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Amtrak
Amtrak
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.52/5
  • 5 stars
    5
  • 4 stars
    3
  • 3 stars
    5
  • 2 stars
    12
  • 1 stars
    58
Based on 83 ratings submitted in the last year
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804 Amtrak Consumer Reviews and Complaints

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 25, 2019

We (wife and I) have 10s of thousands of miles on Amtrak. Our latest experience was by far the worst yet. We started on the 14 train (Coast Starlight) to Sacramento. It was a 14 hour trip and we were exhausted from that trip, yet to SUPPOSEDLY pick up the 6 Train (California Zephyr) to Reno. The Train never happened and after waiting for hours, I went to the ticket agent, who was a superb lady. She told me the best thing to do was take the Amtrak Bus, which was ready to depart. We ALWAYS travel in a sleeper which include hot prepared meals in the dining car. The bus does not serve anything including water.

A week later we were to take the 5 train (California Zephyr) to Emeryville. The train status showed the train 16 hours late, and again back to the bus for our return trip. We boarded the 11 train (Coast Starlight) the following morning and were notified that the dining car was NOT serving hot meals as a result of a broken oven/flat-top. For lunch we were treated to SUBWAY short sandwiches. Either Turkey, BLT or a Vegetarian. For dinner we had some dried out chicken, rice and God only knows what the salad was purported to be. The train staff apologized for the hot meals that we could select.

To me it seems that the CEO of Amtrak has lost sight of what his company should be doing, unless you are one of the privileged East coast political/business customers. Our, ALL AMERICANS support this company to the tune of over 1 BILLION dollars every year just to see the monies funneled to the privileged. It's time to TELL your Congress person to cease funding this poorly ran company. I have seen cuts every year that hurt their performance rather than increase ridership. They have recently discontinued the Parlor Car for Sleeper passengers, and I am told they have sold them. Maybe, just maybe if the executives that run this company would come out West and ride these trains, without the staff knowing they were to be Riders, things might change.

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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 24, 2019

We live in a Technologically Advanced world. Amtrak need to create a situation where you can be able to modify your 10-ride tickets to input the date you are traveling. I get push by the side for using 10 ride ticket even though I was the 3rd on the line. The Driver said, "Ticket Passengers first," and I wonder if I am not a ticket passenger as well. Another time I called and they told me Bus is full, as such I cannot travel on day and time I intended to travel. All these will not happen if I can go back to the app or website and modify my travel day within 48 hrs windows. Amtrak should review this and talk to their IT department, I am sure this is doable.

2 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 24, 2019

Again, after trying Amtrak website for about 30 minutes, just called (800-USA-RAIL) customer service. Spoke with a man, Lloyd. I am deaf in my left ear, so I always use speaker on my phone held to my good ear. I'm also retired and disabled. I requested a reservation for a seat leaving NC arrive FL. He asked, "What day?", I said, "What's the schedule for Friday?" (My boyfriend of 40 yrs was listening) Then I realized oops, I mean to leave Sat morning and arrive Sat morning. I have taken this trip 8 or 9 times in 4 yrs. I know I would leave NC After midnight and arrive FL 9 hours later.

So we set my reservation for 1:22 Sat morning to arrive 9:09 Sat morning. I explained I would be there Friday night by 12 midnight, as not to miss the train. My sister in FL was to pay the ticket, I explained this to him and he gave me a reservation number, then said, "Your train leaves at 1:22 Sat morning and arrives 9:09 Sat morning". I said, "Great. I'll call my sister and have her call you, but, not sure if she will get you but, she will pay the reservation number". We said our goodbyes.

Called my sister, she called. Paid ticket. Said they told her arrival at 9:09 Sat. She does not remember them saying departure time. But, has confirmation number. Friday, I packed, had everything ready and called to see if train was on time. Customer service said they cancelled my reservation and forfeited my monies, 'cause the reservation was for FRIDAY morning at 1:22 AM!!! Told couldn't do anything about it till Monday because Amtrak Relations Dept. would not be open till then. And they are the only ones who could handle this. Worse... this time going home, was because my niece's mother and my best friend is dying of Cancer and been sent home with Hospice. She weighs 31 lbs. I have no monies and my sister can't help again till Tuesday which will put me there Weds morning.

All these monies I have to pay back to her on the 3rd of Apr. Should they (Amtrak) decide not to give me back my reservation. I cannot even afford a bus. It's more expensive than a cheap seat with Amtrak. I have to have state help just to pay my rent. I'm seriously scared I may have to EAT this man's mistake. I'm praying Dawn holds on so I can say prayers and goodbyes before she goes. She's only 52 yrs old. My niece turns 19 in Dec. See how important this trip was to me. Amtrak no help on the weekends.

