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Adding a passenger to sleeper reservation?

Adding a passenger to sleeper reservation?

Old Sep 25, 21, 8:06 pm
  #1  
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Adding a passenger to sleeper reservation?

In a few weeks I'm taking a trip on the Southwest Chief. I'm looking at a bedroom to reserve right now, and since it's available, I'd like to just go ahead and reserve it.

However, a friend might be coming with me, and doesn't know with certainty yet.

If he's able to make it, and I know ahead of departure, can I have a 2nd passenger added to the reservation and pay the fare difference? Nothing else about the reservtion would be changing (origin, destination, date, or room type).

Thanks much.
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Old Sep 25, 21, 9:53 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Presguy View Post
[...] can I have a 2nd passenger added to the reservation and pay the fare difference? [...]
Yes. The 2nd passenger's ticket is called an "open sleeper ticket" and it requires an agent to issue it. The fare difference is the rail fare, which is currently the second lowest coach bucket, not counting Saver fares. Almost always, the passenger must pick up the open sleeper ticket from a agent at a staffed station. The open sleeper ticket is an actual paper ticket (unless things have changed) and not an e-ticket.

Call the Amtrak reservation line (800.872.7245 or the number provided to you by AGR) and speak to an agent. If the agent seems at all confused or hesitant, ask for a supervisor. "Open sleeper ticket" is the buzz phrase and many agents do not know about them or do not know how to issue one.

Usually I have heard about open sleeper tickets in the context of a second passenger who is joining the train after the first passenger or departing before the first passenger (or both). I do not believe one can be issued for a second passenger who will join the train earlier or depart the train later than the first passenger.

Good luck.
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Old Sep 25, 21, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
Yes. The 2nd passenger's ticket is called an "open sleeper ticket" and it requires an agent to issue it. ....
Excellent - thanks so much for taking the time to provide all that detail. I had looked on the Amtrak site, and none of the information about changing reservations mentioned adding a passenger. Likewise for the Ask Julie tool. Tried calling a couple times today but got a busy signal.

Your help and advice is much appreciated.
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Old Sep 26, 21, 4:27 am
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An "open sleeper" ticket can be issued for a passenger joining a sleeper passenger between any two points where the original passenger is holding the room is on the train.

I was on an AGR award ticket in a roomette on the Coast Starlight from Seattle to Los Angeles. I was able to have a friend join me betweenTacoma to Portland on a cash "open sleeper" ticket. So not going the whole way was not a problem, nor was the base sleeper reservation being an award ticket and the open sleeper ticket related to it being a regular cash ticket.

Open sleeper tickets can be a bit of a pain. They are one of the very last types of tickets that cannot be eticketed and require a paper "value" ticket. So no PDF, app display, or ticket scanning. You must have a physical ticket issued by an Amtrak agent at a staffed station, a QuikTrak kiosk, or mailed to you. Some of the phone agents at 800-USA-RAIL don't know what they are or how to make an open sleeper reservation, and require help or a supervisor to do one.
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Old Sep 26, 21, 9:12 pm
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The cost of the open sleeper ticket has gone up significantly in the past six months. Previously it was the same as a coach fare, but now it is much higher. I recently added my wife to a ticket from Cincinnati to Glenwood Springs. The coach fare was $154, but the open fare ticket was $100 higher. You can determine the cost by comparing the sleeper fare of 1 person vs 2 people. I think Amtrak is trying to capture the additional cost for the meals for the 2nd passenger. Sleeper costs have also gone up dramatically in the past 6 months, especially for bedrooms.
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Old Sep 27, 21, 9:03 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Armani View Post
The coach fare was $154, but the open fare ticket was $100 higher.
Was the "coach fare" in this case a Saver fare? If not, do you know what bucket the fare was? The rail fare portion of a sleeper ticket used to be the lowest bucket coach fare, but many months ago (perhaps a few years), Amtrak changed to charging the second-lowest bucket (not counting Saver) fare. If you were charged higher than that, it could indicate that Amtrak has again raised the rail fare portion of a sleeper ticket.

