Accessible? I think not!

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Jun 8, 2018
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#1
We were booked for a "4-day" package on Rocky Mountaineer for a train trip over the Canadian Rockies. This was essentially two days on the train and three nights hotel. I told them from the beginning that my husband was mobility impaired. I filled out their mobility assistance form explaining he could only do 3-4 steps and even that was only with assistance. We were told there would be no problem with accessibility. We were informed the day before we were to leave that because of an impending rail strike, our first day would be on motor coach. This was my husband's bucket list trip (and will be his last big trip) because he has ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and FTD (frontotemporal degeneration). We paid a premium price for a TRAIN trip that was supposed to be accessible. The bus we were on for 9 hours had SEVEN steps up to the seats and stopped once an hour for bathroom breaks. Once an hour my husband had to go down and back up seven steps. This was very uncomfortable for my husband and I explained that over and over. I know they cannot control a strike, but we were not even given an opportunity to reschedule our trip, we were just told this was the way it was. In addition I found out that the strike had been voted on two days earlier, but we were not informed, nor were we warned that the strike had been imminent for over a month. The second day on the train was wonderful and what we paid for. We paid $3925 USD for this trip. The company has offered us $1000 CAD (less than $800 USD) as a "gesture of goodwill". 50% of our trip was ruined and they are offering us less than 20% of the price we paid. We were promised an accessible trip and the trip was nowhere near what we were promised based on their marketing. I could go on about the other aspects of the trip that were seriously inferior to what we were promised, but when I mention that my husband is disabled and that the trip was harder on him than the average person, they do not seem to care. This is shameful!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
You had a 4 day package and only 1 day was affected by the bus trip. According to my calculations, that would equate 25% of your cost.

Where are you getting 50%? Was the cost
$3295 total or per person? If it was the total, $1,000 is more than 25% of what you paid which is a fair resolution.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#3
You had a 4 day package and only 1 day was affected by the bus trip. According to my calculations, that would equate 25% of your cost.

Where are you getting 50%? Was the cost
$3295 total or per person? If it was the total, $1,000 is more than 25% of what you paid which is a fair resolution.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#4
First of all, we paid $3925 USD, so they are not refunding 25% but less than 20% because they are offering $1000 CAD which comes to less than $800 USD (around $780). The 4 days is in quotes because we were supposed to be two days on the train. The four days is a misnomer since that was basically the hotel the night before and the hotel at the end of the second day. My husband and I came up to Banff a day early, but had we not done so, we would have arrived at the hotel at 8:30 PM on Tuesday, spent the night, got on the train for day one, got on the train for day 2, spent the night in Vancouver and had to be at the airport the next morning. That is really only two days, not four. They call it four because they pay for three nights of hotels. I am quite happy to settle for a refund $1500 USD (50% of $3000). That is allowing $925 for the three nights of hotels and the food. I know they could get the hotel room for less than that because I paid $280 for the extra day I stayed in Banff and it was for a higher level room.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
What an awful experience, I am so sorry your trip was so difficult that whole day, it must have been a huge disappointment. It's galling that they had several days' warning about the strike, but all tour companies put their profits over the comfort of their passengers. They seem to follow the idea that whatever the fallout is from their decisions will somehow be taken care of by the tour crew ... and I guess that's true. I think that the credit they're offering you should be 25% since you had 3 good days and one disaster day. I'd write to them anyway and ask for the 50%, since their lackadaisical attitude really affected your enjoyment of this very special trip. Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,972
12,223
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
We sell Rocky Mountaineer and it’s a 5 Star experience. Hotels in Banff are not cheap so you can’t say because you paid $280 that’s what every hotel cost - if you stayed an extra day you were facing the day the before when the hotel was occupied by a train full of passengers. Prices are based on Day of the week and occupancy levels.

I do understand your reasoning better now- you had 2 days of a train and only received one day but I still thing you are over estimating because there were costs associated with them having to get buses to transport you but you are free to ask for what you want - we’re advising you what the company is going to think.

If you feel that what they offered is not enough- tell them and tell them what is acceptable to you. But tell them where you are calculating that dollar value from. You need to make a case of why you came up with the amount you came up with.

This is a rate situation where a strike affected a tour. You do know that you would have had those same 9-10 hours on the train if you had rhectrain available so you didn’t lose any time doing the tour on a bus. The train was just more comfortable and would have been easier for your husband because he wouldn’t have had to keep going up and down the steps to use the bathroom. They did the best they could in the circumstances that they faced.
 
Likes: Tanya
Jun 8, 2018
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#7
I actually told them I would accept $500 USD per person, even though for the discomfort my husband suffered, I think that is still unreasonable. They still insist on $500 CAD. My biggest issue is that they didn't give us a chance to reschedule. This was a lot of money for only two days and half of our trip was not what we paid for. Fortunately, it is still possible for my husband to get up and down even though it was excruciating. What would they have done if he had been in a wheelchair? It is the fact that we needed and accessible trip and it was not accessible that is my beef.
 
Jun 8, 2018
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#8
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like there is anything I can do. I was hoping this site would give me some hope. I guess I am at the mercy of Rocky Mountaineer. I will not make that mistake again. And I will definitely warn all of my fellow caregivers about this.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,972
12,223
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
I hear you. This issue with strikes though is that the supplier has no way to know until the last minute if it’s going to be settled and not affect them.

We try not to book international airlines when our clients fly to Europe. In Europe they strike at the drop of a hat. Imagine you are booked on AirFrance and they announce a strike on the day you are flying out. However, some flights are canceled and some go. You don’t know often until it’s time to check in or you are ready to fly if your flight is affected. If it is- you have to buy a last minute ticket on another airline- there is no option. And all Air France has to do is refund your ticket - a strike is an unusual occurance and doesn’t require the airline to reimburse you for the new costs.

We have no idea in the US how lucky we are because it is so difficult for mass transit to strike here. In other countries it’s totally different and you are at the mercy of the strikers and whether they call it off or not.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#10
I agree with Neil that The Rocky Mountaineer is a five-star trip, and I'm pretty confidant that you would have loved it had you been able to do it all on that luxury train - especially since you were going east to west. That first day provides the Rocky Mountains part of the experience. A bus trip is not the five star experience you paid for, even leaving out the accessibility issue. The highway route is nowhere near as spectacular as the train route, in my opinion. And, of course, you don't have the on-board hospitality and services that the the train provides.

I don't know what the company's terms and conditions have to say about strike-related interruptions, but they are offering you something. That's a good start, it shows that they are not without empathy. I would be inclined to chose a number that can logically be related to the value of one day's train vs. bus, and quote it in US dollars. Then give them the choice of paying in US dollars or the Canadian dollar equivalent. But, based on my own less-than-satisfactory experience with Iberian Airlines, I would suggest you be prepared to bargain downward from your initial request, to avoid them withdrawing their offer altogether.

By the way, did you book through a travel agent? If so, they might be willing to go to bat for you.