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 22, 2019

Amtrak has gone to crap. My first time riding with them after many, many years. Their buses? Late. And jittery. Their trains stop constantly and get you to your destination an hour late. Horrible service. I’ll never take Amtrak again.

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 21, 2019

I’m very disappointed in my first Amtrak ride since kindergarten. The conductor told everyone getting off at the stop to head downstairs, which I did, and waited for the doors to open. Only problem is THEY NEVER DID!!! Once realizing I wasn’t going to be getting off I told a worker but the train was already leaving the station. I was told I then had to wait until the next station to get on the next train back. When all they had to do was OPEN THE DOORS! Luckily I had family who could pick me up and take me back to my vehicle but I’m EXTREMELY disappointed. I was not the only one this had happened to this train ride either. At an earlier station a person wasn’t allowed off but that time they stopped the train. Mine I wasn’t so lucky. Very disappointed.

2 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 20, 2019

I took a train back from Kansas City with my family, including 3 young children. This trip was supposed to be 5 hours and ended up being 12 hours. We were given no information while stuck on how long we would be on the train. Amtrak didn’t take responsibility for the horrific ride, lack of information, and was unwilling to do a full refund which was completely unacceptable considering what we endured. We did this once and NEVER again. I DO NOT recommend taking this experience at all! Completely disappointed and it’s a bit scary that NO ONE had detailed information or direct communication with all of the trains on the track so that people could be kept safe and informed!

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 13, 2019

I followed all the rules. I called at 3am and talked to an Amtrak rep to figure out how to board the bus. I paid an Uber 30$ to arrive at the station early. Was told I could buy a ticket at station and get on my bus that departed at 5:20. Arrived, wouldn't let me on bus because I didn't have a ticket from a station that wasn't open in time for me to buy one. Tried to call 800 number to buy, he wouldn't sell me one in time. Bus left without me. I tried to pay the driver, wouldn't accept that either. I was the only person trying to get on the empty bus and despite doing everything asked, I'm now waiting for the station to open at 6:15 for a bus that leaves at 7:50. My time, efforts and patience mean nothing to this company. 3rd world buses wouldn't have left me on the curbside like this company has this morning.

2 people found this review helpful
Customer increased Rating by 3 stars!
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Resolution response: March 13, 2019

After experiencing poor customer service with the AMTRAK agents, I contacted the Amtrak Customer Affairs department and recieved AMAZING customer service. They were able to resolve the issue to my satisfaction, but more importantly, they agreed to contact the developer of correct the flaws on their website. Thank you!

Original review: March 13, 2019

I was in the process of modifying my ticket for an upcoming trip to see if I could get on an earlier train. The website asked for a time range and I selected afternoon options. The selections returned were EARLY MORNING options and I ended up selecting a 3:35 AM train as opposed to a 3:35 PM train. Then I had to spend $80 to fix it. Even though I called customer service within a few minutes they were NOT HELPFUL at all. Very dissatisfied and believe AMTRAK's business practices are purposely deceiving to increase revenue.

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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: March 8, 2019

Amtrak canceled my train at the last minute as I was about to leave on a multi-country business trip. I called to find alternatives and was on hold for 40+ minutes because a big snowstorm had put a strain on their customer service. They said there were no alternative trains and they would refund my money. This was in January, it is now March. I have sent them multiple emails, website inquiries, and called 4 times only to be redirected to person after clueless person who said "Huh, I wonder why this refund didn't go through? That's weird!" Case number **. They took my money, then canceled the train and didn't give my money back.

3 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 28, 2019

They have always been overpriced and terrible but the digital experience on Amtrak is a disgrace to this country. It is akin to being back in the 1990s. The website first of all has a fixed screen so that in order to scroll through train options, the scroll bar only allows you to view one train at a time. The scroll displays only one train at a time that it is almost impossible to read. The app is the worst part. It constantly logs you out for no reason. It never stores any payment information (you need to constantly re-enter it even when you have selected).

Why is it that in developed countries anywhere else in the globe the experience is so different. In Japan and Germany when you book a train ticket, even a year in advance, they tell you which carriage and seat you are in and where to stand on which platform...a completely different experience to the hell at Penn station which is a complete free for all, disorganized and chaotic. They started a first class line for pre-boarding but now that roped off area is just a lazy left over of a good idea badly executed. They don't even check tickets for boarding anymore.

