Sleeper Prices- WOW!!

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by ciship, Sep 17, 2018.

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  1. Sep 20, 2018 #51

    niemi24s

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    Book the entire trip as soon as your husband knows when he can get off work. As of now (and it may be different tomorrow).....

    • For LAX to SAS, the Roomette upcharge is $272 for 1 - 30 Mar 2019 which is $80 above the low bucket of $192.

    • For AUS to LAX, the Roomette upcharge is a low bucket of $192 except for 16 Mar 2019 when it's $80 more or $272. However, this is not a daily train as it departs Aus for LAX only on Tu, Th and Sa

    Once you book (to simply insure you have the sleeping accommodations you desire - in spite of price) if the price goes down, call Amtrak and have your ticket modified to the lower fare - and get a full or partial refund. If you try waiting until the Roomette upcharge decreases there's a chance it may never decrease or of it does, the Roomettes may all be sold out by the time you notice or are notified by AmSnag.
     
  2. Sep 20, 2018 #52

    cpotisch

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    How could that possibly be the case? If you look at even a few days of sleeper prices, you will almost certainly see that the price varies.
     
  3. Sep 20, 2018 #53

    cpotisch

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    For a trip like that, I usually have to book at least five or six months in advance. There are just so many factors, and any closer it's near impossible to make sure everything falls into place.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2018 #54

    niemi24s

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    You're blithely assuming the average Amtrak sleeper passenger even looks at more than one day of sleeper prices. If their travel is date-sensitive they probably don't. They simply decide on the date and then buy the ticket online or at the station. Of course, most AU members use AmSnag to look at 30 days of sleeper prices but we are far from the average Amtrak sleeper passenger. I think it's a mistake to assume the average Amtrak sleeper passenger knows as much as most AU members know (or think they know) about sleeper price variability.

    IMHO, suspect most Amtrak sleeper passengers don't have the time or inclination to fritter away countless hours on this website and are ignorant (aka not knowledgeable) in these matters.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2018 #55

    RSG

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    I feel sorry for the people who might rely on travel agents to book travel on Amtrak, since I've never encountered one who says they specialize or even have an interest in rail travel. (Most seem to specialize in cruises, since that's where a large part of their business comes from in the current era of non-commissionable travel.) To that end, I'm not surprised about their ignorance.

    ETA: I think part of the reason people, including travel professionals, don't understand that fares might vary on Amtrak is because they are the only passenger rail service they believe they operate like a monopolistic provider, similar to the way 'Ma Bell' did with telephone service for decades. If they're lucky, they might see some marketing for fare sales but even then might attribute them to seasonal discounts rather than a true sale.

    Contrast that to the airlines, with which travelers have been accustomed to expect regular sales, all sorts of discounts and plenty of media-driven tips about when to buy tickets for the "best deal" (even if that deal is not the true cost of traveling with the provider).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2018
  6. Sep 20, 2018 #56

    cpotisch

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    Most people have at least some date flexibility if they're planning a vacation. And you don't need to be a brilliant train buff or AU member to comprehend that there seem to be certain specific prices for a certain itinerary. I was eight years old when I first wanted to take Amtrak long distance, and it didn't take me long at all to notice that prices vary, and I had very minimal knowledge about trains back then. I doubt that most people don't have any flexibility and are too "ignorant" to understand this stuff.
     
  7. Sep 20, 2018 #57

    jebr

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    I'd agree with the point that most Amtrak passengers (including sleeper passengers) don't know the intricacies of Amtrak's pricing mechanisms, and perhaps may not realize how much the prices vary between days. I'm sure there's even more potential customers for Amtrak that look at a date, see it's expensive, perhaps look at one other date to see if it varies, and if the price stays the same or stays "high" they write off Amtrak (likely forever, or at least for years) and book their flight or fill up their gas tank and drive. That person wouldn't know to go to AmSnag, see the lower fares on certain days, and schedule their trip around that if they can (or at least have the knowledge that sometimes Amtrak is within budget, so they'll come back for another trip and see if that's within budget.) However, if Amtrak had a clear "calendar view" tool, that same person would click on that, take a look, and see that the prices can vary a lot, and maybe a few days are within budget so they plan around those days.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2018
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  8. Sep 20, 2018 #58

    railiner

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    IIRC, doesn't VIA Rail have a "calendar tool" to search for the best fares? If so, wonder why Amtrak doesn't do likewise..... [​IMG]
     
  9. Sep 20, 2018 #59

    cpotisch

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    I'm looking on the site now, and I don't see it. It's more than likely that it's there and I'm staring straight at it, but I don't see a tool like that.
     
