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2018 Discount Fares and Refund/Cancellation Fee Changes

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anyone who is definitely going to travel in the near future.....

 

I'd still prefer the 75% refund over an identical value voucher. The refund can be spent anywhere while the voucher is only good with Amtrak. A carrier that has been shedding amenities left and right without meaningfully improving long distance service standards and quietly changes their rules with little or no grace period. In many cases the only reason we even have our 24-48 hour advance notice is because it's "leaked" on our forum. The vast majority of Amtrak customers probably won't know anything about these changes until they're already in effect, which seems like a pretty lousy way to motivate your customer base and promote future loyalty.

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Which while true does not change the fact that plenty of people don't care and if they are going to take a train in the near future still find the voucher simple.

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The changes are posted, in an obscure location and not on the Refund and Cancellation page..

 

This Page (the Refund and Cancellation Policy page) does not reflect the changes.

 

This Page (Fare Options, Rules and Restrictions) does.

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You know, maybe the d******s upstairs should give a week or two of notice on this sort of thing so they can at least get everybody on the same page.

(No, I'm not salty about this...not at all...)

 

Edit: While I'm thinking about it, it's sure wonderful of them to roll this sort of thing out just as they're making a dog's breakfast of NYP. For needed repairs, I understand, but I don't think it is out of sorts to find them hosing ticket refundability when they're looking to make a mess of a decent little chunk of the system...

(Rolling this out the day before a major winter storm close to knocks out the NEC is also one of those brilliant moments.)

Edited by PRR 60

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Still better than the airlines.

Much worse than Southwest, the only airline I've flown domestically in over a decade.

 

Sent from my KFDOWI using Tapatalk

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But not better than driving, at least not for many of us, for most trips. Amtrak is becoming less and less attractive, in many ways.

It's very disappointing. Like they're trying to lose their customers. I don't like driving but it's starting to look better to me; more convenient and the cost isn't that much worse, in some cases better even paying for restaurants and hotels. I just happen to love train travel and it's very discouraging for me to see this.

Edited by Chey

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When Amtrak was created fares only accounted for roughly 21% of operating cost. Today fares account for around 87% of operating cost and what happens? Fares have been continually raised,amenities cut, discounts are eliminated and cancellations cost you big time. Maybe Amtrak will be happy when we all start driving on our trips. We are certainly considering road trips again but when space aboard trains is at a premium they probably won't miss us. The plus is that will be saving money..

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Depending on the nuances of implementation, it has struck me that the changes to the Acela fare structure have the potential to seriously hose the New York market. Why? All but one NYP-BOS Acela (namely, the earliest one) originates in WAS, and roughly half of the NYP-WAS Acelas originate in BOS. If tickets are, in effect, non-changable as a "no show" after the train leaves its origin, that really jams the market on that service. It's actually worse, in some ways, with the Regional (since a bunch of the NYP-BOS trains originate in Virginia).

This is actually bad enough that it might force me to consider flying to Florida and driving to DC...and that has me pissed.

Edited by Anderson

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If tickets are, in effect, non-changable as a "no show" after the train leaves its origin, that really jams the market on that service.

 

Wait, what? I had assumed that everything was based on the scheduled departures from the passengers' boarding stations; it sounds like you're saying it's the trains' departures from their original stations. Which did I misunderstand?

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Depending on the nuances of implementation, it has struck me that the changes to the Acela fare structure have the potential to seriously hose the New York market. Why? All but one NYP-BOS Acela (namely, the earliest one) originates in WAS, and roughly half of the NYP-WAS Acelas originate in BOS. If tickets are, in effect, non-changable as a "no show" after the train leaves its origin, that really jams the market on that service. It's actually worse, in some ways, with the Regional (since a bunch of the NYP-BOS trains originate in Virginia).

 

This is actually bad enough that it might force me to consider flying to Florida and driving to DC...and that has me pissed.