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4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 27, 2019

I booked a trip to Chicago on Amtrak and part of the trip included a bus ride between two cities. On the return trip, due to bad weather, the bus was canceled. Amtrak found a private driver who took me and another passenger 100 miles to our next destination, driving in very bad weather. I figured I had to wait for the next bus but Amtrak stepped up to the plate and really helped me out in a pinch. Way to go Amtrak!

3 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Feb. 25, 2019

There is a serious problem with septic odor on the train and Amtrak does not want to address it. Our first room attendee had duct tape and put cardboard on our vent. The symptoms are watery eyes, nausea, tasting it in our mouths. One worker admitted it's a problem, explained the septic exhaust is located beside the air intake. All others tried denying it. When I asked another traveler to contact Amtrak, I was "politely" told not to talk to other passengers! I was not given a reimbursement for the cost of the sleeper car when I had to go to coach to sleep to escape the odor. Oh, we did get a voucher to use on a future trip (yeah, right) and refund for our inconvenience, but I think the difference in cost should have been reimbursed.

7 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Feb. 6, 2019

Feb 6, 2019. Bus 4768 3:15-6:30am Driver "Jim" [Refused to disclose last name] (American Transport). Driver was blatantly too tired to drive or drunk! He woke me up several times because I could hear the wheels start to vibrate from the side emergency vibrators. When I finally started watching Jim drive I noticed he was swerving through lanes. He also kept his window down in 30 degree weather! That was a huge indication that he was trying to keep himself awake! After several times asking for the window to be raised for over 30 min. he did nothing.

Then yet again he crossed lanes in the Gaviota Canyon (An extremely dangerous curvy area!) and swerved into the left emergency vibrators way past the yellow lines! Causing everyone in the bus to become extremely alarmed by his driving! Jim immediate yelled, "I was getting out of the way from something in the road." To which I replied, "that I was watching and filming and there was nothing in the road!" Jim said, "Don't worry there’s cameras on the bus watching." (I’d like to see the video!) I was so scared I was already filming his driving, and the film shows nothing in the road!

Once in the train station in Santa Barbara, the manager on duty was notified of the situation and asked to take action & check their contracted driver to see if he was drunk. The manager & Jim had a quick talk and all was good for them. The manager said that the only thing I could do is call in a report to Amtrak. I told him I had no reception & asked to use the phone. He said no. Jim left without having a sobriety check! Once on the train I saw the manager talk to the train’s security & conductor. I asked them why they couldn't have done anything to console the passengers. They laughed a bit between themselves and said, "Don't worry the train won’t go out of its lanes." Like it was a joke to them. AMTRAK NEEDS TO TAKE SAFETY FIRST! They should take more oversight of the contractors they use! This is not the first time I've had a completely negative situation with AMTRAK. AMTRAK's customer service is the worst!

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6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 21, 2019

The Amtrak website is the worst. No matter what dates I put in I received an error message that said I needed to put in a valid date. The dates were selected from the pop up calendar - and NONE worked. No explanation to why the dates were wrong.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 20, 2019

I was charged $398 round trip; NYC to Washington DC. If I had known the business seats on the Amtrak has NO service, not even a complimentary bottle of water, soft drinks or light snacks. As they would on a round flight ticket, (for an economy seat) that includes complimentary water, soft drinks and light snacks; I would've definitely purchased a flight, which would've also been a faster commute.

Pros and Cons between Amtrak and Flights: Flights: Round trip/ticket (i.e., NYC to DC) costs between $200 to $300 for economy seat, (dependent on airline).

Heaps of complimentary water and soft drinks. Heaps of complimentary snacks. Average amenities, yet clean. Average environment, yet still quiet. Takes less than half the commute time, i.e.; NYC to DC - approximately 40minutes.

Amtrak: Round trip ticket costs between $398 for business seat, (please keep in mind, that business to standard is NO DIFFERENT ON THE Amtrak). No Water. No snacks. Extremely Filthy Amenities. Extremely Noisy carriage, except for the one quiet carriage, which is always full. Take twice as long to get there, i.e.; NYC to DC - almost 3 hours! I almost forgot; when you get to Penn. station, the whole station stinks like urine and feces, whilst it's filled up with homeless walking around searching through the trash cans, lying around, walking past you with a slapping urine and feces smell as they past you and more filth! Why would anyone on their straight mind ever commute with Amtrak!?!?

