Two More Cents on Amtrak

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my experience with Amtrak‘s cancellation policy.  Here’s an update on that trip:
In my post, I left off on where the Amtrak customer service representative canceled my outbound trip without imposing any cancellation fees – a huge deal, especially when compared to airline cancellation policies.  As I noted then, although my cancellation request was done over the phone, to get the actual refund I would have to speak to an agent at the ticket counter.  What I did not know, however, is that, because of that, the remaining portion of the ticket could not be issued through a self-service kiosk.  This created a momentary problem: the line for the ticket counter was about 50 people deep when I got to Penn Station 40 minutes before my trip, and I was worried that I might not make it to the ticket agent in time for my train.  But the Amtrak customer service phone representatives again confirmed their helpfulness: I called the 1-800 number and explained my situation – I did not want to miss my train because of a pending refund.  The representative quickly resolved my problem by inquiring whether I had enough of a limit on my credit card, canceling the original ticket altogether, and reissuing a new one for the same price.  The new ticket had the same booking code, and could be retrieved at the self-service kiosk.  With that, I had 10 minutes to spare before boarding my train.
Morals of this story: (1) Amtrak’s customer service is extremely helpful, (2) if you are stuck in line, be resourceful and call customer service instead (This also goes for re-booking canceled flights; while standing in line behind another 50 angry customers who have been grounded, try calling the airline’s customer service number. Hopefully you’ll get someone who is not overwhelmed and being yelled at over and over), (3) when canceling one portion of an Amtrak ticket, ask to cancel the entire ticket and have a new one booked at the same price instead.

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