Room H

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

You’ll find me tonight on the southbound Silver Meteor, bound from Philly to Jax. It’s been a busy day. I started in Toronto, flew to Dulles Airport outside Washington, Ubered to Union Station, Acelaed to Baltimore for lunch with a friend, Acelaed again to Philadelphia and changed directions to go south on the Meteor.

What a super room I have. I’d never explored a Viewliner sleeping car’s handicapped room, called Room H. It is awesome. I could sleep spread-eagled on the floor (which may happen if I have a second martini) and not touch anything. Or the bathroom—it's bigger than your kitchen. And there’s Kleenex! All this for $653.

At this point, I cannot avoid the question forming in your minds: Why is Fred in Room H? Isn’t he of sound body?

I’m here because something went wrong. I’d booked a roomette in February for tonight because a bedroom wasn’t available, using Amtrak Guest Reward points. Then a bedroom opened up. I called AGR to upgrade my reservation. This is where I get confused. The change was made but I didn’t verify its accuracy. Instead, I presented myself at trackside today to occupy Room B of car 9712. My cell phone had rung and I was talking and brushed aside the attendant. But he followed me to my room and insisted I inspect the boarding pass I had flipped at him. It said my trip was to commense on February 28. Today was March 28. I hung up on my caller.

I have a rule of thumb: I screw up 1 of 100 travel arrangements. This was the 1 in 100. The Meteor left Philadelphia and the conductor, who is the size of a refrigerator, entered the room. He said I had until Wilmington, 20 miles away, to ticket myself or be ejected. Actually, he was pretty polite but taking no BS. I called Guest Rewards. The nice lady said there was exactly one room left on the Meteor, Room H in car 9710. For reasons I won’t get into, I could buy the room but not get it using points. So I did. For $653.

Let my ineptitude be your learning experience. I’ve asked that my AGR points be returned but am not holding my breath. The mistake may have been that of the AGR person I spoke with on the phone, but I am also culpable. Always verify your boarding pass. But back to my topic: Room H is the Ritz. —Fred W. Frailey

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