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4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 14, 2019

I made a reservation about 2 weeks in advance and sent an inquiry in asking if the two family members with me would be able to share my sleeper car (there are two beds to a car so it would make sense). No one EVER got back to me. I'm on the train as we speak and was informed that they can't share the room with me. I called Amtrak directly to have my ticket downgraded to coach and they said because I would be changing it the day of I would be penalized/charged. I informed the person overseeing the sleeper cars that if I can't stay with my family then I don't want the car. She had zero sympathy. It took the gent running the dining car to have any sympathy at all for my situation. As soon as I get home my Amtrak card is going in a shredder, and I will be canceling my account.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 12, 2019

I could make this a rant but it could go on for paragraphs and paragraphs... Bottom line is the Amtrak service is really poor. There are nearly always cancellations and/or delays but on top of it, customer service and the employees are never polite or sympathetic. They always operate on a customer is always wrong mentality and will just try to give you a hard time. They will blame everything on you and will always just try to direct you to someone else when you have any issues (no one wants to help you with your problem). The problem is, Amtrak is basically a monopoly without any competition so there's no incentive or reason for them to ever try to improve their services. In any case, if you can, take plane or bus (Amtrak isn't even cheap!). It's much more worth your while. That's not to say every Amtrak ride is a hassle, but more often than not it is.

13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 9, 2019

My first experience with Amtrak was taking the Empire Builder from Chicago Union Station to Pasco, Washington, a 42-hour trip. In Wisconsin, the train got delayed for three hours due to an issue with the engine. After the issue was resolved, there weren't any problems until we hit Minot, ND. There, we were delayed for over an hour due to another issue with the engine. The issue was resolved again, but I know at some point we got delayed one more time, for a total delay of 5 hours. We were told on the second night of the trip that because we were so far behind, we would be put on buses to our final destination from Spokane, WA, which is 2 hours from Pasco.

On the return trip, our train was 45 minutes late getting to Pasco. When we got to our seats, we found that we were missing a curtain on the window, both of the reading lights were broken, and one of the tray tables was broken. Because the train was full and it was nighttime, we didn't have much of an opportunity to find new seats so we could be together. We bought a cocktail and ended up losing the nearly-full drink due to the broken tray table; we informed a crew member and they didn't reimburse us or give us a voucher for a drink we lost due to their negligence.

The crew member moved our seats for us, but unfortunately the seats to which we were relocated had the heat cranked up on full blast, to the point where I couldn't have my feet down (where the vents were) and I actually ended up burning my ankle because I accidentally touched the vent. Also, there was ice and snow collecting around the train doors and the floors were wet and slippery, with no warning signs or much effort to prevent a slip and fall. Finally, because the train was overbooked, the "lounge" bathroom was full of passenger's luggage. Not only is that unsanitary, but it's very unsafe.

I filed a complaint with customer service and they offered either rewards points or $150 off a train ticket bought within the year. After these negative experiences, I don't want to ever take an Amtrak train again, even for a short trip, and I certainly will not be making any positive recommendations to friends or family about Amtrak.

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4 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 8, 2019

I WILL NEVER TAKE AMTRAK AGAIN!!! My 1st train was late 8 1/2 HOURS!!! Customer Relations was absolutely INCOMPETENT & RUDE! I had to schedule a 2nd train stranding me in El Paso for 5 DAYS! Now my 2nd train is running 4 HOURS late! I almost lost my job with nothing but “sorry” for my troubles! ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!! HOW THEY STAY IN BUSINESS IS BEYOND ME! Their “customer service” is JOKE! DON’T GIVE AMTRAK YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY!

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 8, 2019

I booked a trip online from Virginia to New York City. I canceled online 10 days before the train was to depart. Although the website says you can get a refund less a charge, the website sent me in circles, with no way to get a partial refund. I called them, and they said because these tickets were purchased as "super saver" tickets, they are non-refundable. They said this was in the fine print of the terms. What a crock. So you have to pay more in order to get even a partial refund. I will never purchase from Amtrak again.

5 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 4, 2019

Pretty great. I get in, I sit down in a big comfy seat, and I stretch my legs all the way out in a really roomy area. I watch the landscape speed past and I do work on my laptop. If I'm hungry I grab food from the cafe car. It's amazing. There are delays, and the conductors are often overworked and rushing all around. Don't get in their way, and don't complain to them - they don't control whether the train breaks down or not. I've always been polite and done what they asked immediately, and I've never had a problem with them.

