Amtrak / scam and cheating
In October of 2007, my wife and I (65 years old) began a two thousand dollar Amtrak trip in a standard roomette. We were soon subjected to stultifying high temperatures and a lack of ventilation in our 6 and-a-half by 3 and-a-half foot compartment. The unsmiling, condescending and insolent conductors professed helplessness in the face of the oppressive conditions, and when I asked one of the conductors what his name was, he immediately covered his identity badge with his hand!
We continued to object to these conditions, and finally the conductor had the train stopped, called in local marshals, and ejected my wife and I from the train in the middle of the night.
We were forced to quickly pack all of our luggage and drag our bags off the train without any assistance. We had our tickets confiscated, and were left standing in the dark around midnight, after being told that we were forever banned from Amtrak trains. However, we were not the only couple who was profoundly distressed by our Amtrak experience. When the conductor overheard me speaking to one of the marshals about this, he immediately returned our tickets to us and offered my wife and I the option of getting back on the train the following day! What was it that I told the Marshall? That approximately 12 hours before, another couple had been kicked off the train with the accompaniment of the police for complaining about the suffocating conditions!
It's one thing that Amtrak charges high prices for the honor of occupying a tiny bedroom in one of their obsolete railcars. It's another thing if in addition, the service personnel are generally rude, insulting and sadistic. The only exception to this would be in the dining car where a gratuity is expected. My wife and I sued Amtrak for this abusive service and our abandonment in an unknown town in the middle of the night. We won with little difficulty.
It seems Amtrak has a stable of attorneys on call to take care of litigations of this type. Make sure you are prepared with adequate legal support the next time you travel Amtrak.
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