Luggage Not Loaded on LD Train --- Options??

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Saddleshoes, Jul 15, 2017.

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  1. Jul 15, 2017 #1

    Saddleshoes

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    Saddleshoes

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    OK, I had my first major problem with Amtrak's Long Distance Trains on my last trip. (I actually love Amtrak and use it often.)

    The plan called from me to go to Glenwood Springs CO on the CZ. The I would ride my bike to La Junta CO and return home on the SWC.

    The problem was that Amtrak requires me to remove all my gear off the bike and checking it as luggage. OK fine. However the station agent failed to load my gear on to the train. (Regulations require me to assist loading my bike into the baggage car.)

    The result was I had to wait a full day for my gear to catch up with me and my bike before I could move on with my bike tour.

    My question is what were my options at that point? 1. Would Amtrak have shipped my gear to a yet to be determined camp ground/hotel/hostel the next day?

    2. Should I send a bill to Amtrak for the unplanned hotel stay I had while waiting for my gear? 3. Should I ask for some kind of compensation? 4. Does anybody have any suggestions?

    The truth is the extra day I spent in Glenwood Springs was delightful and no burden. However, I would like to learn how to handle this problem for the next time.

    My plan is to send a letter to Amtrak management and suggest that If I am helping to load my bike into the baggage car anyway then I should be allowed to keep my gear mounted on the bike, thereby avoiding this problem.

    (Looking forward to responses from this knowledgeable community.)

    My bike loaded on the way to the station

    [​IMG]

    My bike in Glenwood Springs awaiting the gear to arrive.

    [​IMG]

    022.JPG

    027.JPG
     
  2. Jul 15, 2017 #2

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    I don't see why they would not let you carry your gear aboard. That way, you would know it was aboard!

    Since it was the fault of Amtrak (the agent did not load checked baggage), I would contact Customer RELATIONS to explain the situation. Call the 800 number and ask the agent for Customer Relations (not Customer Service).
     
  3. Jul 15, 2017 #3

    PVD

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    The new baggage cars have bike racks, I'm not sure you could leave the gear on in a practical fashion. Of course, that does not excuse their failure to load it separately.
     
  4. Jul 15, 2017 #4

    KmH

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    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    What a great plan and and no doubt an interesting ride from Glenwood Springs to La Junta..

    Did you board in Galesburg?

    Did you **** off the station agent?

    With that statement why do you feel you need compensation?

    https://www.amtrak.com/lost-items-limited-liability-for-baggage

    Amtrak won't likely honor a bill for your overnight in Glenwood Springs.

    Contacting Amtrak Customer Relations would seem the best option.

    How long did it take you to ride from Glenwood Springs to La Junta and did you take Hwy 82 & US 24?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2017
  5. Jul 15, 2017 #5

    TiBike

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    Given the wonderfully diverse ecosystem of touring rigs out there, I can't blame Amtrak for wanting to keep it simple. I do too. I want to minimise the opportunities for someone else to mess up my gear. Plus there's the weight issue – I see people out on the road hauling what looks to be at least 100 pounds worth of gear plus bike. It's not something you want to begin sorting out when the train is stopped in the station – better to be able to just load and go.

    The real answer is to do it the way corridor trains and European trains, even overnight ones, do it: let the passenger deal with it. Usually there are bike racks in particular cars, but even on trains without them, or when racks are full, it's handled without drama. Unfortunately, that's beyond the comprehension of Amtrak's long distance people.

    Nice bike, by the way. One suggestion, though: when posting bike porn, higher resolution is better. I like to see all the bits :p
     
  6. Jul 15, 2017 #6

    BCL

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    I don't see how you would be able to seek compensation. The only compensation is for losing your baggage, and in the end they got it to you. Now I could imagine that if you have to leave, you could request that Amtrak transport your stuff to a convenient station for pickup. Baggage service is not guaranteed, although it's usually reliable.

    You probably would have been better off taking your gear with you as carry on rather than checking it in separately.
     
  7. Jul 15, 2017 #7

    neroden

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    Contrary to the incorrect statements by some people here, Amtrak owes you. Part of your contract of carriage is that they will load your baggage and send it as scheduled, and they failed to carry out their part of the contract.

    Talk to Customer Relations and you will get some form of compensation.

    How *much* they owe you is an open question, and probably not worth fighitng about.
     
  8. Jul 15, 2017 #8

    looshi

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    You could probably get a voucher if you complain to customer relations.
     
