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Adding a Passenger To My Sleeper Car

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I previously made a reservation for a sleeper car bedroom for the Empire Builder. Later I wanted to add a passenger to my room and ensure they are eligible for the bedroom's covered meals. I purchased my passenger's ticket via Amtrak's 1-800-USA-RAIL Customer Relations operator because of some other issues with fare prices.

 

The Customer Relations operator was aware that I wanted my passenger to take advantage of the bedroom's covered meals, but when I picked up my passenger's printed ticket today, it says it is a coach ticket. Should my passenger's ticket say bedroom and give the car and room number? Will the SCA or conductor hassle my passenger?

 

I ask all of you because I have heard three answers from three different Amtrak staff. My local Amtrak station clerk in Michigan told me I had to rebook my own reservation and incur a penalty for my passenger to have covered meals. The clerk's manager said my ticket and my new passenger's ticket just needed to be linked. The 1-800-USA-RAIL Customer Relations operator said linking was not required.

 

Who is right?

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Correct, you need an Open Sleeper ticket for your friend. It will actually say Superliner Bedroom or Viewliner Bedroom on it, but it will have no room number on it.

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Was the ticket issued to you an e-ticket or a regular paper ticket? The e-tickets have E-TICKET written in very large letters at the bottom. If it was an e-ticket it should be possible to call the 800 number and have it changed to an Open Sleeper ticket with the new document e-mailed to you. If it was a paper ticket you'll have to make the exchange with an agent at a staffed station. The agent in Michigan may not be super familiar with Open Sleeper tickets since Michigan doesn't have Sleeper service.

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I just returned from my local Amtrak station. Thank you battalion51 for your timely response because the same agent who was unhelpful earlier was still there. When I asked about an Open Sleeper ticket he said, "I can't do that. I don't know how. Your tickets are linked and that is all that matters." After reading previous posts on Open Tickets, I know that linking is insufficient and an Open Ticket is needed.

 

I will call the 800-number tomorrow. I have an e-ticket. Should I ask for Customer Relations, or will the typical sales agent be able to make the change to an Open Ticket? Lastly, for next time, should I just add my passenger to my reservation or is it better to ask for an Open Sleeper?

 

P.S.: Thank you Ryan, AlanB, and battalion51 for your timely responses. Once I learned of the Open Ticket, I searched the Forum for that type of ticket and found that others had similar questions, but no one knew to ask for an Open Ticket until coming to this Forum. As a younger traveler (early 30s) who appreciates trains over planes, I am giving Amtrak the benefit of the doubt due to its lack of funding, especially in the Midwest. However, without all of your help, I don't know what I would do. All of your advice is priceless and appreciated!

 

 

Was the ticket issued to you an e-ticket or a regular paper ticket? The e-tickets have E-TICKET written in very large letters at the bottom. If it was an e-ticket it should be possible to call the 800 number and have it changed to an Open Sleeper ticket with the new document e-mailed to you. If it was a paper ticket you'll have to make the exchange with an agent at a staffed station. The agent in Michigan may not be super familiar with Open Sleeper tickets since Michigan doesn't have Sleeper service.

 

 

This is a good start -- but I need some more help, please. I went to my local Amtrak station and asked that my friend's ticket be changed to an open sleeper. The same agent who was unhelpful earlier today said, "I can't do that. I don't know how."

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As far as I know Open Sleeper Tickets are still issued on paper stock. Looking at one right now it says the date, starting and ending station, and BEDROOM. Be sure to call and have it corrected so you save yourself a potential headache down the line.

 

I'd just speak to a regular agent. They should be able to assist you. If they aren't then you can escalate the matter to someone who can but most do have a knowledge of Open Sleeper tickets IME.

Edited by roadman3313

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Agreed, start with a regular agent, see where you get, and then go upwards if necessary. If you go upwards and still don't make any progress, thank them for their time, and try calling again at another time. Its one of those oddities that exists, but you just need someone who knows how to do it in Arrow to do it. I don't know that I would necessarily trust the agent in Michigan with the "linked tickets" being all you need. We know that Open Sleeper exists, and that it gets you what you need, I'd recommend going down that road.

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Ugh my iPhone just ate a long reply. You can book open sleeper on the phone. Just call. Open sleeper tix are only paper. No e-tickets available.

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But if what you have now is an E-Ticket that simplifies the process. Take the value from the E-Ticket and apply it to the Paper Ticket, then pick it up later. If its Paper Ticket to Paper Ticket you'll be dealing with the Michigan Agent who doesn't seem to know what's going on...

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The current e-ticket will have to be converted to a paper ticket to get an Open Sleeper ticket. And if the agent doesn't know how to do that, then he can call the support desk or his supervisor to find out how to do it. Which is what he should have done when you were there, instead of saying "I don't know how to do that."

 

You can also try adding him to your existing reservation, but be warned that could cause a jump in the price of the room if the prices for Bedrooms are currently higher than when you originally purchased. If they're the same price right now, then that is the easy way to go.

