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Passenger Trains > Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?


Date: 09/18/23 16:30
Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: Oregonpaul

I use Google Maps for almost everything. It is so convient to book airline tickets from Google. Easy to compare prices and such and then easy to download a ticket on my phone. Does anyone know why I cannot book Amtrak this way? Is this something the airlines pay for?



Date: 09/18/23 16:58
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: engineerinvirginia

Oregonpaul Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use Google Maps for almost everything. It is so
> convient to book airline tickets from Google. Easy
> to compare prices and such and then easy to
> download a ticket on my phone. Does anyone know
> why I cannot book Amtrak this way? Is this
> something the airlines pay for?

No doubtedly there's some sort of deal by Google and participating airlines. Who hands over money to whom I don't know. But I Amtrak thought there was some demand, they'd create an API that Google could use to provide that functionality. Of course Amtrak has their website, and an App and they'd prefer you use those, and I am sure that preference has something to do with it. 



Date: 09/18/23 17:04
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: dan

amtrak LD trains are  almost sold out during peak periods and they don't feel the need to grow their sales with their  tiny consists



Date: 09/18/23 19:11
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: irhoghead

Amtrak's website is so user friendly. Why would anyone think of using anything else?



Date: 09/18/23 20:11
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: Oregonpaul

True LD trains are often sold out. Lots of room though on the state supported services



Date: 09/18/23 20:43
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: wabash2800

Sarcasm?

irhoghead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amtrak's website is so user friendly. Why would
> anyone think of using anything else?



Date: 09/19/23 06:00
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: irhoghead

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sarcasm?
>
> irhoghead Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Amtrak's website is so user friendly. Why would
> > anyone think of using anything else?

1000%.



Date: 09/19/23 06:29
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: AltiplanoRailtours

Amtrak chooses to use a propriety GDS booking engine versus integrating the GDS systems used by most airlines/hotels/travel agencies. This is similar to what WN Southwest Airlines does.

This blocks customers from having the ability to book joined itineraries with hotels/rail, rail/rental cars, or rail/air. It was a stupid decision that they currently can't find a way out of. Imagine being able to book a train ticket from Champaign, IL to Chicago Union Station joined with an air ticket ORD-LHR.

Adam



Date: 09/19/23 06:36
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: nsrlink

Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?

Because Amtrak sucks.



Date: 09/19/23 08:14
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: RRBMail

nsrlink Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
>
> Because Amtrak sucks.

Alas, writing as a former Amtrak staffer, you are correct. 



Date: 09/19/23 08:22
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: Milw_E70

engineerinvirginia Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No doubtedly there's some sort of deal by Google
> and participating airlines. Who hands over money
> to whom I don't know. 

Google acquired ITA Software (a major airfare shopping tool) back in 2011



Date: 09/19/23 09:16
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: jcoons

Oregonpaul Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I use Google Maps for almost everything. It is so
> convient to book airline tickets from Google. Easy
> to compare prices and such and then easy to
> download a ticket on my phone. Does anyone know
> why I cannot book Amtrak this way? Is this
> something the airlines pay for?

Yes, distribution via any channel outside of an airline's proprietary tool (like the website) is at a cost to the airline. The same would be true of Amtrak. 

Generally speaking, OTAs (online travel agencies - which are like google flights, expedia, etc.) when an airline or travel service participate, drive lower revenue business that is higiher cost back to that business. They are not a preferred distribution channel. In the case of airlines they have been working for years to wrangle themselves either out of the OTAs, or, constrain the inventory access that OTAs get. 

Moving Amtrak off of a more proprietary reservation system and shifting to a more "translatable" system such as Worldspan, Sabre, Amadeus would likely cost hundreds of millions in development given those tools today can't support the needs of Amtrak. The incremental revenue that would be produced would need to overcome that tech investment, plus the ongoing costs to maintain. 



Date: 09/19/23 09:36
Re: Why can't you book Amtrak on Google?
Author: atsf121

Years ago I was able to book my flights, hotels, and my Amtrak Acela ticket from DC to New York for my business trip using a tool called Concur.  And it was all part of one travel/trip 'purchase', I didn't have to do anything extra to get the Amtrak train ticket.  Turned out to be a great trip, and it was fun to work with my friends on a couple of our projects as we rode the train to our next set of meetings - we wouldn't have been able to do that on the plane.  They enjoyed the ride as well, but maybe not quite as much as I did!  So it's doable from a technology perspective to book travel outside of Amtrak's website or app, and has been for quite some time, based on my experience.  But as someone else mentioned, Amtrak would have to pay Google and I bet that's the hangup.

Nathan  



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