  9. Jul 15, 2017 #9

    MikefromCrete

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    Because an Amtrak employee failed to do their job.
     
  10. Jul 15, 2017 #10

    BCL

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    Consequential liability is expressly excluded except for transportation of the passenger when a guaranteed connection is missed. And of course they have specific terms for liability when baggage is lost of damaged.

    https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241337896158

    I get that one might request something like a voucher, but that's separate from Amtrak's actual terms and conditions for passenger service.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2017 #11

    Saddleshoes

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  12. Jul 16, 2017 #12

    neroden

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    Disclaimers of implied warranty are generally not legally valid. I know they're popular, but they mean nothing.

    "Applicable law may not allow the exclusion of implied warranties, so the above exclusions may not apply to you."

    "Some states may not allow the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you."

    The implied warranty of "I check my baggage, you send it on the train with me (or ahead of me)" continues to exist. The airlines used to claim that they didn't warranty that and that they could put your baggage on any later plane. USAir got caught delaying luggage systematically and lost in court despite their meaningless warranty disclaimer. This was back in, geez, the early 1990s.

    Seriously, though, the inconvenience was minor for this passenger, and as a result, I would expect Amtrak to provide a small voucher. In cases where the passenger is absolutely furious due to egregious actions by Amtrak (i.e. not by the freight railroads, not by 'acts of god'), Amtrak will often refund the ticket price, because they don't want to end up in court with a bad-looking case.

    The purpose of these clauses is to limit Amtrak's liability to the minimum possible. They are typically written to disclaim more liability than they actually *can*, legally. When a company has actually failed to provide the service they advertised due to their own actions, they are typically liable for actual damages regardless of disclaimers, and they know it.

    This is actually the only instance I've ever heard of of a station agent failing to check luggage which was given to them in the proper form; it's pretty outlandish. I'd expect Amtrak to be quite apologetic.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2017
  13. Jul 16, 2017 #13

    BCL

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    Sure. However, what attorney would take a case over the cost of a hotel room and maybe a $100 voucher?

    For the most part I wouldn't expect Amtrak to do anything other than hand out some funny money and give an insincere apology. Airlines haven't been successfully sued for consequential damages as a result of not getting a passenger to the destination on time or even mishandling bags as long as they were finally located. I don't suspect Amtrak would be any different.
     
  14. Jul 16, 2017 #14

    neroden

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    Yeah, the USAir case was successful because it was a *systematic* thing, an actual *policy* of delaying luggage, so it qualified as a class action, interested the attorney general, etc. If it's just one employee screwing up, nobody's going to go to court over an insignificant amount of money unless they're really, really mad.
     
  15. Jul 16, 2017 #15

    BCL

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    Well - some attorneys have been known to file lawsuits out of principle, and with the idea that they're not paying an attorney. I think some people try handling such cases themselves. I think the cost of court fees might be more than what someone could get back.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2017 #16

    anumberone

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    The thing I have a hard time with, if you loaded the bike, why didn't you load the luggage also?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2017
  17. Jul 16, 2017 #17

    BCL

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    Apparently only bicycles are required to be escorted to the baggage car by the owner. It sounds like the rest of the checked in baggage have to be done the regular way at the ticket window (or perhaps baggage counter at certain stations).
     
  18. Jul 16, 2017 #18

    TiBike

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    That's correct. You check your luggage the usual way, then wheel up your bike.

    I don't know what happened in the OP's particular situation. But hypothetically, if you don't know all the fine print in Amtrak's rules and just roll your loaded bike up to the train – either because you didn't check in with an agent or the agent didn't notice what was on your bike – then it'll have to be dealt with after the train pulls in and the conductor sees what you have. So you'd have to pull your stuff off of your bike and, likely, give it to the agent trainside, hoping he/she will be able to deal with the irregularity. If the station is short staffed or there's a lot going on at the moment or if the agent doesn't give a damn, then it could be left behind.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2017
  19. Jul 16, 2017 #19

    me_little_me

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    Not only did we arrive 4 hours late resulting in missing the car rental hours and having to stay overnight at a local hotel even though we had pre-paid reservations elsewhere but Amtrak didn't take my bag off the baggage car. Thus it went on, was put on another train and they had to deliver it to my local hotel two hours later.

    After returning home, I simply explained in an email to customer service what had happened and stated it wasn't acceptable. Right away, I got a canned reply they had received it and within 24 hours of my complaint, I got a $300 voucher via email. The outgoing portion was only $275. there were no problems on the return. Try that with an airline!
     

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