Setting Up Train Travel



Overview

The train travel service is integrated with the online travel booking process. It lets you set up spending policies, and guides users to appropriate train options. Tickets can be picked up at a station kiosk or emailed. Travelers can store their Amtrak Membership program numbers in their profiles. Companies can manage train costs with policies and take advantage of negotiated rates.

Before setting up train travel, you need to contact Deem support (support@deem.com) to request assistance. Deem provides the customer context code you need to set up the ability to book train travel.

Note: If you have not received your customer context code, stop before enabling a service rule until you receive the context code. 

Tip: If you choose to do the configuration before receiving the context information, simply do not enable the service rule. Once the context information is received, you can enable the service rule and you’ll be ready to go.

As a site administrator, you perform several functions in the Partner Dashboard to set up train travel:

  1. (Optional) Modifying a user's profile in the Users tab: You can modify each user's profile to include a home train station, preferred service type, and membership info. (Users can also do this: see "Service Preferences" in Your Profile.)
  2. Changing the configuration for train travel using the Services tab:
    • Agency configuration
      • Agency settings: Add your customer context code to your travel agency settings, enable passive segments in the passenger name record (PNR), and set queue and delivery options for PNR processing.
      • Custom passenger name record (PNR): You can customize PNR scripts if necessary. 
      • Queue / delivery options: You can create or modify settings for queue and delivery options for train bookings.
    • Travel policy management: You can set travel policy to control the kinds of train bookings users can make.
    • Display configuration: You can change the default settings for displaying the mileage radius when searching for train stations, and what to do it rates change between booking and purchasing.
    • Compliance codes: You can enter one or more codes for reasons that users can choose when booking an out-of-policy selection.
    • Private rates: You can set up private rates with your customer context code.
  3. Assigning rules to groups using the Rules tab: You can assign specific rules to specific groups of users, or set one rule for everyone in the Everyone group. You can also set up a special group just for testing purposes.

Modifying a User's Profile

You can modify a user's profile to include a home train station, travel preferences, and membership info. To learn how to edit the user's profile, see Editing a User Profile and Setting Delegates

Changing the Configuration for Train Travel

To configure a site for train travel, you need to change agency settings to add your customer context code to the agency settings. You also need to set up train booking policy, and you may also want to change aspects of the train service display and add out-of-policy compliance codes for reasons that travelers can choose for making out-of-policy bookings. You can also enter private rates for train service.

Changing Agency Settings

Agency settings control how train bookings are handled. In the Train Support section of the page, you need to:

  • Add the channel and agent identifier.
  • Add your train customer context code (Customer Identifier) to the agency settings in the Train Support section of the Services | Edit Agency Settings page.
  • Decide whether or not passive segments for train travel should be added to the global distribution system (GDS) you are using for ticketing air travel. passive segment is a set of trip information entered into the GDS that does not cause a ticket to be issued by the GDS. For example, a traveler may be taking a train between cities, and although you do not use the GDS to issue the train ticket, you may want all of the trip information to be in one place for the traveler's benefit, and so that agents can generate itineraries or make notes. By default, no information is saved in the GDS unless you decide to enable passive segments. 
    • If passive segments are enabled, the default documentation will be added to the R-field of the PNR. These remarks cannot be masked or modified. 
    • The following are examples of the default remarks when passive segments are enabled:

5R‡RC RAIL BOOKING

5R‡AMTRAK REC LOC A1B2C3

5R‡RATE CONFIRMED 140.00

  • Add or change the train support message and phone number. 
  • Decide whether queue delivery options need to be created or changed for train bookings. 

For details on changing agency settings, see Configuring Agency Settings.

If you need to customize PNR scripts for train bookings, see Customizing the Passenger Name Record, and review the Custom PNR Editor Script Samples for Train Service.

Note:  If you are enabling Canada's VIARail train service, the airport code entered into the Sales location field determines whether Amtrak or VIARail is made available to the traveler.  If a US airport code is entered, then it is US’s Amtrak train service that will be offered.  If a Canadian airport code is entered in the Sales Location field, then it is Canada's VIARail train service that will be offered.  Because there is only one sales location field allowing only one code, to enable both Amtrak and VIARail on the same site, 2 agency settings pages must be configured.  

Train Booking Policy

You can establish a policy that allows travelers to book first class or business class. To establish train booking policy, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Services tab. The Services | Overview page appears.
  2. Follow the instructions in Adding or Editing a Travel Policy

Train Service Display

To change the default settings for displaying the mileage radius when searching for train stations, and what to do it rates change between booking and purchasing, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Services tab. The Services | Overview page appears.
  2. Follow the instructions in Adding or Editing a Display Configuration

Out-of-policy Compliance Codes

Compliance codes are used to indicate which reasons should appear for a user to choose when booking something out of policy. The code is placed in the passenger name record (PNR) so that it can be easily tracked in the system and by the travel agency. To create out-of-policy compliance codes and reason messages for train service, follow the instructions in Managing Compliance Codes and Messages.

Private Rates

Private Rates are discounted rates your company or travel agency has already negotiated. Private rate choices appear at the top of the traveler's list in search results.

