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Steve4031

Amtrak is not an airline. ..

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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.

 

 

When I take my annual ski trip to New England, I ride to/from Boston on the Acela, but I check my skis and and a large gear bag on the overnight NER 66/67. I carry on a rollerbag and a small backpack. If I flew, I would have to pay for all the baggage except the backpack, plus my CPAP as a second carry-on. (On the train, I just pack in in my roller-bag.) The Amtrak baggage people at Baltimore charge me $10 to check the skis, the baggage people at Boston don't. Go figure. I think the Amtrak baggage policy wins in this case.

CPAP carriers do not count as a piece of carry-on, do they? Oxygen concentrators certainly do not.

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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.

When I take my annual ski trip to New England, I ride to/from Boston on the Acela, but I check my skis and and a large gear bag on the overnight NER 66/67. I carry on a rollerbag and a small backpack. If I flew, I would have to pay for all the baggage except the backpack, plus my CPAP as a second carry-on. (On the train, I just pack in in my roller-bag.) The Amtrak baggage people at Baltimore charge me $10 to check the skis, the baggage people at Boston don't. Go figure. I think the Amtrak baggage policy wins in this case.

CPAP carriers do not count as a piece of carry-on, do they? Oxygen concentrators certainly do not.
I think CPAP’s are considered medical devices and are exclude LD from the carry-on restrictions.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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The airlines, in general, offer a much better product when comparing class to class. It's not an apples to apples comparison of course but on a 4 hour flight even on Southwest I'm offered multiple free snacks and free soft drinks, coffee, etc. I

 

I'm not sure that I would agree.

 

There is a difference between pandering and service. handing out free stuff is just pandering. we all know it isn't really free but the price is factored into the ticket. But the gesture of free stuff somehow switches off part of ouir brain and we think we're getting a good deal. Personally, I'd much rather airlines charged for stuff (and lowered fares). Charging for stuff gives them a real metric of customer appreciation and product quality.Nobody turns down a free snack but if you have to pay for it you can really test whether that snack has any value.

 

It's like comparing an all-you-can-eat eatery to a restaurant that has am itemized menu. On the itemized menu, the management has an incentive to up-sell stuff so they have to create some added value to entice you to select a more expensive item. Maybe they source some more exclusive ingredients (that cost money) or do something like that. In an all-ou-can-eat place there is much less incentive to do something that costs them extra. Thus there is a tendency to lower quality.

 

But somehow, despite Amtrak charging for food, it's not causing that virtuous cycle. No idea why not.

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The point is that the ticket agent had no right to mouth off to a customer about his or her feelings about the job. Undermining the company that pays your salary is a particularly bad thing, in my view. Yes, be unhappy with your job, but confine that to friends, workmates, the company, the union, don't bad mouth to the public!

You seem to be confusing the USA with the UAE. In the US employees have the right to criticize their employers. It may not be a particularly wise or responsible course of action, and is likely to be punished any number of ways, but with very few exceptions it is well within their rights to do so.

 

 

Personally, I'd much rather airlines charged for stuff (and lowered fares). Charging for stuff gives them a real metric of customer appreciation and product quality. Nobody turns down a free snack but if you have to pay for it you can really test whether that snack has any value.

 

Now I'm confused. Isn't this what has already happened in most of the airline market for the last decade or two? What airline are you flying that maintains most of the original legacy benefits without un-bundling everything into separate revenue streams?

Edited by Devil's Advocate

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In amtrak business class on a 6 hour trek across Michigan I get no snacks and choice of 1 "non-premium" beverage. Oh yeah... and the cafe' attendant will probably snarl at me for asking for my free drink, or tell me that I somehow asked him for it wrong (this seems to be a Michigan thing in my experience, perhaps it's part of their culture).

I hope you mean, “perhaps it’s part of OBS culture on Amtrak Michigan Services.” Michigan culture is not monolithic. There are facets shared across peninsulas, but griping about a customer “asking for it wrong” is not part of Michigan culture.

