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Devil's Advocate

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  1. Devil's Advocate

    Business Class in the west?

    For some reason Amtrak refuses to book two adjoining seats for one passenger (other than perhaps Acela) so other than sleepers (which are often sold out or priced well above two coach seats) there isn't much of an option. The size would be fine if they had kept it limited to sleeper passengers like when it first opened. I wish they would build another lounge for business class commuters.
  2. Devil's Advocate

    Andrea Doria

    In actuality it is a perfectly logical system whereby people with money employ people with knowledge to write rules which protect the powerful from the weak. Morality ≠ logic.
  3. Devil's Advocate

    Fire Richard Anderson Campaign?

    If the board is undermining their own credibility then it's perfectly within the rights of customers and stakeholders to criticize them. Citizen advocacy rarely follows a clear and obvious path to success. A series of complaints written to an otherwise indifferent board member might spark a concerned underling or whistle blower to release previously unknown data to a third party journalist who decides to write a story that is used to help sway a congressional staffer to bring the issue to the attention of an important Senator or Representative who endeavors to make moves toward righting the ship. We live in a society that is already predisposed toward perpetual indifference. If someone feels like letting the board know that they're unhappy with the product and process they've overseen there is no reason to dissuade them. My advice would be to start with congress but rather than stop there continue writing, calling, and visiting with everyone in a position to help, even if they're not inclined to do so.
  4. Devil's Advocate

    coach between Toledo and Tampa?

    If you have long legs there is a HUGE difference between basic coach class and first class, even for domestic flights. It's true that Amtrak coach has lots of legroom but somehow the seat design manages to be even less comfortable aircraft coach seats. I'm not sure what exactly is wrong, but even though I can sleep for at least a few hours on most long haul flights I cannot seem to find a way to sleep at all in Amtrak coach.
  5. Devil's Advocate

    German & French trains

    Radio frequency scanners? Although I have occasionally taken such devices abroad I would advise you to be very careful and do your own research. Some countries, including a few in Europe, are extremely suspicious of such activity and could potentially lock you up for years or even decades if caught monitoring the wrong traffic in the wrong location. In addition to active usage concerns there is the matter of simple possession. A scanner purchased in the US will be designed to meet US laws governing fundamental capabilities. Frequencies that are unrestricted in one country may be heavily guarded in another country and vice versa. A foreign tourist typically has few meaningful protections from accusations of illegal spying, even in cases where a potential motive or objective is baseless or irrational.
  6. Devil's Advocate

    2019 Amtrak Calendar?

    ^ This is the most relevant answer IMO. Today people have dynamic digital calendars. Personal calendars, work calendars, and group calendars that combine into one universal schedule that automatically adjusts to different locations across numerous devices. Try using a conventional paper calendar to keep up with several different schedules across numerous time zones at a 15 minute beat.
  7. Devil's Advocate

    Menu Capitol Limited?

    It's crazy to me how unhealthy and harmful our conventional food supply has become, especially to an uneducated person without health insurance. At my grocery store the fresh produce section is maybe 5% of the store area. Nearly everything else is chock full of refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, a wide spectrum of fats and oils, and simple carbohydrates.
  8. Devil's Advocate

    Southwest Chief Diagram

    Diagrams and room numbers can be found here... http://www.craigmashburn.com/amtrakcardiagrams.html Do be aware that not every car follows these diagrams exactly, but for general awareness and basic information they should be reasonably correct.
  9. Devil's Advocate

    Australian taking on an Amtrak Adventure

    I did not intend to imply otherwise. If I had added a comma thusly my original point may have been clearer...
  10. Devil's Advocate

    Lion Air JT610

    A functioning pitot tube is necessary for automated analysis and programmed flight management. That being said, a sufficiently trained and tested human pilot should not require an active pitot tube in order to successfully operate and land an otherwise properly functioning aircraft. When pitot tubes fail a human pilot can work around the loss of instrumentation and automated systems which rely upon those measurements. Malfunctioning pitot tubes are listed as contributing factors in the loss of several commercial passenger aircraft, not because they are absolutely necessary to safely operate the aircraft in question, but because conventional pilot training and routine aircraft operation can leave human pilots insufficiently prepared to recognize and mitigate such failures in a timely fashion. If losing a pitot tube is tantamount to losing the entire aircraft we may as well hand everything over to a computer at this point.
  11. Devil's Advocate

    Lion Air JT610

    A pitot tube is an extremely useful device but it is not a fundamental necessity for a sufficiently trained human pilot to successfully operate and land a modern commercial aircraft.
  12. Devil's Advocate

    San Antonio Hotels

    In general terms the Best Western Plus Sunset Suites and Staybridge Suites Downtown Convention Center are close to the station and have received favorable comments from members who have stayed there. Holiday Inn Express & Suites San Antonio River Area (deceptive naming IMO) and City View Inn & Sites received generally unfavorable reviews, mainly due to suitability of location and perception of safety. Those are the four closest examples. Pricing in the Sunset Station area can be severely impacted by the presence or absence of major downtown events and convention center related scheduling. San Antonio has dozens more hotels across across I-37, and crossing under the freeway is surprisingly easy, safe, and well lit at night. A group of longtime members recently stayed at the Emily Morgan with generally favorable comments, but that hotel is unlikely to be within walking distance for most people.
  13. Devil's Advocate

    Australian taking on an Amtrak Adventure

    (1) You may already be well aware of this, but the Coast Starlight ends in LA at night. If you're wanting to see as much as possible of the areas South of LA you might want to consider stopping overnight and continuing in the morning. (2) If it's been a while since your last trip then lounge facilities at LAUS and CUS will have likely improved, onboard dining and sleeper amenities will have become even more simplified, while remaining staff will probably be a bit more rushed and hurried than before. (3) If you're big on ringing in the New Year be aware that on-board celebrations tend to be rather calm and subdued compared to more stationary locations. (4) Recent years have seen exceptional weather related phenomenon across the entire network. The best way to avoid stress and problems is to plan for stopovers at each major connecting point.
  14. Devil's Advocate


    I've traveled Westbound to Asia from LAX, SFO, DEN, DFW, IAH, ORD, & JFK without a single flight north of the Arctic Circle. Typically they fly well South of Alaska, at least insofar as the airshow map displays. Not saying that polar flights don't exist, just at that they're not exactly common for folks outside of the Northeast.