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SSL seating etiquette?

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I will be traveling alone on the CZ in a couple of weeks. I am an early riser and pretty much at the dining car as soon as it opens. When I was on the EB and going through Glacier, I ate and headed off to the SSL. Worked out well for me. Got a primo seat and I was able to make it all the way through Glacier before a "nature break" was required.

 

 

I would like to maintain a seat in the SSL but would not want to breach any code of etiquette practices. Is it OK to throw down a sweater or something to reserve a quick trip to the bathroom? Or perhaps ask a fellow passenger to reserve my seat?

 

One etiquette practice that I wish others would practice is silence. ;) I remember going through Glacier, seeing all of those awesome views. It was just something that you wanted every bit of your attention. Some woman was yapping on and on about her car insurance or some other nonsense not in anyway related to the scenery. . At very high volume no less. While it was distracting the good news is she was not talking to ne but another passenger that you could tell wanted no part of the conversation put was too polite to say anything. I have no idea how you can pass through such a beautiful part of the country and just make idle chatter.

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If it's a quick trip to the bathroom (a couple minutes or less), I would say that it's okay to leave something on "your" seat to remove it. If you think you're gonna be in the bathroom or wherever for more than maybe 10 minutes, you really shouldn't be saving a seat for yourself. As to other people keeping quiet, good luck. :P

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If it's a quick trip to the bathroom (a couple minutes or less), I would say that it's okay to leave something on "your" seat to remove it. If you think you're gonna be in the bathroom or wherever for more than maybe 10 minutes, you really shouldn't be saving a seat for yourself. As to other people keeping quiet, good luck. :P

I agree, there is a very fine line between etiquette and seat hog in the SSL.

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Agree with cpotisch as to bathroom breaks. It is fine to do leave something to "save" your seat while you duck out for a quick bathroom break, but that is it. Some people have been known to leave stuff and go get a meal, which is NOT ok. Note that even in a short absence the 'mark' is not always respected.

 

As to conversations, if they are talking with their friends, there is no way to control that and it would be ruder still to shush them. The SSL is not a library, but a social gathering place. If people want to be social, that is fine. Cell phone conversations are a different matter. However, if they are using foul language, being abusive, or are visibly impaired, you are perfectly in your rights to report that to the conductor.

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As to conversations, if they are talking with their friends, there is no way to control that and it would be ruder still to shush them. The SSL is not a library, but a social gathering place. If people want to be social, that is fine. Cell phone conversations are a different matter. However, if they are using foul language, being abusive, or are visibly impaired, you are perfectly in your rights to report that to the conductor.

Exactly. There's conversation/socializing, and then there's loud, disruptive, and/or offensive language. If something clearly qualifies as any of the latter, it is completely within your rights (and within common decency) to report it to a crew member.

Edited by cpotisch

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If it's a quick trip to the bathroom (a couple minutes or less), I would say that it's okay to leave something on "your" seat to remove it. If you think you're gonna be in the bathroom or wherever for more than maybe 10 minutes, you really shouldn't be saving a seat for yourself. As to other people keeping quiet, good luck. :P

I agree, there is a very fine line between etiquette and seat hog in the SSL.

 

 

 

Oh I also agree. I would never try to reserve a seat all day while out doing who knows what. I certainly wouldn't want some doing that to me so I would never do that to others.

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d.

 

As to conversations, if they are talking with their friends, there is no way to control that and it would be ruder still to shush them. The SSL is not a library, but a social gathering place. If people want to be social, that is fine. Cell phone conversations are a different matter. However, if they are using foul language, being abusive, or are visibly impaired, you are perfectly in your rights to report that to the conductor.

 

 

Oh I don't think these people even knew one another. You could see where he was trying to avoid her and offered very brief responses at best. Seemed to me he just wanted to enjoy the view but at the same time not be rude. He also probably didn't want to give up his seat so he was sort of captive. I guess you can't use the excuse of wanting to sleep or read like you can on a plane to avoid a chatty fellow passenger when that glorious view is right outside the window. ;)

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I know it is not legal under FCC rules but it would be nice if they could jam cell phone signals in the lounges, diners and seating areas of the coaches. That would make for a much more enjoyable ride.

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This discussion has come up multiple times here. It is indeed a fine line. Seat hogs are rude, especially those who are paying no attention to what is going by outside the train. They can read in their room or at the their seat in the coach. One trip on the Zephyr a group of Amish (or Mennonite) folks took up residence in the entire lounge before breakfast and didn't move for hours, most playing games or reading. Finally a conductor made an announcement to the whole train to ask that people show some courtesy and allow others to also use the lounge. When I ride, I try to be considerate enough to stay no more than an hour at a stretch. I believe is they could use fewer tables upstairs and more "viewing" seats, but in today's environment we should happy a "non revenue" lounge exists. Some Amtrak bean counter will probably figure it will save $1 million a year to remove them from service.