5 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 30, 2018

Rode 36 hours. Bathrooms apparently never cleaned. Feces and urine in one for last 10 hours of trip. Most out of toilet paper after 12 hours. Unsanitary to the extreme. When I complained to Amtrak, was told my fault for not complaining.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 23, 2018

My mom took Amtrak today. She was supposed to get on a train at 8:30 this morning that turned out to be a bus. She has a service dog with her. The dog was kennel trained as a puppy and now sleeps in the kennel next to my mom's bed. The door on the kennel is never closed but anyway my mom had the kennel with her with her personal belongings in it. She was screamed at by the bus driver whom demanded the paperwork on the dog then told there was no way her service animal was a service animal because service animals don't have kennels then demanded cash from her. When she told him she don't carry cash only cards he again told her how senseless she was because nobody travels from Alaska without carrying cash.

I then tried to call someone at Amtrak. Anybody whom I could speak with was not there. They are only open Monday through Friday and so they send you into a customer portal basically so that someone can I guess listen to you be upset but not help you. They did put my mom on the 4:40 train but then proceeded to charge her extra for the kennel after she had already told them before she ever purchased this ticket that she had a service animal. She asked about her baggage. She asked about the kennel. They said it was included in the price of the ticket. She was allowed two bags. She had one bag and one kennel so she was put on the 4:40 train tonight.

I'm now sitting here waiting until 12:40 a.m. for my mom to arrive. She missed her granddaughter's birthday party. I have to work at 8 a.m. in the morning and all because Amtrak claims to accept service animals but then has all sorts of guidelines and rules for service animals. I can understand if the dog is being unruly or a threat to other people but if you simply get on a train or a bus that they've contracted then they have no right to dispute that you paid for your ticket just like everybody else in their policies and procedures. They state that their employees are allowed to ask what the service animal is for. That is what their policy states. My mom has been told she may not go to the dining car on the train because her dog her service animal is not allowed in their dining car so on top of being 9 hours past when she was supposed to be here.

She also can't eat or drink anything because her service animal whom is there to protect her from when she's having a seizure and things like that isn't allowed to go with her all places. I'm really upset that this happened. We will never ever use Amtrak again. I cannot believe how horribly and discriminated against people who have disabilities are with this company. I cannot for the life of me comprehend how you can treat somebody the way that my mom was treated for no other reason than she had a kennel with her for her service animal. It is nobody's business why she has a kennel with her. If her dog is sitting at her feet and she has told you that she has a service animal for a specific reason by law you have to leave her alone unless that animal becomes a threat to other passengers.

This bus driver straight up told my mother that if the dog even looked at anybody funny he would stop in the middle of the highway and kick her off of that bus. I'm not sure what exactly Amtrak has to prove against people with disabilities. I'm not sure about anything at this point. All I know is that the way that Amtrak has discriminated against a person who has a service animal for a specific reason because they have a disability that they cannot control is absolutely mind-blowing. It is upsetting. It is discrimination. It is hateful and rude and the way that happened today was cruel. Not only was my mother subject to this person's attack this blatant attack by not only one but there was also a woman there who works for Amtrak screaming at her as well and they did this in front of everybody at that station in Seattle.

This is not the first time that I have heard of Amtrak being like this but that was several years ago and I would have thought that with the advances that they have made where service animals are concerned. Amtrak would not still be living in the Stone Age. I was extremely wrong to have thought that we will be seeking a lawyer for legal advice but as far as I'm concerned any company who can condone the behavior of somebody so abusive towards people who have disabilities shouldn't be a company that anybody pays for.

I also know that anybody who is purposely intimidating somebody who has a service animal or is intimidating the service animal itself I know that that is considered a gross misdemeanor in all 50 states according to the freaking service animal laws. So I certainly hope that Amtrak does everything in their power to change the way that their employees treat certain people who have disabilities and require the assistance of a animal. I certainly hope these people can make this right. I very sincerely hope from the bottom of my heart that this was a fluke.

I really truly and honestly hope that man has to find other employment where maybe he's not working with people of a sensitive mindset that have disabilities or people whom he can harm or maybe how about he just doesn't work with people at all because obviously it sounds like he isn't people-friendly. And in my opinion if this is a job that you choose to do and your customer service is that horrible this isn't a job you should have. How dare you treat an older lady like that over a service animal. I cannot even believe the way this happened. I am rambling at this point but I am so mad I have a video sent to me from my mom who was in tears of this man talking to her the way that he did and that was just the tail end of the video when she thought I should record this. So he was even being nicer than the way that she described but even in the video I was flabbergasted at the way that she was treated.

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6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 16, 2018

I have taken Amtrak for many years and never thought anything great of it. Nothing was particularly bad either, but there was nothing good. I just kept taking it because it was the fastest way to get where I wanted. A month ago, I encountered an incredibly rude employee who tried to kick me out of my seat because he was "trying to clear some space up for other people", when there was no one else in the area and there were many seats open. His body language was inappropriate and his tone was patronizing. He told me that he was in the middle of a divorce and had hypertension and other unrelated stuff, seeming to blame me for making his situation worse. This was entirely uncalled for and unprofessional.

