Amtrak Dining

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
A Further thought on this... I shouldn’t be forbidden to eat in the dining car because I am traveling by myself. It should be first come first serve for private table reservations in the diner.

These types of crazy rules made up by amtrak staff is why I stopped traveling with Amtrak as much even before covid.
You're absolutely right! It's discrimination against solo travelers... and I've encountered this many times on Amtrak! Be sure to call customer relations and complain... that you [and others traveling solo] want the same rights and privileges as couples especially when you're paying for sleeping accommodations... with included meals in the dining car!
 

tim49424

Engineer
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
5,368
Location
Holland, MI
You're absolutely right! It's discrimination against solo travelers... and I've encountered this many times on Amtrak! Be sure to call customer relations and complain... that you [and others traveling solo] want the same rights and privileges as couples especially when you're paying for sleeping accommodations... with included meals in the dining car!
This is only true on certain trains. I didn't experience it at all a couple of weeks ago on the Empire Builder. Both directions I had really good dining staffs. The ones who are disallowing the single riders to eat in the dining car are simply lazy and should be reprimanded. Their laziness puts more work on the SCAs that then have to deliver each and every meal to the rooms. They work hard enough as it is. There's no excuse for single riders being forced to eat in their rooms.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
This is only true on certain trains. I didn't experience it at all a couple of weeks ago on the Empire Builder. Both directions I had really good dining staffs. The ones who are disallowing the single riders to eat in the dining car are simply lazy and should be reprimanded. Their laziness puts more work on the SCAs that then have to deliver each and every meal to the rooms. They work hard enough as it is. There's no excuse for single riders being forced to eat in their rooms.
I’m guessing that with only sleeping car passengers everything would work out on its own. Some solo travelers will want to eat in the diner, some will want room service. Some couples will want to eat in the diner, some will want room service.

How many rooms do the LD trains have in service these days? Maybe 36 rooms? (2 sleepers minus some for crew). That means every room can be accomodated with 2 seatings.
 

tim49424

Engineer
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
5,368
Location
Holland, MI
I’m guessing that with only sleeping car passengers everything would work out on its own. Some solo travelers will want to eat in the diner, some will want room service. Some couples will want to eat in the diner, some will want room service.

How many rooms do the LD trains have in service these days? Maybe 36 rooms? (2 sleepers minus some for crew). That means every room can be accomodated with 2 seatings.
To the first point......the sleeper passengers are entitled to make the choice of eating in the diner or their room, whether we're in a pandemic or not. It's one of the amenities. The dining staff do not have the authority to take that amenity away unless Amtrak policy changes.

To the second point....there were four or five seatings each evening (pretty much status quo). They accommodated social distancing perfectly, in my opinion.
 

tim49424

Engineer
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
5,368
Location
Holland, MI
Were they skipping tables as well? 4-5 seatings seems like quite a few.
All tables were full. 4-5 dinner seatings on the Empire Builder is pretty much the norm and has been for years. Breakfast and lunch, they had waiting lists about an hour after opening. As I said before, they did a fine job, in both directions, of accommodating all parties.
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,258
A Further thought on this... I shouldn’t be forbidden to eat in the dining car because I am traveling by myself. It should be first come first serve for private table reservations in the diner.
I agree with you. The money that I pay for my accommodation is worth the same as any other passenger in the Sleeper whether there are 2/3/4/etc. in their party. This is blatant discrimination.

Why is such happening?

COVID is the reason. That darn virus has so upset the norms for daily living that what one ought to expect may or may not be what is experienced. The regulations/requirements for travel seem to be changing almost daily. And, if Amtrak crews are allowed to "set their own rules"....?

I don't see me taking another trip to any where for quite some time. I have jumped through enough hoops in my life as a senior citizen. I am unwilling to have to pay to jump through some more hoops without knowing what I can certainly expect on the other side.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
This is only true on certain trains. I didn't experience it at all a couple of weeks ago on the Empire Builder. Both directions I had really good dining staffs. The ones who are disallowing the single riders to eat in the dining car are simply lazy and should be reprimanded. Their laziness puts more work on the SCAs that then have to deliver each and every meal to the rooms. They work hard enough as it is. There's no excuse for single riders being forced to eat in their rooms.
Amen!
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
I agree with you. The money that I pay for my accommodation is worth the same as any other passenger in the Sleeper whether there are 2/3/4/etc. in their party. This is blatant discrimination.

Why is such happening?

COVID is the reason. That darn virus has so upset the norms for daily living that what one ought to expect may or may not be what is experienced. The regulations/requirements for travel seem to be changing almost daily. And, if Amtrak crews are allowed to "set their own rules"....?

I don't see me taking another trip to any where for quite some time. I have jumped through enough hoops in my life as a senior citizen. I am unwilling to have to pay to jump through some more hoops without knowing what I can certainly expect on the other side.
It's like we're paying top dollar for some lazy incompetent employees to take advantage of seniors who've saved their entire lives to travel in comfort with respect and dignity.

It has been said... "There's no such thing as a free lunch!" unless the poorly inconsistent Amtrak management lets them have it from the wallet of single seniors... to work less... but on our dime!
 

Dustyroad

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 2, 2020
Messages
164
Food was amazing on my Chief trip a month ago (WOW on 7/30/21 we were going through NM, this month went fast). I, on the other hand, would consider getting into FUL 40 minutes early a negative. More train time if you're delayed!
I'm so glad you enjoyed the food and your trip. Did they have coffee in the sleeping cars? I really need that first cup of coffee first thing when I wake up ;).
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
I ride the lake shore limited from Springfield to Chicago on Sunday - I have a roomette. I’ll keep you posted on dining.
Knowing they still have flex dining, I would bring along some PBn'J and a good loaf of grain n' seed bread so as not to be confronted with the cardboard n sugar breakfast and the pre manufactured highly processed puddle meals. Did you consider ordering the kosher meals?
 

