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Passenger Trains > Amtrak Booking Bug or Feature?


Date: 04/05/21 17:26
Amtrak Booking Bug or Feature?
Author: walstib

I went online to book an Empire Builder trip today and encountered vastly different prices based on whether I was booking one-way journeys, or a round trip.

I am wondering if Amtrak does this on purpose to get more revenue from unsuspecting customers, or if this is a bug?

Here’s the situation:

Traveling from Seattle to Wisconsin Dells in a roomette, I was offered a fare of $521. On the return, I was offered a roomette for $1,014, for a grand total of $1,535. I tried changing the return date, and got the same $1,014 offer.

When I tried booking a one-way trip in a roomette from Wisconsin Dells to Seattle, I was offered a $521 fare for the same travel date as the $1,014 fare.

Needless to say, I bought the tickets as two one-way transactions and paid $493 less than what Amtrak wanted for a “round trip” ticket.

My question is, is this normal?

Posted from iPhone



Date: 04/05/21 18:46
Re: Amtrak Booking Bug or Feature?
Author: P

Let's hope not. The ease of one way travel on Amtrak is a nice selling feature over airlines. It allows for flexible travel planning

Posted from Android



Date: 04/05/21 18:49
Re: Amtrak Booking Bug or Feature?
Author: BRAtkinson

I'm not surprised.  Others, including myself, have noticed oddball things in another railfan website.  In particular, prices for trips along the NEC sometimes price business class cheaper than coach!  I've even seen BC regional for the same fare as BC Acela!  And booking with points things sometimes get even more wierd.  A month ago, I grabbed an Acela from NHV-BOS First Class for only a couple hundred points more than Business Class! 

In short, the 'artificial dumbness' of their booking system seems to be dropping prices dramatically until the first x percent of seats/rooms are sold.  They recently had a $29 fare sale anywhere on the NEC, including on the Acela!  After that, watch out!

Others have noted the unreasonably high prices for rooms these days, myself included.  It would seem that they are attempting to make up for ridiculously low fares here and there with exorbitant fares elsewhere.  If they manage to sell the outrageously priced rooms at all, it will prove the old PT Barnum adage: "There's a sucker born every minute!" 

In my opinion, if the outrageous room fares don't succeed in driving away passengers, the horrible food WILL!



Date: 04/06/21 05:20
Re: Amtrak Booking Bug or Feature?
Author: mbrotzman

walstib Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I went online to book an Empire Builder trip today
> and encountered vastly different prices based on
> whether I was booking one-way journeys, or a round
> trip.
>
> I am wondering if Amtrak does this on purpose to
> get more revenue from unsuspecting customers, or
> if this is a bug?
>
> Here’s the situation:
>
> Traveling from Seattle to Wisconsin Dells in a
> roomette, I was offered a fare of $521. On the
> return, I was offered a roomette for $1,014, for a
> grand total of $1,535. I tried changing the return
> date, and got the same $1,014 offer.
>
> When I tried booking a one-way trip in a roomette
> from Wisconsin Dells to Seattle, I was offered a
> $521 fare for the same travel date as the $1,014
> fare.
>
> Needless to say, I bought the tickets as two
> one-way transactions and paid $493 less than what
> Amtrak wanted for a “round trip” ticket.
>
> My question is, is this normal?
>
> Posted from iPhone

Nobody should ever book a round trip on Amtrak simply because any change to one leg will cause both legs to be re-booked at higher prices.  God forbit you no show a segment, the entire itiniary gets canceled.  For example someone who books the Amtrack connecting bus between San Fran and Emmoryville on the Zephyr and then decides to take BART.  Your whole sleeper trip gets zapped. 



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