Discount Airline Fares Vs Amtrak Fares vs Full cost business travelers?

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Discount Airline Fares Vs Amtrak Fares vs Full cost business travelers?
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 12:55 PM

The Mystery of Airline fares seemed to need a doctorate. From what I undertstand as a casual "leasure traveler" I am a cheapskate and I am up agaist "Buisness Travelers" who can pay full price because they are using somebody elses money aka company expence account to pay the freight. Thats why I have to fly at odd times of day and Sat Night Stayovers...Well if we do the numbers I bet that Amtrak has a good chunk of "Leisure Travelers" who have to dig into there own pockets rather then those Buisnessmen with unlimited expence accounts. 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 8:45 PM

CandOforprogress2
. . . Well if we do the numbers I bet that Amtrak has a good chunk of "Leisure Travelers" who have to dig into there own pockets rather then those Buisnessmen with unlimited expence accounts. 

Except for the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and similar operations in California and the metro Chicago area, etc.  

Further, the NEC is claimed to make the most money (profit or least loss, depending on who's telling the story), and the long-haul cross-country ""leisure trains" are often said to lose the most money.  

- PDN.

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by rrnut282 on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 9:03 PM

There is only one formula to make a small fortune in the passenger (air or rail) business:  start with a large one.  

Mike (2-8-2)
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Posted by Murphy Siding on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 8:51 AM

CandOforprogress2

The Mystery of Airline fares seemed to need a doctorate. From what I undertstand as a casual "leasure traveler" I am a cheapskate and I am up agaist "Buisness Travelers" who can pay full price because they are using somebody elses money aka company expence account to pay the freight. Thats why I have to fly at odd times of day and Sat Night Stayovers...Well if we do the numbers I bet that Amtrak has a good chunk of "Leisure Travelers" who have to dig into there own pockets rather then those Buisnessmen with unlimited expence accounts. 

 

Or it could just be that darned old law about supply and demand that so many people seem to be clueless about. Your example above suggests that those naughty old business travelers are subsidizing you.Whistling

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 9:47 AM

A lot of business travel is not nearly as 'planned' as leasure travel is.  The Boss says you have to be in X tomorrow, and X is on the other coast.  So full fare is the only way you will get there.

         

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, January 14, 2018 4:26 PM
Amtrak sends a follow-up questionnaire to a sample of passengers.  One of the questions is the purpose of the passenger’s trip, Amtrak has no way of determining whether the passenger is being truthful.  Whether this information would be made available to the public is problematic.
 
Here are some impressions that I have formed riding NEC and Pacific Surfline trains and the Texas Eagle.  I ride the Eagle between Dallas and Austin or San Antonio.  I talk to most of the people that sit next to me, as well as my tablemates on the Eagle, but I have never asked anyone who is floating the cost of their trip.
 
Over the past four years I have ridden the Acela between New York and Philadelphia or Washington five times.  On every trip my seat mate was a business person or a lawyer.  I suspect they were traveling on an expense account.  Over the same period I have taken a Northeast Regional train between New York and Boston or Hartford twice.  I rode coach.  On one trip I sat next to a professor from Yale; on another I visited with two University of Hartford students.  The professor could have been traveling on an expense account; I am pretty sure the students were paying their own way.
 
On my four to six trips a year between San Diego and Los Angeles I ride business class.  I have had an interesting mix of seat mates, i.e. two lawyers, a Marine Corps pilot, a retired Naval Officer, and a musician with the San Diego Symphony. I suspect the lawyers and maybe the pilot were riding on the firm’s or the government’s nickel.

I ride the Eagle to and from Dallas six to eight times a years.  I almost always book an economy room.  Over the past five years I  met only one person traveling for business.  Most of the passengers that I have met in the sleeper were retirees like me or folks who were trying out the train between DFW and San Antonio. 

On a trip last year I talked at length with my sleeping car attendant.  He has worked for Amtrak for nearly 40 years.  He referred frequently to the pensioners in the sleepers, which I took to be insightful.   