I complained to Amtrak on their website and NEVER heard back from them. I also wrote on Facebook to them, and, not only did not really look into my complaint, they stopped responding to me completely. I never had anything against the company but after finding out how they deal with extremely unsatisfied customers, I think that they are one of the absolute worst companies I have ever purchased from and don't give a second thought about what their customers think.

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5 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 10, 2018

My train was cancelled by Amtrak due to weather. Understand totally these things happen however the agent gave me a voucher rather than the refund to my credit card as promised. When I called I was told it would take up to a month for me to receive my refund. Really? How can I get a flight home when you won’t return my money on a train YOU cancelled? The rod on the phone were not concerned and rude. They have lost a long time rider.

2 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Dec. 9, 2018

This evening, Dec. 8th 2018 I needed to get to Los Angeles from San Juan Capistrano with little advanced notice. As a result I only had my billfold with me (no Visa) so once on board the 5:34 NB train I was approached by the Amtrak agent. I explained my situation and pulled out $40. I have ridden this train on numerous occasions in the past and never paid more than $25 for the fare. The agent was clearly ticked off that I was asking to pay with cash. He asked me twice if I had a cell phone (which was charging on the wall in clear view) and a credit card. After I answered the first time he repeated his question in the loud sort of way that attempts to belittle the recipient for anyone on that half of the train car to hear.

After I explained my situation for the second or third time he indicated that he was going to have to travel "all the way to his seat" in order to pick up the required documentation to receive payment in cash. I told him I was headed all the way to LA so he could take his time. When he returned I asked him how much the fare was and he told me it was $35. I handed him two $20s and he said he had no change. After a significant silence he informed me that I needed to go to the bar car and get him change and that he would return in 5 minutes for payment. Initially I was going to suggest he keep the change until his demeanor got under my skin. I was quite sure that the fare was not even close to $35.

At this point I called Amtrak 800-usa-rail number and asked the agent (Lauren was her name) how much the fare was from San Juan Capistrano to Los Angeles (Union Station). She replied without hesitation the fare was $20.45! Then I asked Lauren if there was a fee to make a cash payment while on board the train. She said no again without a moment's hesitation. I asked if she was sure and she said that this was an unreserved coach seat and therefore there was no ADDITIONAL FEE TO PAY WITH CASH. I thanked her and waited for the agent's return. While I waited I looked up the fare on Amtrak's site and it was in fact $20.45.

When he returned and asked for the $35.00 I explained that I had just gotten off the phone with Amtrak and was told flat out there was not suppose to be any fee to pay in cash. He said Amtrak was wrong that he was right period. I said a fee of $3.00 or even $5.00 was rather high for a cash pay convenience fee but acceptable but to ask a customer to pay a $14.55 fee on a $20.45 fare was "a bit excessive" but what I felt and still feel is that fee is CRIMINAL! I asked for a receipt and called Amtrak once again. When I finally got to speak with an agent I was surprised to find the same agent Lauren on the line. I asked for the fare for my trip and once again Lauren replied $20.45. I then asked if there was a fee to pay cash onboard, once again Lauren replied "No".

I then explained to Lauren that I was at that moment in the train on the route we discussed and asked if she could explain why I was just charged a fee of $14.55 for the privilege of paying Amtrak in US currency for a fare of $20.45! I asked if she could find out if this was company policy and if she herself thought that the fee was quite excessive. Now the confident Lauren from Amtrak withdrew into herself fumbling over her words in a barely audible tone. Finally she asked if she could put me on hold. I agreed. When she returned to the call about 3 minutes later she said in a tiny voice I almost couldn't make out "that train uh does seem to have a fee for paying cash in person onboard and it's the $14.50 you mentioned."

I was floored! I repeated my question to her "so you are telling me that Amtrak has a policy currently in place and operational, that requires customers to pay a fee of $14.55 on a $20.45 fare for the privilege of paying for their service in cash??? Lauren was very uncomfortable at this point I could almost see her lips trembling. I felt bad for her. I mean she is just a phone rep that clearly could see that this was very wrong but had no power to change anything. I then asked to speak to a manager or someone in charge. Lauren said I should speak with customer service or relations or something. I said that would be great and thanked her. She put me through and their offices were closed. That is my story and it has me angry! I have never done anything like this before and I would appreciate any advice that could be offered. This is not about money. It's about what's right and this is so clearly wrong.