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. The SSL is not a library,

This brings me to one of my gripes! I'll always remember my 1st LD trip,when in the SSL on the CL, the SSL was fully packed & these two elderly people were standing in the isle waiting for seats to open up. There was a couple & their two kids sitting there reading books & not looking at the scenery at all, while the couple were dodging folks walking to & from the diner. I guess it's just a pet peeve of mine, but come on , go to your seat or sleeper to read. I also had a guy tell me he was saving a seat for his daughter who was in thier room taking a nap!!! :angry: I sat down & told him I would get up when she returned, she never came back while I was there!

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If you can get semi-acquainted with someone next to you (casual chit-chat), mention to them you will be back in a few minutes. That might help with the jacket-on-the-seat technique.

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You hear announcements all the time,and especially in the evening, saying that if you want to use your cell phone (especially overnight) to go to the SSL. So no, it is not a library. But if it is overly loud or crude, report it.

 

As far as “saving” seats, a quick bathroom or cafe break is fine. A “I’m saving it for my _____ while (s)he goes back to the room for a few hours to take a nap” is not!

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. The SSL is not a library,

This brings me to one of my gripes! I'll always remember my 1st LD trip,when in the SSL on the CL, the SSL was fully packed & these two elderly people were standing in the isle waiting for seats to open up. There was a couple & their two kids sitting there reading books & not looking at the scenery at all, while the couple were dodging folks walking to & from the diner. I guess it's just a pet peeve of mine, but come on , go to your seat or sleeper to read. I also had a guy tell me he was saving a seat for his daughter who was in thier room taking a nap!!! :angry: I sat down & told him I would get up when she returned, she never came back while I was there!

 

 

And what is worse is people who take up lounge space and do nothing but look at a screen. Worse when it is kids; they should be enjoying the scenery and history passing by the windows. If I was a parent, the screens would stay at home.

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. The SSL is not a library,

This brings me to one of my gripes! I'll always remember my 1st LD trip,when in the SSL on the CL, the SSL was fully packed & these two elderly people were standing in the isle waiting for seats to open up. There was a couple & their two kids sitting there reading books & not looking at the scenery at all, while the couple were dodging folks walking to & from the diner. I guess it's just a pet peeve of mine, but come on , go to your seat or sleeper to read. I also had a guy tell me he was saving a seat for his daughter who was in thier room taking a nap!!! :angry: I sat down & told him I would get up when she returned, she never came back while I was there!

 

 

And what is worse is people who take up lounge space and do nothing but look at a screen. Worse when it is kids; they should be enjoying the scenery and history passing by the windows. If I was a parent, the screens would stay at home.

 

Every time I read these type of posts, I am reminded of one of the chair car attendants on the Rio Grande Zephyr....he enforced his rule of the dome seats were for sightseeing...he would tell people no books, other than route guides were allowed up there, and if he found you sleeping, he would wake you and send you to your assigned seat... :)

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I know it is not legal under FCC rules but it would be nice if they could jam cell phone signals in the lounges, diners and seating areas of the coaches. That would make for a much more enjoyable ride.

 

While I sympathize when it comes to loud cell phone conversations, I'm going to disagree with this one.

 

I use my phone to look up route guides, learn about the history of an area we're passing through, check our location on the map, send pictures of the scenery to family and friends, read the news, stream music (with headphones), and so on.

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Most people can have a conversation on their cell phone like a normal conversation. The annoying ones are those that feel they need to shout through the phone.

As for seat hogs. If there are people standing in the vestibules waiting for a seat and you've been there a couple hours? it might be considerate to head back to your seat or cabin.

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I know it is not legal under FCC rules but it would be nice if they could jam cell phone signals in the lounges, diners and seating areas of the coaches. That would make for a much more enjoyable ride.

 

So now we're proposing only allowing the most expensive fares (the sleeper cars) to even have the option of using their cell phone for connectivity? We'll take away one of the major advantages (especially for younger generations) of taking Amtrak over driving a car or flying, making it difficult to impossible for people to communicate with the outside world if they need to coordinate a ride or just want to text a friend about the experience, just so that some people find the ride a bit more enjoyable?

 

Let people enjoy the ride the way they like. Sure, if someone's having an extended conversation, they should probably do that in the lounge car (because that's where the conversations are happening, and it's the most appropriate venue to let passengers have quiet at their seats while still letting people have conversations.) But people like being able to share their experience with the outside world, or simply be more social if they want to. And some people just want to take a seat, have the natural light and scenery while enjoying the view intermittently. Let them enjoy it the way they want to, not the way you think they should.

