More restrictive ticketing non refundable no changes coming soon

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Amtrakfflyer, Dec 13, 2019.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Dec 13, 2019 #1

    Amtrakfflyer

    A

    Amtrakfflyer

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Messages:
    392
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
    Misty. and daybeers like this.
  2. Dec 13, 2019 #2

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Acela150

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    8,622
    Location:
    In a Sea of Foam
    Behind a paywall.
     
  3. Dec 13, 2019 #3

    Palmetto

    Palmetto

    Palmetto

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,880
    Location:
    Southmost Texas
    Wait until the baggage fees start.
     
    daybeers, railiner and Rail Freak like this.
  4. Dec 13, 2019 #4

    crescent-zephyr

    c

    crescent-zephyr

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Messages:
    2,062
    Not for me?
     
  5. Dec 13, 2019 #5

    Qapla

    Qapla

    Qapla

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2019
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Gator Country Florida
    I could not read the article ...
     
  6. Dec 13, 2019 #6

    Chey

    Chey

    Chey

    Lead Service Attendant AU Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Messages:
    416
    Location:
    NW TX
    When I clicked the link it gave the headline but said a Business Insider Prime membership is require to access the article.
     
  7. Dec 13, 2019 #7

    niemi24s

    n

    niemi24s

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2015
    Messages:
    2,083
    This is all I could manage to capture before the "join" window blocked everything:

    ATK Rumor.jpg

    Oh goody. A leaked memo about what Amtrak is considering. Think of all the dastardly things Amtrak considers that aren't leaked!! :eek:
     
  8. Dec 13, 2019 #8

    41bridge

    4

    41bridge

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Messages:
    12
    REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    • Amtrak is considering making its cheapest fares nonrefundable and nonchangeable, according to an internal memo seen by Business Insider.
    • Other fares will see a 25% cancellation fee and 15% change fee within 14 days of travel.
    • Ancillary revenue and more fare segmentation has been a big focus of Amtrak leadership recently, as they seek to bring many airline-style practices to the railroad.

    https://markets.businessinsider.com...ble-fares-2020-leaked-memo-2019-12-1028763138


    A screw job for the passengers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  9. Dec 13, 2019 #9

    Qapla

    Qapla

    Qapla

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2019
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Gator Country Florida
    And much of this is because they just don't want to admit that the highway and skyway systems are Gov't supported so they want Amtrak to be "profitable" without the same amount of "free assistance" the other means of travel get.
     
    Skyline and AFS1970 like this.
  10. Dec 14, 2019 #10

    jis

    jis

    jis

    Conductor AU Lifetime Supporter Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    25,235
    Location:
    Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
  11. Dec 14, 2019 #11

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,489
    Location:
    Baltimore. MD
    According to RPA, the average sleeper fare is about $280. I would suspect that a $2,000 fare is not one of the low-bucket fares that will become non-refundable. I also suspect that last-minute walk-up fares will continue to be refundable, although a passenger buying them at the last minute will have less reason to cancel their trip.

    And why should this not hurt corridor travelers as much as long-distance travelers? I'm not sure whether this is the smartest thing for Amtrak to do, especially when they don't have on-time performance under control, but, on the other hand, the airlines do it, and people still fly.
     
  12. Dec 14, 2019 #12

    amtrakpass

    a

    amtrakpass

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    114
    I could understand a small cancellation fee for a cash refund but why have a fee for a evoucher? I wouldn't even mind if the evoucher had a shorter time period where you had to use it. I work on call and my work schedule varies. It is impossible for me to not have to change travel plans on occasion as I expect it is for many other folks for their own reasons
     
    RSG likes this.
  13. Dec 14, 2019 #13

    lordsigma

    l

    lordsigma

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2017
    Messages:
    737
    I think the fee/restrictions are going to be based on what tier of ticket you get. The $2000 trip is going to be fine as it’s for a sleeper. “Flexible” tier coach/Acela business tickets and premium tickets (premium would be northeast regional and state supported business class, Acela first, and long distance business/sleeper) will still have flexible cancellations/changes. It’s if you buy a saver or value coach/Acela business where the fees will come in to play. Saver fares are going to be the most restrictive.
     
