red cap for us. We get to the train about 45 minutes before departure, but the conductor says we can board early. He just wants to make sure we have tickets for business class, which we did. We are on board with about 8 others and there is a crew change. New conductor comes by to ask where we are getting off. I tell him Ashland and he adds the appropriate station card above our seat. Later he comes around about three stops from D.C. to scan tickets but doesn't ask for some or ours. The train is not crowded so there is no way he could have missed us. We are about four rows from the front of the car. I should mention also that through the entire trip up to this point, tickets have not been scanned but lifted remotely. Points have posted to AGR, and in fact in all my travel this year, only twice has the conductor scanned my ticket. We spend three days in Richmond and then board the Northwest Regional back to D.C. Conductor comes around and scans our ticket without incident. We spend a week in D.C. (work for me, sightseeing for mom), and then return to Union Station in D.C. We first show our ticket to check our large suitcases. That's fine. Next we check in to the Acela Lounge, where they take our ticket, we leave our smaller carry on bags in the luggage room, they take our dinner reservations on the Capitol and order the red cap for us. Redcap comes to take us to the train at boarding time. The car attendant does not have us on his list. He has someone else in our room. He curtly tells me he will allow us to board, but that I need to call Amtrak, he won't. We are in our bedroom (this trip cost over $5,000, a point that matters to me as I continue.) I am on the phone with AGR, and they are telling me since we didn't take the Chicago to D.C. trip, the remainder was canceled. I say that is not so, in fact they took dinner reservations in the ML and my points have already posted. While on the phone with them, the conductor comes in with the new occupant and I am treated like I gatecrashed a party. He tells me I am in the wrong room and we need to leave. I explain this is my room and there is an error and I am on the phone with Amtrak at that moment. Now I am in the hallway as people are trying to board. No one can figure out what is going on, but they admit ultimately it is a glitch and rebook me in a different bedroom. Unfortunately, the last leg home on the Chief is booked and they have to downgrade us to a roomette, and they refund the difference back to my credit card. My questions to you are the following: 1. Who is at fault? I don't think they can blame this on me as their policy with e tickets is inconsistent. Again, on the return train they did not scan tickets, they lifted them remotely. I even called in and they acted like I was crazy for inquiring. Do I need to be paranoid now to ensure the remainder of my journey is not canceled and ensure my ticket is scanned? 2. Why is this a policy anyhow? I mean, I hear it, I read it. It's never happened to me before though. Shouldn't they call or email before canceling? Is it all system generated? What use is Select Executive? Just double points? Seem there is one sided loyalty. I paid for the ticket, don't I have the right to pay and not show up and forfeit my hard earned money? In any case, I was on the train and can prove it. I have hotel receipts from Ashland, Uber receipts to and from Ashland station, etc. 3. Why the surly attitude like you are lying? He ultimately became nice, but also for the car attendant to inform me he wasn't going to call. A better answer would have been, "I cannot call as I have to board passengers, but I will inform the conductor and he may be able to call for you and assist you." Clearly, they didn't communicate as the conductor had no knowledge of what was going on. I have had good, great, and horrible Amtrak experiences in the past. Although the remainder of the journey was okay, I did not get what I paid $5000 for, and it put a damper on an otherwise wonderful trip. There is an open case with Customer Relations, and they said to call back when the trip was completed. 4. Would you call back to try to get a travel voucher? Or accept that they refunded the difference between a roomette and a bedroom and be done with it? My ultimate feeling right now is if Amtrak even deserves my business. I meant, I know s*&t happens, and I accept that, but it's how people handle the situation when things go wrong that really matter. I think they handled it (initially) pretty poorly, and it's not a way to treat your most loyal passengers.
  7. blondninja

    No Steak? SWC out of LA

    Ha ha. Yep. Bought food in Albuquerque. Ate in Chicago. Ate in Washington, D.C. Planned the same for the return home. After about 10 trips on the chief this year, three on the capital and one on the cardinal, I'm quite over the limited dining car choices.
  8. blondninja

    No Steak? SWC out of LA

    I've taken the chief about 10 times this year (just requalified for select executive on this trip). Twice I have had the express menu boarding in Fullerton. Last week we had a full menu. As others note, it seems to not be all the time but at their discretion. You have a good probability of having steak on the outbound dinner service.
  9. blondninja

    No Steak? SWC out of LA

    And I agree with the poster about the quality. I've given up too. I will no longer go to the dining car. I went once this trip. Six days on a train and I partook in one meal. The quality is poor. I don't know where I've had such poor quality food. And I don't buy frozen food at the grocery store.
  10. blondninja

    No Steak? SWC out of LA

    I think one thing that strikes me is wrong is you shouldn't have to care about what crew you get. I fully agree, on the trip I am on now I've had excellent, indifferent and horrid service. It is unacceptable. I stay at Starwood hotels and always have had consistent service. Amtrak is simply its own thing. And that is a BIG problem for me.
  11. blondninja

    Chicago Metropolitan Lounge

    When I get around to it, I'll post a big fiasco I encountered due to their scanning inconsistency. For now, there's already been a degradation in the lounge it seems. On my first entry, I was pleased to see they carried a selection of higher end teas and replaced the Lipton. Today: all gone. Back to cheap brands. Or maybe it is temporary.
  12. blondninja

    Chicago Metropolitan Lounge

    Not for me saxman, I use the e tickets on the app.
  13. blondninja

    Chicago Metropolitan Lounge

    I was in the lounge last week between 3 and 6 and had much the same experience. However, no food no snacks. As reported, we were all kicked out of upstairs at 4 pm. The lovely attendant stood on the stairs cattle calling everyone. She couldn't be bothers to go up to each person. When it was time to board the capital limited there was no card or anything given. We just had to leave and find our own way. No escorted walk. One thing I do not like is once you check in, you are no longer given a card to show in the event you leave and return. You have to line up and check in all over again. I literally went out for less than 10 minutes to check out the travel town display in the great hall and when I came back in the same staffer acted as if she didn't know me. Also, I've no issues with the set check for the baggage, but I was looking to pay the fee to have our bags dropped to our capital limited sleeper. Was that service a rumor? Didn't seem to be offered when I was there. My return is Tomorrow so I will see if anything is different when I'm in Chicago Thursday.
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