As the airlines attempt to derail federal legislation on passenger
rights by promising to adhere to a self-imposed honor system,
Amtrak has rolled out its own passenger pledge, despite the fact
that nobody has even asked for it.
Like a rock star who goes into rehab because it might lead to a
few talk show gigs, Amtrak is launching a pre-emptive strike
against nobody, promising the moon and the stars to any and all
disenchanted air passengers who can see their way clear to riding
Employee training programs, on-board amenities and beefed up
F&B are the cornerstones of the initiative. Vouchers, rather
than refunds, are the carrot that Amtrak hopes will entice riders
back on board.
Maybe it will work. But last time I rode Amtrak I spent five
hours sitting on the restroom floor of a packed train, and I was
far from alone. Once you've ridden the rails in the bathroom, all
the romance seems to go out of the words "all aboard."