 

 

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Haha!!! Hopefully it's not a Michigan OBS thing either and just my bad luck.

 

The reason I ride the Michigan service so much is because I love visiting the Henry ford! They have AMAZING and friendly staff! Actually I very much enjoy all the people of Dearborn that I have come in cotact with.

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From what I've seen VIA Rail does a far better job with checked baggage. The two rural Quebec services offer it. And from my understanding they just unload straight to the platform.

 

I'll report more in a few months.

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The one thing that Amtrak gives its Coach Passengers is a roomy seat, leg room, and plenty of overhead space. On the airlines, you can easily get a a middle seat with the seat in front of you jammed into your knees, the seat mates on either side encroaching on your less than acceptable space. Reclining your is very limited. Your ability to get out of your seat to use the restroom is limited by the seat belt sign, the location of the drink cart, etc. To me, Amtrak Coach offers so much more than the airlines. Flying long distance in a totally full Coach section for 5 hours in the standard Coach Seat because that is all that is left to buy, is pure hell.

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It's true; Amtrak is not an airline. Nor will it ever become one.

 

Planes fly in the air, while trains travel along rails on the ground.

 

Try as he might, Richard Anderson will never be able to make a train fly. Nor any of his successors, for that matter.

 

:P

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Try as he might, Richard Anderson will never be able to make a train fly. Nor any of his successors, for that matter.

You'll be eating those words when the Amfleet IIIs are equipped with fusion-powered anti-gravity technology.

 

(Yes, that's how long it's going to take until there's such a thing as the Amfleet III.)

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Haha!!! Hopefully it's not a Michigan OBS thing either and just my bad luck.

 

There is one snarly cafe car attendant on the Wolverine, but the others range from "perfectly acceptable" to "fabulous". Hopefully, you'll manage to avoid the mean one next time. :)

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Airlines charging for checked luggage brought us to almost everyone trying to stuff their steamer trunk in the overhead bins and banging their luggage against every seat as the passenger works their way down the aisle resulting in a slower boarding process. I'd rather see more checked luggage and less carry on myself. It's more efficient.

 

Amtrak charging for checked luggage is a really, really bad idea. I'd rather see checked bags available at most every stop. At the smaller stops, the passengers might reasonably be asked to check and claim luggage trackside at the baggage car. Having passengers haul luggage 10 cars down the platform to their car and then up a narrow flight of stairs is not a good idea. It encourages accidents, results in slower loading, and bangs up the car interiors.

 

The current process of having the conductor determine the car number for the passenger, and then having the passengers load in an order determined by their party size makes perfect sense. There is no reason to have advance seat assignment, other than for ADA like purposes.

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The current process of having the conductor determine the car number for the passenger, and then having the passengers load in an order determined by their party size makes perfect sense. There is no reason to have advance seat assignment, other than for ADA like purposes.

 

I wouldn't go that far. Years ago, if a family boarded, you could pretty much count on people making space so they could sit together. Now, people that are traveling together won't even sit next to each other...until the issue is almost forced. Since there isn't assigned or pre-selected seating (and a lot of passengers are aware of this), you can't really ask them to move or help out a family.

 

Times have changed and people have changed. If there is a way to help the families, groups and couples at down line points without impacting revenue or requiring people to move, it is worth exploring.

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I wonder why Amtrak doesn’t let sleeper passengers choose their room on line. Seems like it would be easy enough and most sleeper passengers have experience in choosing airline seat assignments so not a huge learning curve. Show a diagram of the sleeper and pick your space according to the type you booked - bedroom or roomette.

 

Maybe charge a few bucks more for the rooms on the upper level. And perhaps even allow the option to book having your meal brought to your room for those who don’t want to make the trek to the diner for a modest service charge (to eliminate the uncertainity of the amount to tip). That would help the SCA plan their workload.

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I wonder why Amtrak doesn’t let sleeper passengers choose their room on line. Seems like it would be easy enough and most sleeper passengers have experience in choosing airline seat assignments so not a huge learning curve. Show a diagram of the sleeper and pick your space according to the type you booked - bedroom or roomette.