Your example is a bit complicated because it evidently includes at least two trains (presumably the Cardinal and the California Zephyr), and either or both trains could have had either the Saver or lowest-bucket coach fare available. And you are absolutely correct that Amtrak is using higher buckets for the accommodation charge for the sleepers.
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Old Sep 27, 21, 2:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Armani View Post
The cost of the open sleeper ticket has gone up significantly in the past six months. Previously it was the same as a coach fare, but now it is much higher. I recently added my wife to a ticket from Cincinnati to Glenwood Springs. The coach fare was $154, but the open fare ticket was $100 higher. You can determine the cost by comparing the sleeper fare of 1 person vs 2 people. I think Amtrak is trying to capture the additional cost for the meals for the 2nd passenger. Sleeper costs have also gone up dramatically in the past 6 months, especially for bedrooms.
The rail fare portion of the sleeper fare, which is what the cost is for an open sleeper, used to be the lowest "Value" coach yield management bucket. It never was the lowest "Saver" coach fare.

Sometime during the last couple years they changed it so it is now the second lowest "Value" coach bucket.

The change was well before the return of traditional dining on the western trains, I doubt they are related.

Even with the change, the accommodation charge is still far more expensive than the rail fare portion. Further, Amtrak seems to have become very aggressive in the last 6 months in their yield management for sleeping car space, especially in the initial allocation when inventory is released for sale 11 months in advance. They'll adjust it and reallocate some inventory into lower buckets if demand doesn't develop, but they seem to be doing that piecemeal.
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Old Sep 28, 21, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by zephyr17 View Post
The rail fare portion of the sleeper fare, which is what the cost is for an open sleeper, used to be the lowest "Value" coach yield management bucket. It never was the lowest "Saver" coach fare.

Sometime during the last couple years they changed it so it is now the second lowest "Value" coach bucket.

The change was well before the return of traditional dining on the western trains, I doubt they are related.

Even with the change, the accommodation charge is still far more expensive than the rail fare portion. Further, Amtrak seems to have become very aggressive in the last 6 months in their yield management for sleeping car space, especially in the initial allocation when inventory is released for sale 11 months in advance. They'll adjust it and reallocate some inventory into lower buckets if demand doesn't develop, but they seem to be doing that piecemeal.
I typically take 2 long distance train trips per year and book my tickets when they first open up. Fares are much higher this year than last. Have you actually seen them go down recently? I've only seen them go up, often after only 1-2 rooms are booked. I reserved CIN-SLC yesterday for next Aug. The Family BR $931, Roomette $1042, and Bedroom $2000+. I fortunately reserved a family BR which we like much better than Roomette. Bedrooms are about twice the cost as last year for our trip to Glenwood Springs.
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Old Sep 28, 21, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Armani View Post
I typically take 2 long distance train trips per year and book my tickets when they first open up. Fares are much higher this year than last. Have you actually seen them go down recently? I've only seen them go up, often after only 1-2 rooms are booked. I reserved CIN-SLC yesterday for next Aug. The Family BR $931, Roomette $1042, and Bedroom $2000+. I fortunately reserved a family BR which we like much better than Roomette. Bedrooms are about twice the cost as last year for our trip to Glenwood Springs.
As I said, Amtrak has been really aggressive this year in their inventory allocation and they have largely stopped allocating any inventory to the lower buckets at 11 months out as they used to. The number of months out has ceased to be a meaningful measure of anything when it comes to pricing.

I and other people at a board where we watch these things have seen individual days dropping on certain trains. There appear to be at least some drops for mid winter now. You would expect those to have had inventory allocated in lower buckets from the start, but Amtrak appears to have put most inventory at mid and higher buckets. They are only now coming down, and even that looks reluctant, being on a piecemeal basis, day by day, train by train.