It won't hose anything, because "scheduled departure" is referring the time of departure from the station of origination of the journey of the traveler, not where the train might have originated. Let us stop letting our imagination run hog wild here. ;)

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I also thought departure from boarding station. there is nothing in the text of the bulletin to make me think otherwise

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This is a really dumb move and someone needs to shake Amtrak's executives about it. It's going to actually reduce sleeper ticket sales. There needs to be a "flexible sleeper" price, bluntly, and there isn't in this poorly-thought-out scheme.

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If tickets are, in effect, non-changable as a "no show" after the train leaves its origin, that really jams the market on that service.

 

Wait, what? I had assumed that everything was based on the scheduled departures from the passengers' boarding stations; it sounds like you're saying it's the trains' departures from their original stations. Which did I misunderstand?

 

Depending on the nuances of implementation, it has struck me that the changes to the Acela fare structure have the potential to seriously hose the New York market. Why? All but one NYP-BOS Acela (namely, the earliest one) originates in WAS, and roughly half of the NYP-WAS Acelas originate in BOS. If tickets are, in effect, non-changable as a "no show" after the train leaves its origin, that really jams the market on that service. It's actually worse, in some ways, with the Regional (since a bunch of the NYP-BOS trains originate in Virginia).

This is actually bad enough that it might force me to consider flying to Florida and driving to DC...and that has me pissed.

 

It won't hose anything, because "scheduled departure" is referring the time of departure from the station of origination of the journey of the traveler, not where the train might have originated. Let us stop letting our imagination run hog wild here. ;)

I also thought departure from boarding station. there is nothing in the text of the bulletin to make me think otherwise

I can see where there could be confusion. When I went to the Amtrak website to read the policy, the official language does refer to the origination. So while a veteran of Amtrak travel may understand that it means the passengers origination station, not the origination of the train... I can see how someone new to Amtrak travel might be confused.

 

This is a cut and paste of the language for Premium Fare cancellations, but the same language is used across all classes.

Premium Fares

Class of Service: Acela First Class:

 

Refunds: Full refund if canceled before departure.

eVouchers Available: Full value, no fees if canceled before departure.

No Change Fee

No Show Policy: If not canceled before the scheduled departure from the origin, the ticket is forfeited and no funds can be applied toward future travel.

Edited by CAMISSY55

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This brings amtrak more in line with global rail practices, where you usually have a non refundable saver fare and a refundable (or sometimes just exchangeable) flexible fare. The existence of the value fare is a weird anomaly and I think adds more confusion than value.

 

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This brings amtrak more in line with global rail practices, where you usually have a non refundable saver fare and a refundable (or sometimes just exchangeable) flexible fare. The existence of the value fare is a weird anomaly and I think adds more confusion than value.

Weird anomaly? Not if you understand Amtrak's fare structuring system. There are actually 6 different coach fares. The Value fare is called the low bucket Coach fare and is usually the one that goes with any sleeper. It's the $114 shown below. The other four buckets above it rise in a geometric progression - each roughly 25% higher than the one below.

 

post-9586-0-69505500-1521831905_thumb.jpg

 

The Saver Coach fare is the circled one and is the low bucket fare discounted by 20% (or is 80% of the low bucket fare or $114 X 0.80 = $91.20 ≈ $91).

 

The sleeper fares (upcharges) rise in a somewhat sloppy arithmetic progression with the next one roughly some fixed amount above the one below.

 

One could probably conclude the entire Amtrak long distance fare structure was a weird anomaly! :P

Edited by niemi24s

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Amtrak's practices aren't out of line with what you see on VIA (though even there, IIRC, you've still got a "full flex" sleeper fare), where you basically have "Escape" (Saver), the intermediate fare (Value), and the full flex fare (Flexible). One thing this does trigger is a "push" towards Business Class, which is very much at odds with the pricing structure I saw in the UK.