 

Maybe charge a few bucks more for the rooms on the upper level. And perhaps even allow the option to book having your meal brought to your room for those who don’t want to make the trek to the diner for a modest service charge (to eliminate the uncertainity of the amount to tip). That would help the SCA plan their workload.

 

 

Largely because of this issues they've encountered and we're discussing in the Seat assignments (Acela pilot Feb 2018) thread.

Specifically:

 

 

 

What I don't get is why you can't see what seats are available or choose one before you commit to paying! As of now, you can only choose a seat after the reservation has been paid and confirmed.

 

I'm guessing that it is to prevent the following scenario: passenger X books room A CHI-DEN and passenger Y books room B DEN-EMY. Now two rooms are not available for CHI-EMY, or Fort Morgan to Fraser for that matter.

 

The computer would assign room A to passenger Y, making room B available.

 

 

 

I'm not a Mega Bus rider but does it typically make 25+ stops on a single journey? Along a route with a high number of stops, a few well placed intermediate stop to intermediate stop selections can seriously curtail through ridership to selected points.

 

That was one of the problems with passenger selected seat assignments last time and something they've noticed this time. You have to make sure you do this in a way that does not impact through ridership and revenue and doesn't require anyone to move at some point during the trip. Currently, the reservations system controls this function automatically. If it see a room being reserved for a portion of the trip, when it see another reservation for another portion of the trip, it will assign the same room to leave as much through space as possible. The same goes for coach seating. It calculates the space based upon maximums along the route between each pair. Without assigned seating, it calculates the "pure space." With assigned seating, you can only hope that intermediate trips come later or you can sell space to that intermediate pair...unless you only set aside certain seats for certain pairs. If that is the case, I don't really consider that "genuine seat selection." You are merely letting the passengers select from a pool of seats that has been offered to them.

 

That is why I'm betting all eyes are on 2103.

Edited by Thirdrail7

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As told to us by oldsters. The private RRs started charging for checked bags in the late 1950s ? Savings and other desired advantages did not happen, Also they would not guarantee delivery to passenger's destination dat unless bags were checked 48 hours early ? Anyone with more details ?

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There is a whole separate thread on the seat selection process being on line. Under the title here, Amtrak is not like an airline that flies point to point totally emptying the plane at the destination verses Amtrak that has passengers ride origin to destination, but the majority who ride for a few stops before getting off. A single aircraft may have several different flight numbers during the flying day. Amtrak Long Distance will go one to four days under the same train number. Both are transporting the public, the how is very different.

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AIrplanes do not totally empty at each destination. There are through passengers who remain on the plane.

I suspect that’s rare today.

 

I know it happened in the past as I took a plane from Philly to Detroit via Pittsburgh and did not change planes. But In the last few years as I look at cross country flights I haven’t noticed any that either aren’t non-stop or don’t make connections.

 

 

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AIrplanes do not totally empty at each destination. There are through passengers who remain on the plane.

I think this only happens on some Southwest airlines routes. Most other airlines do the hub system.

 

 

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And on those WN flights that do, it’s only 2-3 stops, not 20+, and they have 100% unassigned seats.

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The flights also usually have very few continuing passengers, largely due to the routings often being extremely roundabout. For example, in the past (I don't know if they still do or not) flights were operated from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale with a stop in Baltimore.

Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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The flight I took from LA to Seattle with a stop in Sacramento seemed to make sense. the southwest flights I take to and from nashville usually have a continuing routing that makes sense as well.

 

I will say, I didn't realize it was a unique to southwest thing, I rarely fly with other airlines.

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AIrplanes do not totally empty at each destination. There are through passengers who remain on the plane.

Um, largely nope. I was on a AA flight last year that was same flight number and same equipment JFK-PHX-SEA. They made the whole plane deplane in Phoenix and reboard (I was going to SEA), just as if they were connecting flights.

 

WN I think is the exception, not the rule. And WN has free-for-all boarding so their reservation system doesn't have to handle seating.

Edited by zephyr17

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