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I like to think of myself as the 'crazy mom of four'. I'm 31 years old and I love my life, my kids, my husband and my God. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Eliot

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My 'do not use' list

If you know me, or have followed my blogs, you possibly know that I HATE Sprint and I HATE Charter. They have been a thorn in my side for many years, though for reasons I cannot really avoid, I continue to pay them money every month to continue my hatred for them. I have a new corporation to add to that list and it is Amtrak.

I very briefly described my first train trip with Amtrak in my last blog. The trip to Chicago itself was absolutely awful. And I was pretty sure then that I would NEVER take the train again, though traveling by train does have certain benefits over driving myself or flying. However, as complaining about that journey is not the purpose of this blog, I will move on to the actual reason for writing tonight.

When this trip was first planned, I thought that we would be coming back Friday night/Saturday morning (12:30am). The other day when I looked at my train confirmation, it said I was coming back Saturday night/Sunday morning. I thought this was odd, but figured I had read the initial email about the trip wrong. And today at lunch it was really bothering me, so I decided to ask the other ladies about it. Well...sure enough...THEY were all taking the train back tomorrow night, while my reservation was for Saturday night. So I immediately called Kris and asked him to call Amtrak for me and see if he could get Katherine and I on the same train back to St. Louis.

He called me back and said he got us switched over but that he was frustrated with Amtrak and they wanted me to pay another $64 to change my reservation. This did not make either one of us happy. One of the moms even called Amtrak herself to see if she could get them to lower their price but they would not budge. It is extremely frustrating because the mistake was not Amtrak's, and the mistake was not mine, as I am not the one who ordered my ticket. I do not fault, nor am I upset with, the mother who ordered the tickets. She was doing me a favor to get everything ordered and make all the arrangments, so I was grateful I didn't have to do any of it myself.

But here's the most frustrating part. When I ordered my tickets, I paid $76 for roundtrip tickets for Katherine and myself. And now, I am going to have to pay another $64 for ONE WAY back to St. Louis!!! It's almost as if I am buying another set of roundtrip tickets for no reason, and at a highly inflated price! Absolutely annoying, frustrating and ridiculous!!! Amtrak will be getting an email from me, documenting my horrible first experience with them and also the frustration of switching my ticket to a day earlier. But what was I supposed to do? Everyone is checking out of the hotel tomorrow morning. I don't have another hotel booked. I can't afford to pay for another night in a hotel in downtown Chicago. I don't want to fight the crowd and anxiety I will feel at the train station by myself with Kat. The station here is intimidating and overcrowded. I don't want to do that alone. The whole Amtrak experience has been one of frustration and now outright anger.

And that is why Amtrak is right up there (or down there) with Sprint and Charter. I HATE AMTRAK!

1 comment:

  1. Jamie - You need to get out more. Every company that sells reserved travel has some sort of fee associated with changing reservations. And you moved from an off-peak res to a peak res, so I'm sure the fee reflects the higher cost of a Friday return. If this is the worst thing a company has ever done to you, then count yourself lucky.