    LookingGlassTie likes this.
  14. Dec 14, 2019 #14

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,489
    Location:
    Baltimore. MD
    Actually, sleeper fares (or at least the accommodation charge) already has some cancellation penalties. I think they apply if you cancel within 14 days of the trip. I had to do that about 5 years ago. I think the rail fare was refundable to my credit card (minus a penalty), but the sleeper charge wasn't. They did offer an e-voucher for the whole thing without penalties, which is what I took, as I ride the corridor a lot, and so had a reasonable expectation of spending down the whole $400 (which I did.)
     
  15. Dec 14, 2019 #15

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,421
    Location:
    South Florida
    It comes as no surprise to me, especially considering who is running Amtrak, that they are using more and more of airline means to raise revenue...
    As Palmetto has said...it’s probably only a matter of time before baggage fees come along...
     
    Rasputin likes this.
  16. Dec 14, 2019 #16

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,657
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    A good thing about taking Amtrak vs flying is that there is no change fee on Amtrak instead of the LARGE change fee on most airline tickets.

    However, in case of inclement weather, most airlines a few days in advance will post a notice and give you an opportunity to change your flight without a change fee or additional cost for a flight on another day. Amtrak gives you this opportunity also, without a change fee - but you MUST pay the current fare of the new ticket!

    A good example of this is my trip in early December. With a major snowstorm approaching the northeast on Monday, airlines knowing there will be delays and possible airport closures, offered an opportunity to change your flight beginning the weekend before. I had a reservation on Amtrak on Monday morning during the height of the storm. I was not given that opportunity! My choices were get to the station on Monday morning or change to another train and pay a fare of $160 instead of $95!

    So I got a ride to the station. Besides driving slow, we had to follow a snowplow for MILES. As we pulled up to the station, the train was pulling in! If we got there a minute later, I would have missed the train and lost my reservation. (And yes, I left early from home due to the weather.)

    So I see one advantage of flying instead of taking Amtrak. I would have loved to have the opportunity to change without an additional cost. True, there was no change fee, but I would have had to pay $65 more for a new ticket.
     
  17. Dec 14, 2019 #17

    Metra Electric Rider

    M

    Metra Electric Rider

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    785
    But the train was running while planes might have been ground.

    If you'd been late to the airport and the plane was on time you would have lost your fare as well. The airlines only do that to keep people out of the airport when they are pretty sure they won't be flying, they don't care about whether you can get there or not. And Amtrak refunds if they cancel don't they?

    (it also seems to me that Amtrak has done this in advance of hurricanes and such)
     
    RSG likes this.
  18. Dec 14, 2019 #18

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Messages:
    18,642
    Location:
    Austin Texas
    Along with "Fees" for picking your seat, talking with a Live Agent, paper tickets, change fees etc. etc.:rolleyes::(
     
    railiner, RSG and jiml like this.
  19. Dec 14, 2019 #19

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,657
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    Yes, Amtrak has if they cancel or may cancel the train.

    In my case, I could not change to a different train without paying more. And due to road conditions, it was advised for no unnecessary travel. (My necessary travel was to get to the station - or pay a much higher fare.) If it was an airline, I could have changed and left earlier or later.
     
  20. Dec 14, 2019 #20

    RichieRich

    R

    RichieRich

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2016
    Messages:
    190
    I've had many AT trips canceled (email/text notification) on the way TO the station when planes were flying!!! . YES, you do get a refund,,,but you are on your own to reschedule yourself (at the going rate). I've met people that stayed at the Comfort Inn for THREE days waiting for an opening.
     
  21. Dec 14, 2019 #21

    RSG

    R

    RSG

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains USA
    From my experience over the past 18 months, a cancellation fee applies for everything except the fully refundable coach tickets after the change-your-mind cancellation window has passed. This, of course, applies no matter if you choose a refund (which is often not available) or an eVoucher. The only way around this is to rebook travel for a future date, then cancel the rebooking within the free cancellation window.

    There are two issues I have with any additional changes to the current policy. One, if the only option is an eVoucher, then no cancellation fee should apply (and the no-change-fee should be retained, if for no other reason than to differentiate rail travel from the airlines). I would allow an exception for travel cancelled within 24 hours of departure, but still, that would be more restrictive than what the airlines used to have as routine policy.