 

But otherwise if the price has changed, then the only way to keep the current price is with an open sleeper ticket. I believe that a phone agent can transfer the current eTicket over to an Open Sleeper ticket. But you will have to return to the station to get that agent to actually print out the physical ticket no matter what.

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An Update: I just called the 800-number. While I had doubt, the agent converted my e-ticket to a paper Open Sleeper ticket in five minutes! I will pick up the paper ticket tomorrow from my local station.

 

By the way AlanB, I understand now why my local agent said, "If I add your passenger it will cost $1,200." I had some fare issues previously and Customer Relations upgraded my room without charging me. Now it makes sense from Amtrak's system's perspective why my local agent couldn't add my passenger to my existing reservation.

 

Thank you again everyone for your help.

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An Update: I just called the 800-number. While I had doubt, the agent converted my e-ticket to a paper Open Sleeper ticket in five minutes! I will pick up the paper ticket tomorrow from my local station.

Good, I'm glad you got the right agent on the phone who knew what to do. I understand that it's actually not very hard to do, but far too many agents just seem to have forgotten how to do it or never learned how to do it. It's not a common thing either, so I do understand how they could forget how to do it. But that still doesn't excuse what your agent told you. Once you knew what to ask for, his response should have been, "please wait a minute, I'm not sure how to do that and I'll have to get someone to help me."

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Glad things worked out for you. I had to do the same thing and would not have known about Open Tickets if not for this forum.

Then, again, I wouldn't be taking this trip, if it wasn't for the forum.

We'd welcome you as a member, signing up is free. It's a great group of people.

Also, if you and tour friend haven't already done so, consider signing up for Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) within 90 days of your trip. You'll receive sign up bonus points (lfrequent rider points like the airlines).

 

Enjoy your trip.

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Glad things worked out for you. I had to do the same thing and would not have known about Open Tickets if not for this forum.

Then, again, I wouldn't be taking this trip, if it wasn't for the forum.

We'd welcome you as a member, signing up is free. It's a great group of people.

Also, if you and tour friend haven't already done so, consider signing up for Amtrak Guest Rewards (AGR) within 90 days of your trip. You'll receive sign up bonus points (frequent rider points like the airlines).

 

Enjoy your trip.

 

Yes, this.

 

Welcome, from a fellow Michigan passenger. Enjoy the high-speed rail once you're just west of Kalamazoo. It's awesome. :)

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An Update: I just called the 800-number. While I had doubt, the agent converted my e-ticket to a paper Open Sleeper ticket in five minutes! I will pick up the paper ticket tomorrow from my local station.

Good, I'm glad you got the right agent on the phone who knew what to do. I understand that it's actually not very hard to do, but far too many agents just seem to have forgotten how to do it or never learned how to do it. It's not a common thing either, so I do understand how they could forget how to do it. But that still doesn't excuse what your agent told you. Once you knew what to ask for, his response should have been, "please wait a minute, I'm not sure how to do that and I'll have to get someone to help me."

Alan the same thing happened to me in PVD. Two agents told me they had no idea how to book open sleepers and to call the 800 number.

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With all of your terrific responses and AmtrakBlue's suggestion, I decided to join the Forum!

 

One more question: That adage, "You don't know, what you don't know," has me thinking how do I know once and for all that my trip as I planned will go off without a hitch? Are there any questions I should be asking about my reservation? Perhaps I am a little cautious now, but I made many changes to my original reservation and I hope nothing got lost in the shuffle. Here is my timeline:

 

August:

-I planned a trip for mid-August from Michigan to CHI (Wolverine) to SAC (California Zephyr) with a Roomette. I planned to fly home.

-I made it to CHI and missed Train 5 to SAC due to an Amtrak agent's oversight.

-I re-scheduled my trip to 2014. Amtrak compensated me with an (1) upgrade to a Bedroom on Train 5 from CHI to SAC and (2) complimentary return leg from SAC to CHI on the Zephyr with a Bedroom. This compensation was to cover my lost airfare and hotel in SAC.

 

September:

-I asked Amtrak to change the complimentary return leg from SAC to CHI to the Empire Builder from the California Zephyr. This took five phone calls, which was very frustrating, but Amtrak made my change.

-I asked Amtrak to add a passenger to my Bedroom. This precipitated all of my questions regarding the Open Sleeper ticket, which I never knew existed until this Forum. This experience raised my awareness that there are nuances to Amtrak's reservation system and procedure that I never knew existed.

 

October:

-I picked up my passenger's ticket and confirmed it is an Open Sleeper from AlanB and roadman3313's description of an Open Sleeper ticket.

 

I think everything is set, but am I missing any other Amtrak nuances? I want the trip to be flawless because it has become my college graduation present!

 

Thank you!

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Of course we have more advice! This site has a great set of tips as a baseline. If you have any additional specific questions feel free to fire them off. We all have our own perspectives based on our travels and experiences and are happy to share. Welcome Aboard!

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