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Steve4031

Amtrak is not an airline. ..

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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.

 

The fortress/hub and focus/spoke system did away with most multi-segment direct flights and the sub-fleet home base maintenance and operations protocols did away with most of the rest. I've sometimes encountered direct flights with multiple segments on US legacies but despite having the same flight number they almost always require an aircraft change for each segment.

 

 

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.

WN may be the exception but it's also the closest comparison to Amtrak.

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In the +500 flights I have taken over the last 30 odd years only once have I ever stayed on a plane when making a stop. That was about 20 years ago on Delta going home from college for Spring Break DAB-ATL-DTW. Frankly I prefer getting off the plane and stretching my legs.

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I am a 3M on DL and 1M on UA, with all that flying I can not remember a time when I stayed on the plane at an airport. Now have had the change of aircraft midway which always have a seat number change. No airline has to deal with complexities that Amtrak has with reservations. I am sure Anderson has learned now how different the two companies are, both being big transporters of people.

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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.

 

The fortress/hub and focus/spoke system did away with most multi-segment direct flights and the sub-fleet home base maintenance and operations protocols did away with most of the rest. I've sometimes encountered direct flights with multiple segments on US legacies but despite having the same flight number they almost always require an aircraft change for each segment.

 

 

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.

WN may be the exception but it's also the closest comparison to Amtrak.

 

And they manage seating the same way. So your point is?

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And they manage seating the same way. So your point is?

 

 

Not at all... on Southwest it's first come first serve seating. With various passengers being given priority boarding for various reasons. I've never had a Southwest Flight Attendant tell me where I had to sit for various logical or ilogical reasons like they do on Amtrak long distance.

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And they manage seating the same way. So your point is?

 

 

Not at all... on Southwest it's first come first serve seating. With various passengers being given priority boarding for various reasons. I've never had a Southwest Flight Attendant tell me where I had to sit for various logical or ilogical reasons like they do on Amtrak long distance.

 

I was really only referring to the management of seating in the reservation system. Neither does. Operationally during the trip, Southwest does not have to worry about spotting the consist and opening only certain doors, since a 737 really only has one.

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I understand Amtrak employees assigning cars to passengers, but the specific seat assignment is ridiculous. Some LD trains already allow passengers to choose their seats and I have yet to observe any issues with this set-up.

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I understand Amtrak employees assigning cars to passengers, but the specific seat assignment is ridiculous. Some LD trains already allow passengers to choose their seats and I have yet to observe any issues with this set-up.

Agreed. You can also assign a car, and then have several seats in that car assigned to passengers traveling together (both pairs and quads) and then you are forcing solo passengers to sit together, but not assigning specific seats.

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One of the key reasons airlines don’t allow passengers to stay on board, even if the flight is a through flight with the same equipment (which, as noted, is quite rare in non-Southwest operations) is that, legally, they can’t (well, they could, but it would be complicated/expensive).

 

The FAA requires one flight attendant for every 50 seats (not passengers, but actual seats fitted on the plane). The required FA crew must be on board (meaning on the plane, not in the gate area, not even on the jetway next to the boarding door) before a single passenger can be on the plane.

 

Since virtually all non-Southwest flights in the US serve an airline’s hub (or focus city/mini-hub), there is a high likelihood that, even if the plane is continuing, the crew isn’t. Therefore, once the last passenger is off the plane, the FAs leave. The next crew doesn’t board the plane until shortly before boarding. Even if the crew is continuing on, if even one flight attendant had to step off the plane for any reason (assuming they are staffed at the legal minimum to begin with), the entire planeload of passengers would have to leave first. Therefore, it’s much easier to just make everyone get off and get back on as a matter of policy.

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I understand Amtrak employees assigning cars to passengers, but the specific seat assignment is ridiculous. Some LD trains already allow passengers to choose their seats and I have yet to observe any issues with this set-up.

 

You do realize this is passenger selected seating, right?

Edited by Thirdrail7

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I understand Amtrak employees assigning cars to passengers, but the specific seat assignment is ridiculous. Some LD trains already allow passengers to choose their seats and I have yet to observe any issues with this set-up.

You do realize this is passenger selected seating, right?

I think he was referring to the current set up where passengers are assigned a specific seat # when boarding.