You aren't imagining things, and low buckets are much, much harder to come by right now. But if Amtrak is successful in their more aggressive yield management strategy, that is, they are selling this rooms at higher price points and they are not going out empty, don't expect a change back. Hopefully, they will find out there isn't demand at these price levels and they will come back down as Amtrak adjusts to maximize the actual yield. But always remember, supply is severely constrained, 10 bedrooms at most for most Superliner trains (2 sleepers), many with just 5. Plus, with the withdrawal of transdorms from many trains, the supply of roomettes is more constrained since the crew must be accommodated in the regular sleepers. Again, with 2 sleepers, there are a maximum of 26 roomettes without counting any occupied by the OBS crew when there is no transdorm.

Frankly, many speculate that Amtrak is deliberately restricting already limited supply by running short consists and eliminating transdorms to keep prices high.
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Old Sep 30, 21, 5:47 pm
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As a quick followup (not that it has much value), I saw Serpens response pretty late in the evening, and by the time I booked the following day, my friend had already confirmed. Having read zephyr17 's comment about hassle/extra steps, I'm glad I was able to ticket us together, on the same initial reservation.

As a complete aside, I happened to log in and take a look today, and noticed the price went down a bit. I "changed" the reservation to the new fare, and got a partial refund - which was a nice surprise.
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Old Oct 1, 21, 9:09 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Presguy View Post
[...] my friend had already confirmed. [...]
Good. Because many Amtrak employees are unfamiliar with the open sleeper ticket, being ticketed together will help avoid confusion.
Originally Posted by Presguy View Post
[...] I "changed" the reservation to the new fare, and got a partial refund - which was a nice surprise.
Congratulations, both on noting the reduced fare and on getting the partial refund. Some agents want to give a voucher, and some agents want to withhold 25% of the fare difference as a penalty. I'm glad it worked out for you.
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Old Oct 7, 21, 11:19 am
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I'm glad I found this; I might have an upcoming trip with my wife and her parents (2 rooms), and we're not sure yet if her dad will be coming too or just her mom.

From the discussion of the open sleeper ticket above, I wonder if it'd be simpler to just book it for both of them and then cancel his if he decides not to join us?

Also, FWIW, the base fare for a room on the CZ (EMY-CHI) appears to be $48 higher than value fare but less than the flexible fare - saver = $141, value = $176, flex = $339, and roomette = $1052 for one / $1276 for two.
On the Coast Starlight (LAX-EMY), the fare basis appears to be a business class seat - saver = $54, value = $68, flex = $130, business = $86, and roomette = $202 for one / $288 for two.

I think one of you guys responded on my Amtrak Unlimited thread, assuming it's the same @zephyr17.
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Old Oct 7, 21, 2:59 pm
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Yeah, I'm the same Zephyr17 on discuss.amtraktrains.com.

You are seeing the lowest Value fare bucket right now for coach. The sleeper rail fare is now always the equivalent of second Value coach bucket and the coach sales themselves obviously haven't gotten there yet. Sleeper rail fares have never been at the Flex coach fare level.
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Old Oct 7, 21, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by strickerj View Post
From the discussion of the open sleeper ticket above, I wonder if it'd be simpler to just book it for both of them and then cancel his if he decides not to join us?
I'm confused. It sounds like you are suggesting each of your parents-in-law get an open sleeper ticket, but the open sleeper ticket allows the holder to join someone in an already-booked room.

If I understand the situation, I would suggest you reserve a room for your mother-in-law and add your father-in-law on an open sleeper ticket if he can make the trip. In this case, I would not book the open sleeper ticket until he is confident he will travel; that way, there is nothing to cancel.
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Old Oct 7, 21, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by serpens View Post
I'm confused. It sounds like you are suggesting each of your parents-in-law get an open sleeper ticket, but the open sleeper ticket allows the holder to join someone in an already-booked room.

If I understand the situation, I would suggest you reserve a room for your mother-in-law and add your father-in-law on an open sleeper ticket if he can make the trip. In this case, I would not book the open sleeper ticket until he is confident he will travel; that way, there is nothing to cancel.
The latter is what I meant - wife and I are definitely going in one room, and mother in law is definitely going in another room. Thus, I was thinking either adding my father in law on an open sleeper ticket later, or adding him from the start and seeing if I can cancel just his ticket later (but keep the room for her) if he decides not to go.
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