My love affair with Amtrak has come to a tragic end. For years, I’ve been able to book Amtrak trains with the comfort of knowing I could cancel my ticket any time for a full refund. I could book two trains in case I missed one and simply cancel the unused ticket after the fact. No longer.

Full refunds are still available for cancellations more than 24 hours in advance of your ticket, but if you cancel within 24 hours, you will have to choose between an Amtrak voucher or a 10% fee on your refund.

While I understand the economics of this latest move, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. It’s not like Amtrak’s service is exactly stellar: Frequent delays, sporadic break downs, unreliable wifi, and rapidly rising prices. At least, I had the flexibility of changing my train at the last minute  with no penalty – emphasis on the past tense. Sigh…



4 thoughts on “SAY IT AIN’T SO, AMTRAK

  1. blinkpack says:

    Josh here from the BlinkPacking blog. I am hoping to do some Amtrak travel of my own soon. Thanks for the heads-up. I wish you all the best with your travels and your blogging. Cheers!

    • NamWrites says:

      Hey Josh, I’m a big fan of blink packing. I’ve spent a lot of time on the DC-NYC Amtrak route so if you have any questions, fire away.

      • blinkpack says:

        Sounds great — how about these:
        1) Are the trains crowded?
        2) Any tips for getting some sleep in coach?

      • NamWrites says:

        The Northeast corridor route (from Boston to DC) does tend to be crowded. I can’t speak for the other routes since I never take them. That said, I have found the night trains (usually 8 pm and later) to be less crowded which leads me to your second question. The best way to get sleep on the train is to luck into a less crowded train so you can have two seats to yourself and lie down. I recommend bringing a sweatshirt or even a small blanket because I find the trains to be cold (but I’m always cold) and some kind of makeshift pillow because the armrest is not a comforable substitute! Hope this helps.

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