Reservation Number: 544179 Customer Account ID: [protected]
My train trip - Sacramento - Seattle - Vancouver - was booked and paid for in full on August 13, 2021, with departure date of MON OCT 4, and returning THURS OCT 14.
However, I broke my wrist on September 17, which required a surgery scheduled for Sept 29. I called your company SEPT 21 or Sept 22 to see if I could delay the start of the trip for a few days because I needed some time to recover from the surgery. I requested that I leave Sacramento on THURS OCT 7, rather than MON Oct 4.
Alarmingly, I was informed by the "customer service rep" during that phone call that Amtrak was "not going into Canada anymore." However, a few days prior to my call, I had literally received via email all the travel documents from Sacramento to Vancouver, without any indication of the changes! The travel documents sent to me on September 20, 2021 included:
"DAY 3 SEATTLE TO VANCOUVER: Today, travel to the Amtrak station and journey to Vancouver, British Columbia. Sit back and relax on the scenic ride through the northwest! Pull into Vancouver and travel to your hotel to check-in and drop your luggage then use your included admission to the Vancouver Lookout. (Overnight in Vancouver)"
The "customer service" rep had no idea why I received those documents and was rather dismissive, "Oh, well, I don't know who booked you but we don't go there anymore…. there's nothing I can do."
What would I have done upon my arrival to Seattle without knowing at that time that there was NO AMTRAK bus into Canada as scheduled?
I cancelled the itinerary from Sacramento to Seattle and agreed to the voucher form of the "refund" but kept the various reservations in Vancouver/BC to see if I could find another mode of transportation into Canada.
Because I had planned the trip months earlier, and made arrangements to take time off work, get my passport, arrange pet/house sitting etc. I immediately called Air Canada to see if I could get a flight into Canada. They were accepting passengers for flights to Vancouver from CA - passengers were required to be vaccinated (I am) and tested 72 hours prior to travel (I did).
However, on the day of my trip THURS OCT 7 to Vancouver, as I prepared to board my flight, I was informed I made a mistake with the timing of the COVID test i.e. the covid test I took was timed for the first leg of the plane trip on THURS OCT 7 from Sacramento (1045 am) not the second leg on the same day from LA to Vancouver (1245 pm). I was unable to get on the plan because I was informed that the test was 74 hours old verses 72 hours old.
I immediately took another COVID test at the airport on THURS OCT 7, booked another flight to Canada for FRI OCT 8, and called Amtrak to cancel the hotel and the events scheduled for THURS OCT 7. I was told that because I was not within the 24 hour cancellation policy for the hotel, I would not receive a refund, but the cost of the events would be refunded as a voucher.
The results of the COVID test I took on THURS OCT 7 did not come back in time for me to travel to Canada on FRI OCT 8, so I called Amtrak again to cancel the hotels in Vancouver and BC (six nights) and the events - the ferry, and exploding Victoria, the trip to BC etc.
At that time, I was informed I would not be able to get any refund or voucher for the Vancouver/BC part of the trip (to include the hotels reservation for the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14) because I was in the "penalty phase." So, the day before on THURS OCT 7 I was told I could cancel the hotel reservations if I did so within 24 hours prior to arrival but the next day on FRI OCT 8 I was told I COULD not do so?
I was well within the time frame to cancel the hotel reservations (which was confirmed by the hotel staff in Canada when I called them On FRII Oct 8) for the Sat OCT 9, Sun OCT 10, Mon OCT 11, Tues OCT 12, Wed OCT 13 and Thurs OCT 14.
I have attempted to resolve the issue to no avail: Per email on Jan 3, 2022 and Oct 12, 2021 from Karen M. "Customer Care Specialist" with "Yankee Leisure Group" "Good Afternoon Angela, For this reservation you did not have any trip protection, so in this case there is nothing we can do in regards to refunding or creating credits. I would advise to file through a 3rd party insurance company if you have one."
What is most egregious about this issue is that the Amtrak customer is the only one in this equation who is suffering any consequences for AMTRAK's ineptitude! A company that emails travel vouchers for transportation into a country where AMTRAK had decided to NOT provide transportation is shockingly inept. The fact that it was only by chance that I was informed of this prior to travel is misconduct.
Because of AMTRAKs misconduct, a sequence of unfortunate events unfolded, and I appear to be the only one who will bear the consequences.
Again, AMTRAK‘s misconduct is the precipitant to my having to scramble to get transportation for my long planned "train travel" vacation; add to this, in the time of the COVID pandemic, the misery of air travel (which is why I choose the train), since no one is completely sure about the "timing" of the test results as evidenced by me joining a group of other passengers who didn't board the plane to Vancouver on Oct 7 due to "issues" with the COVID test.
In the last ten years, I have travelled on Amtrak down to San Francisco and back to Sacramento at least 40 times. I've convinced my family and friends to join me numerous times and have been an ambassador for train travel.
Rest assured, if I am not provided a full refund of $2232.54 from Amtrak for this disaster that Amtrak set into motion, my train travel will not be deterred. However, I will share my story with every single person I meet on the train, and to every single person I talk to about travelling by train.
Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Angela Correale [protected]