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6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 28, 2018

I hate flying but love traveling so for years I have traveled to the Northeast via Amtrak to stay with my family in New Jersey then back to Florida. During the years I have had unpleasant experiences with delays and dirty toilets but this last trip took the cake. My husband and I were supposed to leave out of Miami on Friday, November 16 at 8:05 am. When we got to the train station, we were told that due to no fault of Amtrak, a freight train had derailed and it was not known when or if we would be able to leave that day at all.

As it turns out, we were sent home to return the following day. The train pulled out of the station at 8:05 a.m. on Saturday as scheduled. During the trip, there were some unexplained engine changes and the ensuing delays but the toilets were reasonably clean so no major complaints until 8:00 p.m. when the train hit a car. We were delayed until 11:00 p.m. while the police, rescue and media descended on the area. We found out through some of the passengers who heard it (I guess) from some of the crew but there was no announcement whatsoever to explain the delay. We were able to see the commotion because we were having dinner in the dining car at that time and almost fell when they pulled the emergency brake.

Not one member of the crew took the time to explain the situation. The bathrooms ran out of water and only four out of eight were working. At noon the kitchen made a stew and asked the passengers to make a line from their cars to the kitchen to get a box with a little bowl with stew, plus some cookies and pretzels. We got to Newark Penn Station at 6:30 p.m., more than 24 hours after our scheduled arrival (Saturday at 10:40 am).

On our trip back, the train left Newark on time but the toilets from the very start of our journey were dirty and smelly with no spray in sight. At some point, the toilets overflowed and the hall between the two bathrooms had plenty of liquid on the floor. I went to the cafeteria and alerted the cafeteria attendant plus two inspectors who were sitting and visiting with each other. They looked at me with total disinterest and I went back to my seat. The handicapped bathroom in my car was sticky with urine, both the floor and the toilet seat and there were no paper towels anywhere to be found. I took a picture of the bathroom because I intend to send it to Amtrak. The other bathroom that had overflowed and had the liquid spilled over the hall, instead of mopping the overflowed substance, the crew laid empty paper bags over it and that's the way it stayed until we pulled in Miami.

The stench of the bathrooms was so bad it reached all the way to the front of the car. I understand delays for unexpected reasons; it happens. I just don't understand lack of hygiene, total disinterest in the part of the crew and complete disregard for the health and well being of the passengers. It is insulting and profoundly disrespectful as if the coach passengers were of a less important class. I am a rewards member and have been traveling Amtrak for years. I understand there are budget constraints but there is no excuse for the disgusting way the toilets are kept when simple steps could be taken to prevent that situation. If you fly, do not travel via Amtrak.

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8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 23, 2018

I AM RATING THIS 1. But, If there was a 0 I would rate it zero. My husband have being using Amtrak for a while because he doesn't care to fly. Here lies the problem. Every time he uses Amtrak to return to New York there is always a problem. The train from Atlanta to New York is always late. Sometimes 2 hours, 3 hours, 4 hours late and counting. This is unacceptable! And there is always a Freight train excuse. Tonight, the Crescent Train 20 late again. The train supposed to leave at 8:00 pm. Now they are saying probably 11:00 pm and as the night goes on it gets worse. I think the people who take Amtrak is mostly minorities and it seems that leadership do not care about the service that they provide. It seems that Amtrak caters to business people who travel to work such as DC, Philadelphia, and other key areas. After that, mostly minorities travel to Atlanta and New Orleans. They do not care. It is a dawn shape!!!

6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 14, 2018

I am currently on the Lake Shore Limited which left Chicago four and one half hours late. We will likely arrive in Boston five and a half hours late. This is appalling service. The wait in Chicago was made dismal by the closure of the first class/business class lounge at 9 pm. Had I been informed I could have had gotten something to eat before arriving at Union Station at 8:15 for my departure. The staff on the train is beset by concerned patrons and trying to do their best, but their ability to keep apologizing/excusing wears thin after this much time. On the trip out on Nov. 9th we were three and a half hours late arriving in Chicago. I have been a train lover my whole life but this is not acceptable. My previous trip to California was eight and a half hours late coming from Chicago. I can't make excuses for this anymore. I will be filing a complaint and will encourage my colleagues to NOT use Amtrak in the future.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 11, 2018

Handicap baggage assistance lady told my senior, disabled, (tiny) mother that she shouldn’t travel with luggage she can’t handle. Once out of sight, made her drag her own luggage to the train. UNBELIEVABLE. Took Mom to station to catch her train, Saturday, November 10. The Zephyr (52 hr ride, for a month long trip). She packed accordingly. And planned on checking large luggage in at start of journey.

