Last month I attempted a quick overnight trip to Seattle to attend a retirement party for a friend. I usually drive to Seattle, but with winter weather and traffic I thought I’d finally try out the train. A couple of friends have been down to visit on it and raved how easy it was (in May, yes). So, after our train departed an HOUR late, because we were waiting for an engine (which seems important so why wasn’t it already there?!) we got going.
And then stopped. Trees on the tracks. Obviously outside their control (but of course, I wonder if we’d left on time…) by the time we got going again it was clear I wasn’t going to arrive till the party was over. I knew it’d go long but as we waited and waited I was losing faith I’d arrive in time for my departure the next morning. So, I called Amtrak figuring that was easiest and they said I could jump off at Kelso and go back. I talked to the conductor and he gave me a super informal slip of paper to give the other conductor and I could go back. So, I did.
Then I called Amtrak to get a refund for that useless trip (they said they couldn’t refund/process till the trip was complete) and 6 hours spent on trains to literally go nowhere (because if you’ve driven past Kelso you know this is true). Everyone I talked to was nice and helpful along the way, but all I got for a day of lost time was a credit to my account for the half of the trip I didn’t take.
As is often my problem with customer service folks, they aren’t given the tools to ACTUALLY fix the problem. They’re given the lowest common denominator: don’t spend money, don’t actually make the customer love you. I did ask if there was anything they could do, but no of course not, that’s their policy.
I took to Twitter, and ZERO response from them. Which is a disappointment, but not a surprise. If you’re on social media BE on social media (my other favorite rant…)
And so, I’ll continue to drive to Seattle or fly, because Alaska Airlines knows what they’re doing and I wouldn’t have missed the party.
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