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I know the assigned seat policy is often used when the Coach cars are very full to expedite passengers getting seated, so they are not walking car to car searching and having some passengers making the seat next to them look occupied.

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I know the assigned seat policy is often used when the Coach cars are very full to expedite passengers getting seated, so they are not walking car to car searching and having some passengers making the seat next to them look occupied.

I'm not saying that never happens, but in my experience most trains seem to always do it or always don't. For example, I have been on the Silver Star 13 times in the last year alone (which includes boarding at 4 different stations) and every time a seat was assigned by the crew. However, I have also noticed that at major stops an employee mentions the seat check system before boarding, so if this was done at all major stations it would make it much easier for passengers to pick their own seat and tell if individual seats are occupied.

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I understand Amtrak employees assigning cars to passengers, but the specific seat assignment is ridiculous. Some LD trains already allow passengers to choose their seats and I have yet to observe any issues with this set-up.

You do realize this is passenger selected seating, right?

I think he was referring to the current set up where passengers are assigned a specific seat # when boarding.
Yes, I was referring to the current system.

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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.

 

I just boarded WN 579. We’re going SAT-BWI-GRR-MDW-TPA.

 

I’m getting off in Baltimore. :D

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The airline reservation system software wasn't written to handle seat pre/-selection for a flight making several stops with many getting off and on. Southwest wants their planes to make the series of stops, but also never wants to get saddled with the burden of maintaining a cumbersome complex reservation system with interactive capabilities.

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The airline reservation system software wasn't written to handle seat pre/-selection for a flight making several stops with many getting off and on. Southwest wants their planes to make the series of stops, but also never wants to get saddled with the burden of maintaining a cumbersome complex reservation system with interactive capabilities.

Southwest has used assigned seating in the past so the reservation software presumably supports it on some level. Assigned seating was tested and shelved many years ago following trials which found that open seating remained the fastest practical method for quickly turning 737 sized aircraft.

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The airline reservation system software wasn't written to handle seat pre/-selection for a flight making several stops with many getting off and on. Southwest wants their planes to make the series of stops, but also never wants to get saddled with the burden of maintaining a cumbersome complex reservation system with interactive capabilities.

Southwest has used assigned seating in the past so the reservation software presumably supports it on some level. Assigned seating was tested and shelved many years ago following trials which found that open seating remained the fastest practical method for quickly turning 737 sized aircraft.
They also changed their reservation system recently, as their previous system wasnt capable of handling international flights, which they started doing in the past few years. Edited by Trogdor

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Nor was it capable of red-eye flights.

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The limitations of Southwest's old system are kinda understandable. After all it was basically a jury rigged system based on a stripped down version of Braniff's Cowboy system.

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Alaska Airlines still has some thru milk runs making multi stops at smaller cities ...

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Just to give a counter example, in India, Air India, Jet Airways and IndiGo have multi-hop flights where passengers stay on at intermediate stops if they are traveling beyond. The reservation systems of all three are able to handle seat assignments (biooth by agents and by passengers themselves on the web site) for these, and sometimes it even involves changing a seat at one of those intermediate stops, and such change is carried out in the aircraft after those disembarking have left and before those embarking come on board. The arriving crew stays on board until the departing crew gets on board and gets a handover from the arriving crew. Housekeeping crew does a quick once over while the through passengers remain on board.

 

So there is no rocket science involved, and if a bunch of airlines in third world countries can swing it I am sure American ingenuity can achieve it too. And at least on the first two, they serve complementary hot food even in economy. Actually the food is very good. On the third you can purchase food, and as a matter of fact you can pre-purchase food voucher when purchasing the ticket too. But that is another story.

 

Interestingly the airline that sells food as opposed to providing complementary food is by far the most profitable, and the largest domestic airline in India. I don;t know if there is a lesson to be learned there. But whatever.

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Piedmont had numerous milk runs. They’d stop, turn off the port engine, roll up the steps and deplaning passengers go down and the line of passengers waiting on the tarmac get on. The doors close, port engine starts and off to the next city.

 

Those days are gone as is Piedmont.

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Here's one I took on Delta back in the 80s: ORD-DTW-CLE-BVT-MHT. And they actually served dinner between Cleveland and Burlington, VT.

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But in the 1980"s you did not have interactive seat selection software. IIRC it was pull tab stick ons at the gate they put on to your Boarding Pass.

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