The Official Onboard Sleeper Upgrade Thread

Discussion in 'Amtrak FAQs & First-Time Rider Info' started by DaveKCMO, Jan 2, 2007.

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  1. Jan 4, 2009 #76

    amtrakwolverine

    amtrakwolverine

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    seams like they don't want to bother with the hassle of the paper work.
     
  2. Jan 4, 2009 #77

    AlanB

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    Sadly that is true, there are some that don't want the extra work.

    Thankfully though there are also a good many who will do the paperwork and sell an empty room. :)
     
  3. Jan 5, 2009 #78

    amtrakwolverine

    amtrakwolverine

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    is amtrak commission. so if a conductor sells a empty room doesn't that mean he gets a bigger paycheck.
     
  4. Jan 5, 2009 #79

    AlanB

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    No there is no commission paid to a conductor for selling a room. He/she gets paid the same amount whether they sell a room or not.
     
  5. Jan 30, 2009 #80

    nyxlily

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    I've looked into this topic in preparation for my trip and it helped me a lot, now I hope the following info will be of help to others! (Thanks, AlanB, for lifting the restriction)

    For the Empire Builder from PDX to CHI, I couldn't get an upgrade until I reached Whitefish. Due to weather, the train never made it into my station and my first leg of the journey was taken via a bus.. for 7+ hours. Finally boarded at Spokane at near midnight but couldn't find a conductor anywhere (our ticket was checked before we got onto the bus and we only had to wave our little paper with our destination at a woman at the gate to board the train) nor any attendants anywhere (something about a crew change, but was unsure). I was asleep when the conductor finally walked by as the train pulled out.. about an hour late, woke briefly but was too out of it to ask for that upgrade. Woke at ~5am, went into dining car to look for the conductor, couldn't be found and was told to look for him at the next station (in about 30 minutes) but fell asleep once I got back to my seat. Went to dining car again 2 hours later, same story. It wasn't until Whitefish that he finally walked by and I was able to ask for an upgrade. Once found, though, he was very nice and quickly got back to me once he had taken cared of the new passengers. A fellow coach rider heard me asking and mentioned he's going to ask for one as well. I suggested we share the roomette to split the cost and he accepted.

    Long story short: Whitefish to Chicago upgrade from coach cost us $208. I saw the conductor pull out his little book and it does look like all stations and fares are listed on there. Was able to squeak by the last call for breakfast!

    For the Zephyr from CHI to EMY, there was less drama though I still had to hunt down the conductor. Went to the dining car again to look for him, dining attendant said she'd page him and asked that I wait in the lounge.. did so for twenty minutes before going back to see what was going on. Turned out she forgot to page him! After that it was easy, he came, quoted me the price, I went back to my coach car to hunt down a potential person to share the sleeper with and found a very nice older gentleman to take the offer. This time the cost was $262. They actually made us settle down into the room before doing the paperwork.. where I had to, yet again, hunt down that conductor. It almost felt like that if we hadn't exerted the effort, the room could have been given to us for free.. we had to explain to our attendant that we hadn't paid yet and I don't think I saw the conductor again after forcing them to take my money :p

    I did notice, on both trains, that all the bedrooms seemed to be full. Some roomettes were empty on the EB and, on the CZ, was plentiful until we got to Reno, then every one of them filled up.

    There was a free wine tasting for all first class passngers on the EB (won me a bottle of wine!) and, it being free and everything, had a strangely low attendence.

    I got very very lucky that there were rooms available and, each time, a complete stranger was willing to share the room/cost with me.. and that they both didn't snore.. lol. But since my trip was very last minute, I wasn't going to pay the ~$500 upgrade they were asking on the website, especially since I was travelling alone. However, I doubt I'd try to chance it again in my future travels (unless I find myself travelling by myself again).
     
  6. Feb 1, 2009 #81

    yarrow

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    i heard from a conductor on the cs a couple weeks ago that onboard upgrades are no longer sold at low bucket but at whatever price the room was selling at through the ticket agent. he said this was effective sometime in early january. anyone else hear this?
     
  7. Feb 12, 2009 #82

    inspiration100

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    eeek, I sure hope not! That ruins all the fun of the anticipation of waiting!
     
  8. Mar 25, 2009 #83

    printman2000

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    So, anyone able to confirm this?
     
  9. Apr 14, 2009 #84

    ScottC4746

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    So I am going from NOL-LAX in June leaving on the 5th...YEAH!!! I am so excited my first overnight train trip. I have a roomette and not sure what to expect. A side of me is hoping for the old fashion classy rail road days of yore but know that it is going to be a tiny closet with a even smaller bathroom down the hall and terrible food (last long haul was HOU-NOL in early 1990's and food was terrible and served on plastic foam plates and plastic glasses.

    Any comments?
     
  10. Apr 14, 2009 #85

    AAARGH!

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    The food has gotten better. It's not gourmet, but it is not bad at all.

    Yes the roomette is small, but I found it very nice. The bathrooms are small, but certainly not too small.

    And I recommend you take a GPS! (just kidding :p ).
     