Of course, this also in practice stands in opposition to the practices on most airlines, where usually flexible/refundable fares are also variable (roughly in line with the non-refundable fares). For example, on JetBlue, the "refundable" fare is (IIRC) a pretty standardized $200 surcharge on whatever the prevailing "full" fare is. If nothing else, doing this helps to time-differentiate some of the full-flex crowd (e.g. you don't want them to all become time-agnostic if you can "nudge" some of them to a lower-demand train, since [for example] you'd probably just assume bump some of them away from the 5PM Acela (which will sell out or close to it) and to the 7PM Acela (which might not be anywhere near to selling out). I mean, it's fine to sell out that peak train, but all else being equal you'd probably rather fill seats on those other trains and still enable walk-up/last-minute sales if possible...especially since this is going to "push" some folks to full-flex tickets.

Edit: And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?" I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.

Edited by Anderson

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And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?" I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.

Does the insurance pay the passenger who simply decides not to take the trip for whatever reason? Or does the insurance require one from a list of qualifying reasons for not traveling?

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When I bought travel insurance from Travel Insured International, I asked the agent what reasons were covered under the most expensive "cancel for any reason" coverage. I was told "Oh, a bad haircut would qualify". So from that company, at least, "any reason" truly meant precisely that. Less expensive coverages have more stringent qualifying causes.

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The policy really should be based on availability. If there are lost of spaces open then your cancellation really didn't mean much in costing them anything. Or if they sell your spot AND the train is full, you should get 100% of your money back. If you add you need to be paid with a voucher on top of all of that then they really don't loose any money.

 

Amtrak really needs to be more flexible than other mods of transportation. You are already dealing with inconvenient departure / arrival times (in many cases) and restrictions on things like luggage (in many cases) . They really need to become much more friendly to passenger.

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So, if one wants to float value (at least on coach tickets), either make a reservation and cancel it forty five minutes later, or at least cancel it eight days in advance to preserve 100% value on a voucher?

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And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?" I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.

Does the insurance pay the passenger who simply decides not to take the trip for whatever reason? Or does the insurance require one from a list of qualifying reasons for not traveling?

 

That is going to depend on the product...but I'd bet that the form of travel insurance that's being pushed on the Amtrak page doesn't offer this.

 

There is "cancel for any reason" coverage out there; part of the problem is that I think you have to cover the full "trip"...and the insurance gets more expensive with age, too.

 

(I think it's also fair to say that I resent having to do business with a third-party company in these transactions.)

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Hi everyone, first post here. The Refund and Cancellation policy is being "enhanced" again. The R&C page on Amtrak.com added the following line:


"If your travel plans change and you do not modify or cancel your reservation before departure and then do not board your train, your entire reservation will be canceled and any remaining funds will be forfeited. Effective August 21, 2018 this policy applies to all types of tickets; including Flex fares."


Looking at the details under Flexible Fares it still states Flex Fares are refundable after departure. Further, the Guide to Fares page has not changed at all and still says Flex Fares are always refundable. :help:


The question is how this affects later travel in the reservation. As I understand now, a no-show will forfeit the funds of that segment. Future travel will cancel with those "funds" turning into an eVoucher. This new language seems to indicate ALL funds in the reservation will forfeit. Sounds just like an airline we all know... :ph34r:

Edited by RebelRider

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And of course, the fact that they're doing this without a flexible sleeper ticket did make me wonder "What, they're not able to rip enough of us for travel insurance?" I mean, c'mon...peg the flexi-sleeper one bucket up from the non-flex sleeper and I can tell you that there are some of us who will shell out for it...and I can speak to at least one other member of this board for whom this is basically a deal-breaker on LD trips.

 

Does the insurance pay the passenger who simply decides not to take the trip for whatever reason? Or does the insurance require one from a list of qualifying reasons for not traveling?
It has to be a qualifying circumstance. Usually if you’re too sick to travel, have some kind of emergency, lost your job and can’t afford the ticket, etc. That travel insurance is incredibly limited, which is why we don’t get it anymore.

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