Amtrak dining

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ScottR

Service Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
162
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Monterey
No IPad at the table? That sounds like a "dining car staff made rule". If it is not, then it is a stupid Amtrak rule.
I think…like the grits thing…it’s a personal rule, as I’ve never heard of either in all my travels except for that particular dining car attendant. I don’t think I did anything to make him mad. I even left a tip! Could be they were just running short of grits… now That I’m talking about it…I’ll just go make some now!
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
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Lubec, ME
I agree that it's silly to have it as a rule, but it's also silly the way some antisocial people hide behind their phone or tablet as if nobody is seated with them. If someone wants no social contact they should get their food to go instead of pretending they're seated alone despite all evidence to the contrary. 😅
If I was traveling alone but seated with another person I would prefer conversation but in the current situation where people are seated apart I might want a book or to use my phone or a tablet to catch up on AU posts for example.
 

fillyjonk

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
544
I’ve heard no laptops, no books, no cell phones, etc. on Amtrak.

And yes a very silly rule.
I have never seen this on Amtrak. I've been at dinner in the before-times where each of the other strangers at the table was on their phone or reading a book so they could avoid talking to strangers. And I've been on where someone used their phone to help everyone figure out where we were and how far behind.

this is a silly rule, and I suspect it's at the caprice of the person running the dining car. Especially now when people are seated alone - it's a stupid rule

I wonder if it was established on trains where people were clogging up the dining car by sitting there while done eating - or eating more slowly than they would otherwise - and the crew thought by banning books and devices it'll turf people out faster.
 
Joined
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I usually take my Kindle in case I’m stuck with people who don’t socialize. I usually get in there quickly enough I get a window. Then if I’m with anti social people I look out the window. Thank if we stop for along time I have something to read.
 

Railspike

Train Attendant
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Messages
67
Location
Houston
When some people get on their phones they have no regard for others who don't want to hear what's going on in that person's life. It seems like the person on the phone could care less and wants everyone to hear their conversation in stores, restaurants, etc. Perhaps Amtrak wants to spare the other diners from having to listen to those conversations. Just a thought.
 

ScottR

Service Attendant
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May 24, 2021
Messages
162
Location
Monterey
Well you are right about phones, I’ve met those people before. As a reticent person, it amazes me how “unedited“ some folks can be.…but it’s an iPad I’m talking about….generally I’m looking at it and not talking to it. At any rate…I should just be looking out the window Anyway. Life is short and getting shorter!
 

jis

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I have had an iPad with a moving map setup leaning against the window at a Diner table and there have been folks at the table who loved it and others who were too busy messaging on their Smartphones. I think a new norm in the age of hand held devices and wearables is yet to crystallize as far as their usage in a communal situation goes.
 
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ScottR

Service Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
162
Location
Monterey
Yes I love the map and seeing where we are. I’ll join you for dinner anytime! It will indeed be interesting to see how it all works out. I like talking to my dining companions, looking out at the scenery, but when alone it’s also nice to check the news or even just check the map and see where we are and when the sunrise and sunset is going to be. I do love to watch the sunrise and the sunset from the train…although despite the best laid plans I often miss the former!
 

ScottR

Service Attendant
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May 24, 2021
Messages
162
Location
Monterey
The Crescent is the one big named train I’ve never done. Unfortunately they don’t have the full diner experience I think…which is criminal for a train that goes to New Orleans. Someday all the trains will have a diner and an observation car, you will be able to go all the way from downtown San Francisco to Miami, there will be wine tasting in the Pacific Parlor car, and we will always be on time! But…until then, I’ll keep riding anyway!
 
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
3,576
Yet I enjoy the camaraderie of the dining car and actually (gasp!!) look forward to meeting new people in the diner.

There has been discussion on a cruise oriented message board about how cruising/traveling seems to make it, somehow, more easy to open and have a conversation with other travelers. That has been my experience for certain. And, it applies only to traveling by train or during a cruise. I have attempted trying to have a brief conversation with seatmates when I have flown. The great majority of time, it's been unsuccessful. But, if I am sitting at the bar in an airline's loyalty flyers lounge, (such as Sky Club) or at the bar in an airport's lounge, conversation is not so difficult to get started.

it's also silly the way some antisocial people hide behind their phone or tablet as if nobody is seated with them.