Very helpful woman at ticket counter noticed her destination. Recommended she NOT check in her luggage as it may not arrive on the same day she arrives. Ticket counter directed her to go to the disabled assistance area when it’s time so she can receive assistance loading it. Told her to do the same when she reaches Chicago.

Backtracking... The train was running 90 minutes late. We were told to come back (and then do this) when the train was back on schedule. An hour later...told the train was still not arrived. No big deal. Instructed to come back in 1 1/2 hours. 1 hour 15 minutes later, came back. Helpful ticket counter woman recognized us. Snapped into action. Everyone else from baggage assistance was already loaded. She took us out to the platform and told us the (assistance clerk) would be arriving in a minute With the drop offs. Ask her to take mom to the train for loading.

Helpful ticket counter woman was still with when (assistance clerk) arrived in baggage vehicle. Asked if she could get Mom and baggage to the train to load her luggage. Oddly...ticket counter woman told (assistance clerk) “if you can’t do it, find someone who can”. Wished us well and went on her way. Looking back - I think there was already a problem with the assistance clerk employee?? That was an odd conversation.

We loaded mom’s luggage on the cart. (Assistance clerk) started angrily telling me how everyone else (from disabled assistance area) was already loaded up. And if we had been on time we would be too. I explained to her that we were on time. Multiple times. The train was late. Mom climbed on, assistance clerk hit the gas and they were on their way. Found out after Mom was on the train... (Assistance clerk) started angrily telling her that she shouldn’t travel with luggage she can’t handle. That if she can’t handle her luggage, she shouldn’t be traveling at all. KEEP IN MIND...this was luggage that was supposed to be checked in. It was on Amtrak’s advice that we did not check it in. Which was good advice, considering. But it was still never my mother’s intent to even load or need loading assistance with her luggage. That was done on Amtrak’s advice.

Once the woman was out of sight...she made my mother drag her two largest, heaviest pieces of luggage to the train herself (about the length of a city block). The (assistance clerk) carried my mother's purse, backpack, and smaller suitcase. And the entire time, kept telling (yelling at) my mother about how she shouldn’t be traveling if she couldn’t handle her own luggage. Things to note: My mother is very tiny. A senior (66 years old). Recovering from a heart attack. And has a current hand injury from a nail getting impaled in her hand a few days prior.

She had never intended to be handling luggage she “couldn’t handle“ during the trip. This is luggage that was intended to be checked in at the beginning of the route. And not seen again until the end. THEY recommended that it not be checked, and that it travel on her train specifically. And although Amtrak was unaware of all the conditions (hand injury, heart attack recovery)...they WERE aware that she was a senior. And that, in looking at her and the luggage, she would obviously not be able to reasonably handle getting it loaded onto the train herself. (She is very tiny as well as being a senior.) Which is WHY they directed her to the assistant area when they recommend that she not check her baggage. I do not understand why they have such a bitter, angry, abusive woman specifically working with their senior and disabled passengers.

In my attempts to make a report or file a complaint against this employee over the last two days...I am repeatedly being told that there is nobody to handle such reports or complaints until Tuesday. (Today is Sunday.) While attempting to talk to someone at the 800 number...(after two days of frustration)...the Amtrak customer service employee was far more concerned about my use of language and anger at the incident, then she was about the behavior of the Amtrak employee that created the incident.

My family has used Amtrak in the past. We’ve had good trips and bad; met excellent employees and so-so employees. But we have never experienced anything like this. It is obscene that anyone should be treated this way. And even more obscene that any company would show such a lack of concern for it. It is absolutely horrifying.

My mother stayed quiet and kind even while being yelled at and made to drag her own luggage down the block to the train. She just did as told and listened to the woman yell at her about how she shouldn’t be traveling if she couldn’t handle her own bags. She did nothing to invoke or warrant such behavior from the woman. She did not complain at the obvious physical difficulty of the task or respond to the angry yelling. She quietly did as told. And then when they got to the train, quietly told the woman, “ you are a horrible person”.

My mother is currently on the train. And will be for another day. Amtrak does not even have a means to take incident reports at this time. (And really doesn’t seem to care.) My mother in the meantime, is still upset and angry. What started off as a happy journey is now a horrible days-long journey that can’t be ended soon enough. And all I can do is console her through text messages until she gets to destination. Amtrak customer service has been slowly dropping through the years. They have now reached all-time lows. At every level. Do not send people you love on Amtrak.

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13 people found this review helpful
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