  10. Sep 20, 2018 #60

    Maglev

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    Based on LAX-CHI prices, this appears to be the second lowest of five bucket prices. The fare would only go about $130 lower, but could also go $400 higher. Also, in monitoring prices for SEA-LAX, LAX-CHI, and MSP-PDX (for one particular day in January) ; I have seen a great deal of variation in prices on other trains, but the SWC prices have not changed in six months--they have remained at the second bucket for both Roomettes and Bedrooms.
     
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  11. Sep 21, 2018 #61

    zephyr17

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    Not that I know of and I am pretty familiar with VIA
     
  12. Sep 28, 2018 #62

    Kenneth

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    While checking prices to go round trip St. Louis, MO to San Antonio, TX. I got a roomette cheaper booking Chicago to San Antonio. Round trip.
     
  13. Sep 28, 2018 #63

    Bob Dylan

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    Yep, Amtrak often does this to keep space open for the Longer Haul LD Passengers.
     
  14. Sep 28, 2018 #64

    Devil's Advocate

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    What is the point of overpricing intermediate space if they're just going to squander their leverage on a cheaper fare over a longer distance? How does Amtrak's financial position benefit from this example?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2018
  15. Sep 28, 2018 #65

    niemi24s

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    If by ". . .I got a roomette cheaper booking Chicago to San Antonio." you actually booked the CHI to SAS round trip, if you fail to board the train in Chicago your entire booking will be cancelled. Hopefully, you were just looking - without booking.
     
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  16. Sep 28, 2018 #66

    cpotisch

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    Sorry, so your ticket says that you'll be boarding in Chicago but you'll actually board in St. Louis? I wouldn't do that. If you don't board from where you're ticketed, there's a very high chance that they mark you as a no show and cancel your ticket.

    EDIT: Darn, just saw that niemi24s beat me to it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2018
  17. Sep 28, 2018 #67

    railiner

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    I went back to their site, and could not find it. I thought that I did see it recently, when I received an email from them pushing their Tuesday special's, and when following the link provided, eventually got to a point where I could select different dates at different fares....could not find that otherwise, since then...

    Perhaps I was looking at something else entirely, and just got them confused.... [​IMG]
     
  18. Sep 28, 2018 #68

    zephyr17

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    Ah yes, I know what you are talking about. Their "Tuesday Sale" and related "Sleeper Plus Deals" sale site does have multiple days, but only for the "clearance sale" type deals that they are offering deep discounts on. It lists the city pairs there are sales on (like "Toronto-Vancouver 16 deals") and it will show you all the the dates and accomodations there are sale deals for. Note it is ONLY for the deals that are available right then, and does not show anything resembling a comprehensive selection of prices, dates, and accommodations, only the super specials. It is not integrated with their regular or discount fares. Amtrak used to have similar page that only had special deals, but I don't see it any more.

    Via is a whole lot simpler anyway. They don't do extensive yield management. Aside from the special Tuesday and Sleeper Plus deals, they only have regular and discount fares, which don't vary except by season. So there are regular and discount fares for Summer (high), Shoulder, and Winter. And you choose whether you want regular or discount quoted. It is very transparent and simple, so they don't really multiple day options like the airlines offer or Amsnag shows, because aside from the special deals, the fares don't change.

    They are leaving money on the table by not doing much yield management, but I hope they don't change it any time soon. It makes planning much simpler.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2018
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  19. Sep 28, 2018 #69

    GBNorman

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    Could what Zephyr17 immediately notes be a reason VIA hardly delivers the same value to its taxpayers as does Amtrak to theirs?
     
  20. Sep 28, 2018 #70

    cpotisch

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    What do you mean by that?
     
  21. Sep 29, 2018 #71

    railiner

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    Thanks so much for that explanation....I was worried that I "was losing it", searching high and low for that...now I can relax.... [​IMG]
     

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