Some of us would not call such behavior "silly". Some of us would call their behavior "rude".
 

ScottR

Service Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
162
Location
Monterey
The Crescent is the one big named train I’ve never done. Unfortunately they don’t have the full diner experience I think…which is criminal for a train that goes to New Orleans. Someday all the trains will have a diner and an observation car, you will be able to go all the way from downtown San Francisco to Miami, there will be wine tasting in the Pacific Parlor car, and we will always be on time! But…until then, I’ll keep riding anyway!
Ps…is it even POSSIBLE to have ”dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer….than to have your ham and eggs in North Carolina”…
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
842
You can have microwaved french
Ps…is it even POSSIBLE to have ”dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer….than to have your ham and eggs in North Carolina”…
You can have microwaved french toast and a microwaved omelette in the Carolinas going East. I broke many a fork attempting to eat them. I also had one of the surliest sleeping car attendants on my Crescent trip last year.
 

TheVig

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
185
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Charlotte NC
Ps…is it even POSSIBLE to have ”dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer….than to have your ham and eggs in North Carolina”…

We'll be taking it from CLT to NYP. We'll get breakfast and lunch. Last fall when we were on the Crescent, we got to have our flex meals in the cafe car. They shutdown the cafe car to coach passengers, for about 2 hours. Both microwaves running non-stop heating up flex meals for us sleeper passengers.
 

TheVig

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
185
Location
Charlotte NC
You can have microwaved frenchYou can have microwaved french toast and a microwaved omelette in the Carolinas going East. I broke many a fork attempting to eat them. I also had one of the surliest sleeping car attendants on my Crescent trip last year.

I won't mention names, but I think I know who you are talking about.
 

ScottR

Service Attendant
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
162
Location
Monterey
I won't mention names, but I think I know who you are talking about.
And that is a sad testimony…because I had that same experience on the Zephyr this weekend. Personalities matter. I know this might be controversial, but I really truly resent having to tailor my experience to the mood of the OBS that day. Had a bad day? Deal with it…we all do so somtimes.

Maybe you are badly trained…misinformed? I don’t know what but with the minimal staffing and lack of supervision one bad egg (not provided with the continental breakfast) can just ruin the whole trip. And it’s more than just irritating when you are paying $500 for a roomette. I want a modicum of service thank you very much. I want some grits with my eggs and a look at my iPad.

I want you to do your job…that is it. All I’m asking.
 
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Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,856
Location
Socal
When some people get on their phones they have no regard for others who don't want to hear what's going on in that person's life. It seems like the person on the phone could care less and wants everyone to hear their conversation in stores, restaurants, etc. Perhaps Amtrak wants to spare the other diners from having to listen to those conversations. Just a thought.
I believe we're talking about people texting and reading things on their phone, not having a conversation.

Personally, I usually have my phone there to take pictures of the food and passing scenery, and also check a moving map. Sometimes I'll also check other things while it's open. However, when seated with people who enjoy socializing, I will of course listen and partake in their conversation. Last summer on the Chief I was seated with a very friendly Amtrak engineer based in Reno and his wife, I loved the conversation with them (and we were all loving the then-newish traditional dining).
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2017
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1,692
As a solo traveler on the Starlight, Empire Builder and Lake Shore Limited in the last 10 days I can report that there has been no communal seating for dining on any of those trains. Is that a policy or crew decision? Dunno
Per management policy - Amtrak crews are not supposed to be requiring communal dining. Communal dining is only to occur if parties voluntarily or specifically ask to be seated together.
 

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
4,136
If they aren’t going to allow coach passengers to sit in the diner that means they have the space to allow parties to sit alone. That’s a great improvement in service.

I have had a great time sharing a table on Amtrak but I’ve also had some awkward experiences and honestly would rather eat alone most of the time.
 
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