MainerTrainer

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 13, 2016
Messages
31
We rode the CZ from Denver to San Francisco a couple days ago. The food was good to very good. Fresh flowers on the table and white tablecloth for dinner. Service was slow compared to a restaurant but this was on a train, after all.

Between Chicago and Denver, an earlier leg, we were offered the chance to dine with other passengers. Pre-COVID we would have but declined. That was not offered after Denver but we saw single diners at a table at each meal.

Yes, more inconsistent Amtrak procedures. But the food was so much better than the flex meals we had earlier this year!
 

fillyjonk

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
513
Amtrak has always been somewhat anti single traveler in my experience. This is just a continuation of the same theme which has caused me to progressively fly more 😕
In my experience, the entire travel industry is anti single traveler. Amtrak seems no worse to me than some other arms of it. Maybe it's worse in COVID? I've only traveled twice, both times this summer, since 2019. The biggest thing I noticed was the inconsistency of precautions - on some runs "sure fine, eat in the dining car" on others "you need to eat in the dining car" and on still others "eat in the dining car? Are you nuts! Wait for us to bring the food to your accommodation"
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Moderator
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,672
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
In my experience, the entire travel industry is anti single traveler. Amtrak seems no worse to me than some other arms of it.
In my experience on airlines that I use, I have never been forced to give up an assigned seat that I am already sitting in, to accommodate a group. Of course such is known to have happened on occasions to others. I have voluntarily done so to make it possible for a mother to sit by her kid and such. But never forced by a barking crew member threatening dire consequence otherwise. One time I have been upgraded to possibly use my seat for something else. But always handled with grace, not menacingly. Of course it is possible that my FF status has something to do with it. Then again as a counter example, there is Air India :D

Since Amtrak does not assign seats on LD trains, it gives a complete free hand to its crew to do whatever they please, and as we know Amtrak's crew training and uniformity of standards is not exactly world leading. So stuff just happens depending on the mood of the CA and Conductor.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,932
Location
Oregon Coast
In my experience, the entire travel industry is anti single traveler. Amtrak seems no worse to me than some other arms of it. Maybe it's worse in COVID? I've only traveled twice, both times this summer, since 2019. The biggest thing I noticed was the inconsistency of precautions - on some runs "sure fine, eat in the dining car" on others "you need to eat in the dining car" and on still others "eat in the dining car? Are you nuts! Wait for us to bring the food to your accommodation"
RE: Discrimination against solo travelers... don't forget... that when you pay for a sleeping accommodation you pay for the entire fare of that accommodation... which includes two - 2 - sets of meals. If someone else accompanies that accommodation they pay rail fare only. Get it? So why doesn't Amtrak 'get it' when a solo passenger with sole occupancy of sleeper accommodation... is denied the right to sit at a dining table in the dining car???

That's right. And technically such individual should have the right to get an extra salad or dessert. Not to be piggish... but that solo traveler is paying for it!
 

DetroitDave

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
48
Location
Detroit, MI
Food was amazing on the chief when i took it in 2019 before the covid... even got into FUL 40 min early..
Aye! It was very good just a few weeks back when I took the SWC. Tasty...nicely adorned tables with flowers...quite nice!

And in response to the varying dining experiences that I'm reading, on my recent trips: no coffee in sleeper car; no communal dining; parties seated together; they did _not_ force individuals to eat in their sleeper or discourage reserving a spot in the dining car (if anything, the opposite!); and they were spacing the occupancy of the tables a bit (pictures from my Travel Log).

I am very upset to hear about single travelers not allowed in the dining car, along with the litany of inconsistencies.
 

jimdex

Train Attendant
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
60
I agree with you. The money that I pay for my accommodation is worth the same as any other passenger in the Sleeper whether there are 2/3/4/etc. in their party. This is blatant discrimination.

Why is such happening?
It looks like a capacity problem. I think this would be less of a problem if meal prices were separated from sleeping car fares. Right now, sleeper passengers are paying for dining car meals whether they want them or not, and that discourages them from skipping meals, bringing their own food, or seeking lighter fare in the cafe.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,918
It looks like a capacity problem. I think this would be less of a problem if meal prices were separated from sleeping car fares. Right now, sleeper passengers are paying for dining car meals whether they want them or not, and that discourages them from skipping meals, bringing their own food, or seeking lighter fare in the cafe.
There shouldn’t be any capacity issues. It’s only sleeping car passengers allowed in the diner and many won’t want to eat in the diner anyways.

Without the dorm cars I don’t think any trains have more sleeping car passengers than could be accommodated. Maybe the empire builder if all rooms were sold and all rooms wanted to eat in the diner? At that point you just reserve tables first come like the old parlor car days.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2016
Messages
13
Location
SOB
RE: Discrimination against solo travelers... don't forget... that when you pay for a sleeping accommodation you pay for the entire fare of that accommodation... which includes two - 2 - sets of meals. If someone else accompanies that accommodation they pay rail fare only.
Nope. Just priced the Cap Ltd WAS-CHI 11/15/2021. One person's fare is $53 coach, or $387 roomette. Two people, the fare is $106 coach, or $520 roomette.
 

Dakota 400

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,258
Oddly enough, I’ve never felt any bias when traveling alone. Maybe I’m just lucky?
Nor have I felt any bias. If there is any "bias", it is in the prices that solos usually have to pay when booking a cruise. But, such a situation also exists when a solo books a sleeping car accommodation. As a solo traveler, one either learns to "deal with it" or not travel.

If a LSA in a dining car restricts solos to dining in their accommodation and not in the dining car because they are a solo passenger, that is, as I said in another post, blatant discrimination.
 
Top