    Two, there is currently little benefit for AGR members, other than the accumulation of points for reward travel. Even the upper tier benefits largely only benefit corridor travelers (such as complimentary anytime lounge access). Contrast that to most hotel chains and some airlines, where the better a customer one is the more benefits one receives--in addition to higher point accumulations--and having most fees waived. There are many reasons for the monopolistic nature of US rail travel, but the company providing the service doesn't have to act like an exclusive provider of the service.
     
    daybeers likes this.
  22. Dec 14, 2019 #22

    RSG

    R

    RSG

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains USA
    Is this really any different than when airlines cancel flights? I've seen news stories of people stranded in the airport when flights are cancelled and after a particularly nasty weather event, the news crews will go back after the weather has cleared for a follow-up story and there will be at least one traveler (usually a family) who will say they've spent the past three nights in a hotel waiting to be rebooked. They are rarely asked, but I know I would be safe in saying it was at their own expense. (In these cases, travel insurance would likely have covered at least part of any additional expense, just sayin'.)

    Similarly, when I cancel Amtrak reservations for exactly the scenario @the_traveler presents, I've been asked by friends why I didn't just take the airlines to start the trip. But when 500 flights are canceled at the nearest airport for the same reason, nobody is leaving via that method anytime soon, least of all a new customer without a prior reservation. It's just one of the hazards of modern travel; airlines aren't adding more flights after a severe weather event just as Amtrak isn't adding more trains (or cars) after a similar event.
     
  23. Dec 14, 2019 #23

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,657
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    No, it’s not different. But the airlines give you a choice to rebook before you even leave for the airport - and for the same fare!

    Last January, I flew to Miami. Before I returned, there was a big snowstorm that was expected to snail air traffic. So Delta offered a no change fee option. I was “stuck” in Miami for 2 days while temperatures were about 0° and the was 2 feet of snow in NYS! (Yes, I had to pay for a hotel - but at least I knew about it in advance and when I was leaving.)
     
  24. Dec 14, 2019 #24

    RSG

    R

    RSG

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2012
    Messages:
    575
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains USA
    Part of the reason is the way airline travel is priced and booked, with classes for each fare category. (Largely as a legacy from the days of regulated air travel). So if a passenger is holding a ticket for a "Q" class seat, then rebooking is done at the same class level, ie, the "Q" class. If no seats are available for that class, then another class would be offered, but at the prevailing price differential.

    Could Amtrak do something similar? Yes, but that would upend the pricing and fare model in place for decades. (It would be easy/ier if they would give a waiver based on AGR status and would at least soften the blow for otherwise unhappy passengers.) But implementing an across-the-board change would be like offering a food item after the diner has closed---just not doable.

    But let's not give the airlines too many props for this seemingly benevolent policy. As Metra Electric Rider noted, the reason the airlines are proactive is because they don't want people hanging out at the airport---or more accurately, they don't want pictures of people hanging out at the airport because flights were cancelled and passengers claimed to be given insufficient notice. As a side benefit, they receive positive PR when news sources announce that change fees are being waived in advance or during a storm. (Never mind the fact that change fees weren't even a thing not that long ago.) It makes them look like good guys at the same time someone somewhere in the parent company is figuring out how to cram another row of seats in an already crowded aircraft or reduce the in-cabin airflow in order to save on fuel costs.
     
  25. Dec 14, 2019 #25

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    bratkinson

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Messages:
    756
    Location:
    QB 101
    As one of the mobsters in the movie "The Godfather" remarked..."It's only business." Clearly, Anderson will do whatever it takes to make Amtrak 'profitable'. At least, in terms of direct operating costs.

    What makes bundles of money for the airlines? Baggage fees. Cancellation fees. Reservation changes. He is simply doing what works to bring in more money. Fortunately, for the airlines, due to an artificially induced lack of aircraft (before the Boeing 737 problems) almost all seats get sold, so making extra money by fees and more fees is the way to keep the investors happy and bonuses for the big shots. Banks are no different these days, either.

    I consider the increased change/cancellation fees (aka, penalties) and the sudden jump in base coach fares for LD trains to be Andersons' 'magic bullet' formula to making Amtrak completely profitable. Remember that myth? To me, it's like PSR. The railroads claim they've gotten the operating ratio (operating costs divided by gross sales) super low and see how well they are doing. Truth told, their total sales are down significantly due to higher prices and customers getting less service. In all likelihood, Anderson will some day be able to crow 'our operating ratio is 65%, like the railroads' but at the cost of losing 30% or more of the passengers due to higher prices, high fees, and reduction of services, and probably fewer trains, too. I count myself as one of those passengers that won't be traveling Amtrak nearly as much as I have as a result.

    'It's only business' is how he's running the show, pure and simple.
     

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page



arrow_white