Amtrak metropolitan lounge foolishness.

Old Dec 4, 17, 7:45 am
  #1  
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Amtrak metropolitan lounge foolishness.

This is the letter I wrote to amtrak regarding my experiences in Chicago. Thus is intended for an FYI in case somebody else has the same experience.

I was denied Amtrak select plus benefit at Chicago Union Station's metropolitan lounge. I was traveling on 21 with a freind. We were both traveling coach. I showed Albert my select plus card. He rudely told me that I could not do that. Ms. Bradley was sitting behind the desk and said nothing. We left the lounge.




I called amtrak guest rewards select plus number. A very professional agent named Chantel was helpful and said yes I could bring the guest in. She even agreed to speak to the lounge agents.




When I walked into the lounge I saw Albert and Ms. Bradley telling a manager, Tim Schmidt that we should not be allowed in the lounge. He told me no and that I should never have been allowed to do this in the past.




I handed my phone to Mr. Schmidt and Chantel explained the policy. He then grudgingly allowed us in.
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Old Dec 4, 17, 10:02 am
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I don't know what's in the water at CHI, but their MetLounge agents are at complete polar extremes: Either very friendly and competent, or actively hostile and power-tripping. I once had an agent call Amtrak PD on me due to a policy dispute (she was wrong), after I had politely asked her to call over either a supervisor or my train's conductor to resolve it. I subsequently received a profuse apology from local management, but I doubt there were any repercussions for the employee.

Be sure to call Amtrak and ask for Customer Relations after your trip to report this nonsense.
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Old Dec 4, 17, 10:33 am
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Read the following for some insight into the Amtrak culture, among its senior staffers, at Chicago Union Station.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/am...ifes-business/

Last edited by AlanB; Dec 5, 17 at 3:59 am Reason: Updated link
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Old Dec 5, 17, 7:38 am
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Originally Posted by GoAmtrak View Post
I don't know what's in the water at CHI, but their MetLounge agents are at complete polar extremes: Either very friendly and competent, or actively hostile and power-tripping. I once had an agent call Amtrak PD on me due to a policy dispute (she was wrong), after I had politely asked her to call over either a supervisor or my train's conductor to resolve it. I subsequently received a profuse apology from local management, but I doubt there were any repercussions for the employee.

Be sure to call Amtrak and ask for Customer Relations after your trip to report this nonsense.
Recently I had my first experience with the CHI MetLounge (and any Amtrak MetLounge), traveling in a bedroom compartment on the SW Chief to LAX. I was expecting the same experience I get when checking in an AAdmirals Club, which I do frequently. A warm greeting, smiles, usually some friendly brief chit chat, no matter how busy they are. Boy, was that far from what I got. I said hello, and handed my ticket to the young woman, she handed it back with no comment and looked down. I said thank you. She never uttered a word. Some serious customer service training is needed for these employees (This young woman at least) who are interacting with Amtrak's frequent, premium, first class passengers. The lounge itself was quite nice I thought, in particular the upper level.
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Old Dec 5, 17, 4:19 pm
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The overwhelmingly vast majority of Amtrak employees I have dealt over the years have been outstanding, but--like in any large enterprise--there are some bad apples. Just a few days ago I had to call in because the Web site was not letting me complete a rewards points booking. The first agent I got (on the Select Plus/Executive line) quoted me a greater number of points than the Web site was showing (a known issue after the Web site renovation). I tried to explain this to her, and she literally started shouting at me "You don't know what you're talking about! This is the fare! Do you want it!?" HUCA, got a very nice knowledgeable agent who was aware of the issue, found a workaround to get me the ticket for the fare quoted on the Web site, and said she was going to remind the IT people that they needed to fix this issue.
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Old Dec 6, 17, 11:12 am
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The Chicago Metropolitan Lounge (and Amtrak Chicago in general) has an unusual number of folks with serious attitude, that I have experienced personally and have also seen as items of discussion on the Amtrak Unlimited discussion boards. Amtrak's customer service, unfortunately, is very inconsistent and YMMV. However, even so, Chicago seems to stand out. LA's Metro Lounge staff generally good, friendly, helpful and cooperative. I've had good experiences at New York's and Washington, DC's Club Acela, although I haven't been to those nearly as often as Chicago and, to a lesser extent, LA.
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Old Dec 7, 17, 4:05 am
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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Lounge access in certain cases can be at discretion of who is running lounge at that time for card holders. Granted if you are a ticketed passenger on that day with status you should be allowed in. Depending on who is working - a guest may or may not be allowed. It can be hit and miss - depend on day and who you are dealing with.

Staffing has been reduced in lounge making employee stress worse than it has been in years. Customer service is suffering. But no one in upper management seems to care.

Thanks to all of you who complained about kindergarten walk - highend customers no longer get walked from lounge to gate - which has caused tons of problems with customers. Yet coach and Legacy Club still get walked to their gate.

Majority of my issues have been on -board regionals in Illinois - not in station. But I have seen multiple issues dealt with good and bad in Chicago lounge ( new and old ) over years.

I've had good experiences in St Louis ( good and bad ), LA, DC and New York. Although DC lounge men's toilet seems to like to not work properly often. Had stops in DC and New York lounges twice this year.
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