• Amtrak Fare and Availability Discussion Thread

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Greg Moore
 
R36 Combine Coach wrote:This is more in line with European fares, major airlines and even Greyhound.
Which means I don't like it. ;-)

I think it's getting too complicated. But, it will probably work well to maximize revenue.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
It certainly appears Amtrak did this overhaul 'on the QT'.

Go to the Rail Europe site, ring up any pair of major cities, and you will find the format to be markedly similar.
  by TomNelligan
 
So I assume this marks the end of hidden "fare buckets" where fares simply rise as tickets are sold?
  by skibum77
 
Not quite. I did see some variation in pricing still when I was playing around with dates on the Illinois corridors.
  by JimBoylan
 
TomNelligan wrote:So I assume this marks the end of hidden "fare buckets" where fares simply rise as tickets are sold?
The hidden buckets are in the value fares and room charges, which will rise until sold out. Saver and Flexible fares seem to stay the same until sold out.
I wonder what happens to unsold Saver fare space after it expires? Also, if the higher priced spaces sell out 1st, because riders want the refund option, will the remaining Saver seats be converted immediately, before they expire? Which does Amtrak want more, the higher price or the No Refund rule?
  by ThirdRail7
 
Greg Moore wrote:
R36 Combine Coach wrote:This is more in line with European fares, major airlines and even Greyhound.
Which means I don't like it. ;-)

I think it's getting too complicated. But, it will probably work well to maximize revenue.
I'm with you. I liked the days where you could walk up to a train and if the lower fare was available, it was your for the taking. Once a service starts becoming annoying and convoluted, people will look at the options.
  by JimBoylan
 
Be careful when booking parties of more than 1 passenger. If there are not enough low priced seats or rooms, as the case may be, all of the passengers will be ticketed at a higher price. If you book a party of 8, and there are 2 Saver seats and 6 value seats available, the party will be charged the high Flexible fare. I'm not sure what the computer does if there are only 7 of them available!
With Sleeping rooms, it's worse. If you book a party of 2, and there is only 1 low priced room available, you will be charged a higher price, even if you take just 1 room! Check out the Cardinal, which seems to have just 1 Sleeping Car. There are NO roomettes at the lowest bucket, 1 at the 2nd lowest, and 2 at the 2nd highest bucket. There are only 2 Bedrooms on that train, so a party of 7 or 8 is always told that there are no accommodations available if Bedrooms are chosen. (14 days before departure, the Handicapped Room is changed to a Bedroom if unsold, so a party of 5 or 6 might get lucky them.)
The Lake Shore Limited's New York section, which seems to have 2 Sleeping Cars, has 1 roomette at the lowest bucket, 3 at the 2nd lowest, and at least 4 at the 2nd highest bucket.

Probably a solution is to book for 1 person, and then call on the phone to have an agent manually add the 2nd passenger to the room on a separate rail ticket. An excuse could be that the other person was not originally traveling, or wants to pay separately.
  by Jersey_Mike
 
I assume that for the purposes of "value" refund means refunded to your credit card with the future travel option not incurring the 10% fee?

"Saver" fares are the old secret fares that you would encounter from time to time with the not prominently advertised "no refund" caveat.

"Value" fares are the old regular fares.

"Flexible" fares are the new type of fare that I am dubbing a "* fare" for people who don't understand how Amtrak's no-refund refunds work. Just checked and noticed that you can get a 90$ flexible fare for a 46$ ticket with a 4.60 refund fee. I assume this is for bussiness travelers who don't want to deal with exchange vouchers. Note to everyone else...NEVER PAY THIS FARE.

Somewhere there is Amtrak's "Last Seat on the Train" fare. On very high travel days you can see some truly mind blowing fares for that guy who simply has to get to his destination. For example I saw a $216 fare from Boston to Westerly over Labour Day this year (basically if you were using that seat you were buying it to NYC).

I like them alerting you to if a specific bucket is soon to sell out.
  by dumpster.penguin
 
(1) The eVoucher explanation page says, "For now, eVouchers may only be redeemed at an Amtrak ticket office..."

(2) I wonder whether Amtrak will henceforth sell more non-refundable tickets, and if so, whether it will also correspondingly over-book to a greater degree.
  by Jersey_Mike
 
OH, I forgot...Amtrak ALWAYS HAD secret 100% refundable fares available to corporate customers at the same outrageous prices. I got screwed by that once when I got a price quote from one travel agent using Amtrak.com and then had it go up by 100% when the next agent used the fully refundable price tab not available on the website. This was before the damn vouchers, but because of company policy they were spending like $150 to avoid a $15 restocking fee. I ended up not taking the trip because while technically still cheaper than flying by $1 I wouldn't have been able to sell the idea of the train.
dumpster.penguin wrote:(1) The eVoucher explanation page says, "For now, eVouchers may only be redeemed at an Amtrak ticket office..."

(2) I wonder whether Amtrak will henceforth sell more non-refundable tickets, and if so, whether it will also correspondingly over-book to a greater degree.
1) That's why companies buy the Sucker fare tickets.

2) No, Amtrak is not actually changing ANYTHING. They are just making previously hidden fare buckets more transparent to self service web users.
  by JimBoylan
 
I noticed some Philadelphia - Baltimore trips where Saver and Value fares were sold out and Flexible was all that was left, Business Class in that case was based on the Flexible fare. Normally, you can get a no penalty refund for less by booking Business Class - if there are any Value fares left, Business Class is based on that fare, and is less than the Flexible Coach fare!
  by markhb
 
Saver fares aren't even necessarily the cheapest. I took a look at BOS-SYR for next spring, trying to find the low buckets, and the Value fares were less where they were offered.
  by hi55us
 
This all seems very confusing... Amtrak needs to increase it's transparency as to how these fares work, otherwise they could drive away their customers in droves. Southwest does a much better job explaining how their fares work and the fares make more sense (unlike these instances we're seeing amtrak sell business class for less than coach)... It also looks confusing listing all fares as "2 free checked bags" on corridor trains with no checked baggage...
  by JimBoylan
 
hi55us wrote:This all seems very confusing...listing all fares as "2 free checked bags" on corridor trains with no checked baggage...
The baggage will move on a different train that does have a baggage car, but they don't make that clear.
  by theozno
 
Had an interesting experience yesterday. Called customer relations they could not do anything except tell their IT department. My train fare minutes prior to departure kept changing back and forth. I had to get the ticket so I bought it at the higher fare after I was going to wait for the next train 90 min later and it's fare went up as I was booking it. both to the higher fare. Then the earlier train went back down to the lower fare and as I was booking that one went back up stuck I paid the higher fare. Right before the train arrived my fare went back down. My trip was from Meriden to New Haven. I'm up for suggestions on what I should do While I have seen the fares go up and down, I have never seen it do it 6 times in a row within 15 minutes. I was in 145 the 8 car consist.
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