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, January 14, 2018 4:37 PM

I would like to make a few points about changes my employer has made to expense reporting for business travel.    It is now allowable to expense the extra frills economy seats which American Airlines refers to as MAIN CABIN EXTRA.    Additionally, you can also now expense direct airport shuttle service vs shared ride which used to be the threshold before (you get home sooner with the direct ride service and most employers are comming to realize that is a quality of life issue).   You can get the employer to pay for full size or premium rental cars if you are going to share the car and/or your of such a physical height or stature that renting a smaller car is a physical limitation for you.

Happy for the changes and I will probably take advantage of all three when I travel.

The expense report standard for expensing train tickets remain that you have to get airfare quoted on the route first by the Corporate Travel Agency and the train ticket total has to be less than the RT Airfare quoted if air travel is an option on the route.    They will not allow expensing of first class rail or rail sleeping car unless you have prior management approval.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, January 14, 2018 4:47 PM

BaltACD

A lot of business travel is not nearly as 'planned' as leasure travel is.  The Boss says you have to be in X tomorrow, and X is on the other coast.  So full fare is the only way you will get there.

True and one of the reasons is because business management does not plan anything in advance.......everything is like week before notice.     Regardless, what I am finding is due to the competition of Southwest airlines the days of the  $1300 airfare business ticket are largely gone.    Highest I can get with my current employer is $400-500......it's because airfares have become more competitive domestically and most businesses have contracts with large travel agencies now that can guarantee prices will remain within a specific range for airfares on most routes due to the volume of tickets they buy.

I try to travel Amtrak as much as I can for business but Amtrak only falls within range for Coach travel and only on very limited corridor routes........mostly only the Northeast Corridor.     Though I can also get Amtrak to work for Chicago to Milwaukee on any business trip I take that includes that city pair because the ticket price is fixed.     Otherwise Amtrak is out of the picture entirely.

BTW, BNSF uses the DFW to Kansas City American route pretty heavily.    Always see their orange hard hats peeking out of their carryons or they will boot their laptop next to me and you'll see the large BNSF speed logo as wallpaper in the background.    Usually can count 4-6 BNSF employees per flight when I fly that route.

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, January 14, 2018 9:08 PM
Perhaps some companies out there are paying excessive fares for Air travel, but mine is not. Aside from the fact that travel is restricted for everyone but Sales associates, Any generally approved travel must be booked 2 weeks out or further, it must be a flight within 10% of the lowest cost flight in the system for the days traveled. And that flight by the way is about the same price as I'd pay going on priceline. Hotels are to be Hilton brand as first preference and you won't get too many dirty looks for choosing the actual Hilton over a cheaper brand, because they figure it's not a pleasure trip. Best to get a good experience. Lyft had better be your source for 90% of your ground transport. Everything else is scrutinized. Midsized car on a rental is allowed, anything bigger better be shared. Train travel is allowed, but again must fall within the 10% of lowest available fare. If the travel is last minute, you need to get VP level approval and at that point the fare is the fare. Anyway, the point is, the notion that business travelers pay higher fares doesn't mesh with my experience at 3 companies over the past 18 years.
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Posted by YoHo1975 on Sunday, January 14, 2018 9:09 PM
Oh, and 15+ years ago, policy was that you could/would book first class on any international trip. Not anymore, you fly steerage no matter how long the trip is.
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Posted by PJS1 on Monday, January 15, 2018 11:30 AM

YoHo1975
Oh, and 15+ years ago, policy was that you could/would book first class on any international trip. Not anymore, you fly steerage no matter how long the trip is. 

Years before I retired from my large corporate employer, the company instituted a chargeback system for shared services.  Included in the bundle were travel expenses.

The company also implemented a pay for performance program, which was driven by a complex set of metrics.  One of them was a business unit's contributions to pre-tax income.  Employees covered by the program had an incentive to control all of their expenses including travel.  Lower expenses meant more money to the bottom line, which in turn meant more money for employees to share. 

The travel guidelines were just that: guidelines.  But it did not take long for managers and professionals to realize that they had a vested interest in controlling travel expenses.  Failure to do so meant money out of their pockets.  And for those employees who took a bit too long to catch-on, their manager had ways of helping them get the picture. 

Once these two programs took hold, travel planning improved dramatically.  Last minute emergencies dropped like a rock.            

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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