To add private rates for train travel, follow the instructions in Configuring Private Rates

Assigning Rules to Groups

Service rules enable or disable the services for a group (see Groups Tab for Managing Groups for details about groups). To create service rules, click the Rules tab, and then click the Service Rules link. The Rules | Services Rules page appears.

Several different service rules can be configured in columns on the page, including Travel. See Service Rules for details on creating a rule, and follow the instructions in Enabling Travel RulesBe sure to:

  • Select the Train Travel: Enable Train checkbox.
  • Select the previously configured train compliance codes in the Compliance Codes section.
  • Select the previously configured private rates set in the Private Negotiated Rate Sets section.

Note: If train service will not be made available to all users, add a group specifying which users can travel by train. See Groups Tab for Managing Groups for details about groups.

Adding VIARail for Canadian Train Travel

To enable VIARail for Canadian train travelers, an Agency Settings page must be added where the Sales Location field in the Host Information section of the page must contain a Canadian airport code. All other steps in the configuration remain the same for enabling US (Amtrak) and Canadian (VIARail) train service.

Note:  Because a user may have only one Agency Setting linked to their group’s rules, a second user profile is required if the user will travel via both Amtrak and VIARail.  This will rarely happen, however.

Train Frequently Asked Questions:

What rail providers are supported today?

Currently, Amtrak in the United States, rail in the UK, Eurostar in Europe and VIARail in Canada are the supported services.   

Are the tickets offered through Travel the same as what can be purchased on amtrak.com?

Yes, only better. The tickets available through Travel are ticketed directly by Amtrak, the same as on Amtrak.com.  What is better is that the corporate user can now also take advantage of their corporate discounts in Travel. 

How do I get my tickets?

If there is a kiosk at the departure station, the Deliver ticket by drop-down menu appears in the Ticketing and Delivery Information section of the Purchase page, and you can choose Email to email the eTicket to you, or Pickup at departure station to pick up the boarding pass at the kiosk.

If there is no kiosk at the departure station, Email is the only choice offered, and you must provide an email address your default email address appears and you can change it. The email includes the eTicket, which you can take with you on a mobile device and use as a boarding pass. Specific instructions are provided on the confirmation page of your reservation and in the email.

Can I make my reservation for Amtrak and instantly pick up my ticket at the kiosk?

Yes.  The booking is completed instantly.  You can pick up your ticket immediately.

What happens if I need my ticket to be delivered by mail?  Is there an end date before which the reservation needs to be made?

You can request mail delivery when you purchase an Amtrak ticket. You will be required to enter a mailing address and your tickets will arrive before your departure date.  There is a 15 day cut-off when requesting tickets be delivered via mail.

Can I cancel online?

Yes.  Amtrak tickets are fully refundable when you cancel online as long as you have not printed the tickets from the kiosk.  Once the tickets are printed, you must go directly to Amtrak to exchange the tickets and receive a credit.  Do not contact your travel agent.

Can I change my reservation online?

Yes. A ticket can be changed by first canceling the original ticket and then booking a new ticket.  Do not contact your travel agent.

If I change my reservation, will my calendar be updated?

Yes. Changes will be reflected on your calendar if you are using Groupware integration (see Setting Up Groupware Integration for details). Your calendar will also be updated for offline changes made with Amtrak, when a reservation is redisplayed under upcoming trips.

Can I see my upcoming trip on my mobile device?

This functionality is not currently available but is expected in an upcoming release.

Who do I contact if there’s a problem with my tickets?

You can contact an Amtrak service representative at 1-800-USA-Rail (1-800-872-7245) or TDD/TTY at 1-800-523-6590.  Phones are supported 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Tell the operator your Amtrak record locator and they will be able to help with any issue.

Will my travel agency have access to my train reservations?

This is a configurable option. The travel agency can choose to have passive train segments written to the PNR in the applicable GDS (see Configuring Agency Settings for details).  Today, this is supported for Sabre, Apollo and Worldspan.  We plan to support Galileo customers in a future release.  There is also full support to add all rail information using Custom PNR functionality.

Why does the train search default to one-way searches?

Based on our user experience testing with frequent train travelers, we found that users usually booked trains one way, for many reasons including:

  • There is no cost advantage for buying a round-trip ticket vs. a one-way ticket.
  •  Once you pick up a round-trip ticket at the kiosk, if you change your return segment, you have to go to the window to change the ticket. 
  •  Because train service is frequent, getting space on a train is not a problem at the last minute.

How long can I place a ticket on hold before purchasing?

This is based on Amtrak rules. When making your reservations, you will be advised of the ticketing time limit.  If you do not purchase your ticket by that time, Amtrak will automatically cancel your reservations for you.

If the user does not wish to purchase a round trip, can the user buy the return at the kiosk and still get the corporate discount?

No. In order to obtain the corporate discount the user must purchase the reservation online in Travel.

Are the rates displayed the corporate discounted rates?

Yes.  Due to an agreement with SilverRail, corporate discount rates can now be applied during the shopping process.

Are sleeper accommodations available through Travel?

No, not at this time.