  11. Apr 14, 2009 #86

    ALC Rail Writer

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    That would be the stupidest policy if Amtrak actually wants to sell the ruddy rooms. The rooms are empty because nobody wants to buy them, usually because of the high cost-- why would selling them at the most recent bucket make sense?
     
  12. Apr 16, 2009 #87

    amtrakwolverine

    amtrakwolverine

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    i wouldn't be surprised if the conductors had something to do with it if it was true. they don't like to do the extra paper work to sell empty rooms on the trains and will often pass the buck to the next shift.
     
  13. Apr 16, 2009 #88

    Rail Freak

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    It will be what you make it!!! :)

    Just make damn sure you have fun!!! :)

    RF
     
  14. Apr 16, 2009 #89

    AlanB

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    I don't think that's a very fair statement. Yes, there are conductors who do exactly what you've stated. But I don't believe for one minute that all conductors do that, and I rather doubt that the union would ever support such a position, since reducing paperwork might just be the excuse that Amtrak needs to reduce the number of conductors needed.

    But my big problem here is that you've dumped all the conductors into one big lazy group of people. We know that this isn't true just from the many posts by members here on the forums who did meet up with a conductor that was more than happy to do an upgrade, or do something else that someone requested of them. There are conductors who will help someone with luggage if they see a problem. There are conductors who take great pride in doing their jobs properly. And there are conductors who even come to post here on our forums. That is definately above and beyond the call of duty.

    I can't begin to imagine how hurtful it would be for our member BlueJeanGirl to find this post and read that she's a lazy conductor not interested in doing her job.

    That is the problem with broad sweeping statements that lump everyone into the same category; it hurts those who really are trying to do a good job. I'm not saying that if someone does a bad job that they shouldn't get some criticism here or on any site. But just because there are a few bad apples in every bunch, let's not come to the conclusion that everyone in that position is a bad apple. Please! :)
     
  15. Apr 16, 2009 #90

    ALC Rail Writer

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    To be fair Alan, or fairer really, Conductors have the biggest job on the whole damn train and selling a room could be the last thing on their minds.

    However...

    You haven't yet weighed in. Can you confirm that an on board upgrade is no longer low bucket?
     
  16. Apr 16, 2009 #91

    AlanB

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    Also true, but that doesn't make them lazy either.

    I haven't weighed in, since I haven't heard anything one way or the other. Therefore I can neither confirm nor deny the rumor. However, I will say that the last time Amtrak did change the onboard upgrade process it was well publicized, so I suspect that the rumor is not true.
     
  17. Apr 16, 2009 #92

    ALC Rail Writer

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    Wasn't saying they were lazy, just adding to what you said. The fact that they actually manage a train full of people proves they are not lazy-- that takes cajones. Don't think I ever ran into a conductor who didn't do their job...
     
  18. Apr 28, 2009 #93

    Bill631

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    I have travelled in coach a few times years ago. On each trip I attempted to upgrade to a roomette, and was never able to do it. Usually the conductor says he will check for me, and then he never returns with an answer.

    So now I just book a roomett to make sure I get it.

    I don't think you would necessarily get big a discount by upgrading on board.

    Why not just book a roomette to start with?

    If you plan it right and are flexible with your travel dates, you can usually get a roomette at the lowest price.

    Me-I wouldn't risk the chance of having to take a 27 hours or so in coach.

    Bill

    :p
     
  19. Apr 28, 2009 #94

    ALC Rail Writer

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    It's quite simple. When you book a roomette it could be in a high bucket, 600-700 on some trains. If you upgrade on board you get it for the lowest price which for a train like the EB would be around $200. Of course if the rooms are selling for $200 then go for it! You won't get a discount UNLESS the rooms are selling at the higher buckets at time of booking.
     
  20. Apr 29, 2009 #95

    Sam31452

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    Question: Wouldn't offering a tip to the conductor if he get's you a roomette (and announcing that when asking for it) be helpful?
     
  21. Apr 29, 2009 #96

    yarrow

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    i don't believe the operating crew of the train is allowed to accept tips.
     
  22. Apr 29, 2009 #97

    ALC Rail Writer

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    No they are not. And some would consider it insulting-- The Conductor is NOT your SCA or SA, s/he is not there to do what you want s/he is there to ensure your safety and such.
     
  23. May 6, 2009 #98

    VentureForth

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    I'll experiment with the onboard upgrade next month. I'm taking the Silver Star to Richmond for my parents retirement and returning the same evening on the Silver Meteor. The current rate for a sleeper going to RVR from SAV is $130, and that I believe is the absolute lowest bucket. Current rate on the return (without meals!) is $178. I'm not going to book the sleeper in advance either way, but I'll ask onboard if its available and for what price.
     
  24. May 24, 2009 #99

    PaulM

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    After the last AU flare-up of this topic, I called Amtrack and asked about the upgrade policy. The answer was that it is still policy to sell upgrades; but she agreed with the conductor regarding the price.

    I also repeated the scuttle butt that upgrades are too much trouble for the conductor. The reply was that's b... s....

    I forget whether it was a reservation agent or Customer Service.
     
  25. May 24, 2009 #100

    PaulM

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    "and such" includes selling upgrade when available..
     

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