Edited by jebr
Added second paragraph.

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And what is worse is people who take up lounge space and do nothing but look at a screen. Worse when it is kids; they should be enjoying the scenery and history passing by the windows. If I was a parent, the screens would stay at home.

 

I strongly disagree on this one (though that might be expected given my age). While there are definitely cases of kids focusing solely on their devices and completely neglecting their surroundings, you should also remember that a phone or tablet can be a great way to look up more about the route (in many ways, much better than a paper guide). In other words, electronics can be used to amplify the experience of looking out the window and enjoying the scenery, rather than detracting from it.

 

Also bear in mind that people probably aren't going to be spending all their time watching the scenery in the SSL, so leaving all screens at home altogether might be a bit cruel for kids who will want chill in their seat or room, and enjoy their electronics.

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I know it is not legal under FCC rules but it would be nice if they could jam cell phone signals in the lounges, diners and seating areas of the coaches. That would make for a much more enjoyable ride.

 

So now we're proposing only allowing the most expensive fares (the sleeper cars) to even have the option of using their cell phone for connectivity? We'll take away one of the major advantages (especially for younger generations) of taking Amtrak over driving a car or flying, making it difficult to impossible for people to communicate with the outside world if they need to coordinate a ride or just want to text a friend about the experience, just so that some people find the ride a bit more enjoyable?

 

Thank you! If you're spending multiple days in coach, on a train, wouldn't it be a tad cruel to be denied all internet and cell service for that entire ride? Does it actually make sense to say that because someone might be talking on their phone loudly, they should be deprived of virtually any entertainment or contact with the outside world? Give me a break.

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What those guys said.

 

We would be much better off if we concerned ourselves less with how people choose to spend their time.

 

Personally, I adhere to the age old adage “move your feet, lose your seat”.

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One of the "last bastion's" of cell phone - free environments, was the underground portion of the New York City subway system. Then they started placing towers in the station's, along with wifi.

So now, people are using their cell phones aboard the trains...they lose the signal for a few seconds, and then reconnect again at the next station. Probably only a matter of time before they wire the tunnels, too. I think it is a good thing, in general for communication's to exist, for public safety, if nothing else.

 

Even the new city buses have free wifi, and USB charging ports.

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One of the "last bastion's" of cell phone - free environments, was the underground portion of the New York City subway system. Then they started placing towers in the station's, along with wifi.

So now, people are using their cell phones aboard the trains...they lose the signal for a few seconds, and then reconnect again at the next station. Probably only a matter of time before they wire the tunnels, too. I think it is a good thing, in general for communication's to exist, for public safety, if nothing else.

 

Even the new city buses have free wifi, and USB charging ports.

I feel like people were using their cells and electronics on the subway well before they started sticking towers and wires underground. Could be wrong, but though underground service made things a lot easier, there didn't seem to be much of an uptick in the number of screens I see on the subway. Just my observation.

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Chicago has service in the tunnels now.

 

I miss hearing, “We’re going underground. I’ll have to call you back.” ;) Now people just yell over the tunnel noise.

 

Snark aside, I am glad. It’s good for emergencies and when I have to text a friend to let them know the train is running late.

Edited by SarahZ

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Before they put the towers in the stations, it was only in a very few spots, where for whatever reason, you could get a signal underground. Occasionally a weak signal would pass thru the ventilation shafts, in places where the tunnel was shallow, or there was a nearby cell tower. The old, analog bands worked better in those cases than the new digital ones, albeit with some noise in them.

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I know it is not legal under FCC rules but it would be nice if they could jam cell phone signals in the lounges, diners and seating areas of the coaches. That would make for a much more enjoyable ride.

 

So now we're proposing only allowing the most expensive fares (the sleeper cars) to even have the option of using their cell phone for connectivity? We'll take away one of the major advantages (especially for younger generations) of taking Amtrak over driving a car or flying, making it difficult to impossible for people to communicate with the outside world if they need to coordinate a ride or just want to text a friend about the experience, just so that some people find the ride a bit more enjoyable?

 

Thank you! If you're spending multiple days in coach, on a train, wouldn't it be a tad cruel to be denied all internet and cell service for that entire ride? Does it actually make sense to say that because someone might be talking on their phone loudly, they should be deprived of virtually any entertainment or contact with the outside world? Give me a break.

 

 

 

I didn't use my cell phone once during the whole trip other than to use it as a watch. What did people do before cell phones.

 

For me the train ride is a way to disconnect from the rest of the world. I don't want to know what is going on at home or work or anywhere else. I will deal with it when I get home.

 

Happily many of these lines don't have cell phone service.

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