Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So Amtrak Sucks... Part One

Remember my excitement over taking the train to Florida?  Remember how I was almost giddy at the thought and how clever I was and how much money I was saving by traveling by train?

Well forget all of that because AMTRAK SUCKS!!!

That's right, Amtrak SUCKS!!!

I won't say it again until later, I promise.

So we arrived at the station the night we were leaving, an hour before the train was due to arrive.  Why?  No one knows.  I mean, there is NOOOO security, the station was in a sketchy part of town and essentially, there was nothing to do but sit there.  And just to be clear, the station itself was like having a train station in a gas station bathroom.  That hasn't been cleaned.  Ever.

So we line up and I specifically ask if we could NOT be seated near the family with the screaming child and I was assured that we were not.  Well, guess what?  Screaming child 6 rows up.  Thank you, Mr. Conductor.  We get to our seats, get settled and comfy and take off.  Michael and I are both super excited about the journey and comment to each other on how smooth the ride is, how much leg room we have...basically, we are pleased.  

Then we try to go to sleep.  

NOT as easy as it sounds.  I am a very fussy sleeper.  The planets have to align just right in order for me to sleep and so I already knew that it was going to be rough for me.  What I did not expect was how it was going to be near impossible.  I took Z-Quil, I took Melatonin... I FELT tired but could not get comfortable.  I finally managed to doze when the train stopped.  Okay, no big deal, we were making stops and I was fully aware of that fact.  But when we didn't start going again, I got suspicious.

A freight train had derailed ahead of us and we ended up sitting for 4 1/2 hours!!!  I was BEYOND pissed.  Was my towncar going to wait for us in Orlando?  What about our hotel reservation?  I tried contacting Amtrak but no one could tell me anything about how long we were going to sit, etc.

So we finally start moving and okay, we were assured that we'd make up some time and could be in to Orlando by maybe 12:30-1:00 (they were eliminating some stops to make up the time).  Then we stopped again.  And again.  And again.  Honestly, it was ridiculous.  The crew disappeared, the customer service people on the 800# had no idea why we were stopped and essentially we were like hostages on a train.  

Did they offer us a complimentary meal?  No.  We got a "snack pack" that had cheese and 3 crackers, some dried fruit and a cookie, plus some bottled water that must have been bottled in the now overflowing and extremely nasty smelling bathroom.  Gross.  So thank you, Amtrak, so glad that we're all stuck on the train without food and you cared about us so much.

We did not arrive in Orlando until 4:30 p.m.  We were supposed to be there at 10:20 a.m.  My entire day at Disney - which was already paid for - was gone.  I am now OUT that money.  Thankfully, our town car driver stayed and waited for us all day.  That man was a blessing.  When we were finally released from the hell-train, he helped us with our bags, waited for our checked luggage and got us in the car and out of there in a flash!  I was never so happy to be in a car in my entire life.

There was no traffic but storm clouds were coming and by the time we hit our resort, some rain was falling.  But I didn't car because I was off the train!!!  Three emails, three phone calls and no real response from Amtrak.  I was hoping for an upgrade for the ride home to the sleepette car (tiny 3x6 rooms with bunk beds) but no one can authorize that except customer relations and they're not answering their phones.

So on our trip down to Florida, just to re-cap, AMTRAK SUCKED!!!

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