Amtrak Dining

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Palmetto

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What's so hard about adding items from the Acela first class menu in addition to the current Flex menu offerings? I believe that rotates to new items every so often, as well, correct?
 

jis

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What's so hard about adding items from the Acela first class menu in addition to the current Flex menu offerings? I believe that rotates to new items every so often, as well, correct?
They certainly did that on the Acelas before the pandemic. I have no idea what they did during the pandemic and what they plan to do come June 1 or July 1 or whenever they restore service.
 

lordsigma

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What's so hard about adding items from the Acela first class menu in addition to the current Flex menu offerings? I believe that rotates to new items every so often, as well, correct?
They occasionally have off menu specials.
 

CTANut

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I called Amtrak today, and the official information about traditional dining being restored will be released around the day that the train will be restored to daily service. For example, we will find out about the California Zephyr’s dining around May 24
 

zephyr17

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I called Amtrak today, and the official information about traditional dining being restored will be released around the day that the train will be restored to daily service. For example, we will find out about the California Zephyr’s dining around May 24
Well, the official website is now stating June 30th for traditional dining to be restored on the Western trains.

The call center is kind of famously clueless about actual conditions and policies on the long distance services. They are good at making reservations and issuing etickets. That is about it.
 

me_little_me

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Well, the official website is now stating June 30th for traditional dining to be restored on the Western trains.

The call center is kind of famously clueless about actual conditions and policies on the long distance services. They are good at making reservations and issuing etickets. That is about it.
But remember they are the "Amtrak Center of Excellence"
 

me_little_me

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What's so hard about adding items from the Acela first class menu in addition to the current Flex menu offerings? I believe that rotates to new items every so often, as well, correct?
Then they would have to own up to their
  • incompetence
  • stupidity
  • lack of care about their customers
  • failure to plan what they were doing
  • failure to admit their mistakes
  • lying
  • efforts to dump LD service by making it as miserable as they could
 

lordsigma

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Then they would have to own up to their
  • incompetence
  • stupidity
  • lack of care about their customers
  • failure to plan what they were doing
  • failure to admit their mistakes
  • lying
  • efforts to dump LD service by making it as miserable as they could
With respect, they are bringing back traditional dining - this is not an effort to dump long distance service by making it as miserable as possible. It will happen when it happens - but it is happening. I’d suggest being patient a little bit longer - at the recent RPA event they hinted that a long distance centric 50th anniversary event will be taking place at Chicago union station in mid June where they will go over some of this. I personally found the recent event encouraging and they even proposed that bringing the sunset and cardinal to daily are being considered as part of the connect us corridor program as bringing those trains to daily could serve as the first round trip in some of the city pairing corridors along their routes.
 

me_little_me

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With respect, they are bringing back traditional dining - this is not an effort to dump long distance service by making it as miserable as possible. It will happen when it happens - but it is happening. I’d suggest being patient a little bit longer - at the recent RPA event they hinted that a long distance centric 50th anniversary event will be taking place at Chicago union station in mid June where they will go over some of this. I personally found the recent event encouraging and they even proposed that bringing the sunset and cardinal to daily are being considered as part of the connect us corridor program as bringing those trains to daily could serve as the first round trip in some of the city pairing corridors along their routes.
The issue was why they could not improve the flex dining (now), not bring back traditional dining later and later this year on western trains and not at some undefined time in the future for eastern ones.

If the Sunset and Cardinal going daily end up with the same expanded schedule as the Crescent, they will be as useless as the Crescent will be.
 

20th Century Rider

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We've been discussing Amtrak mismanagement, management indifference, management incompetence, and just plain management failure to manage.

As an Amtrak customer, I find it absolutely offensive to 'dangle the carrot' then take it away by pushing back the date of a return to full service dining... over and over again. I also find the poor level of quality and quantity of those maliciously disgusting flex meals to be offensive.

There is certainly a disconnect between Amtrak and the customers it serves. Amtrak is similar to the postal system. When you buy a stamp the post office determines what you will pay. You have no choice.

Mail delivery is subject to it's own set of problems as well. Letters get lost, or could be delivered late... etc. Amtrak is just the same. When it comes to who's at the bottom of the pecking order, it's the customer.

So... when it comes to Amtrak dining... they do what they want to do... and the customer makes the best of it... and pays the price that Amtrak want to charge.

BTW... that 'full service dining' that we are holding our breath for... will be comparatively modest as it will be a standard menu offered throughout the system where full service is offered... subject to further cutbacks... if and when it does come.

Soooo... all the above verbiage reiterates what we all know... Amtrak is a bureaucratic government institution.

Bla. :mad: 🥵🤮‼⚠
 
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fdaley

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I'll remake the reservation AFTER Amtrak has already started Traditional dining on the western trains.
I think this is probably the best policy for those of us who care a lot about this, given the possibility (likelihood) of further delays: Don't book until we know that dining service is actually up and running and we have reports of what the actual service standards are. There certainly is no way I'd want to book a trip out west, at Amtrak's sleeper prices, and have the risk of getting flex food the whole way. Of course, for people who are more free to travel in the summer months, the time for planning trips this year is already disappearing.
 

lordsigma

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I think this is probably the best policy for those of us who care a lot about this, given the possibility (likelihood) of further delays: Don't book until we know that dining service is actually up and running and we have reports of what the actual service standards are. There certainly is no way I'd want to book a trip out west, at Amtrak's sleeper prices, and have the risk of getting flex food the whole way. Of course, for people who are more free to travel in the summer months, the time for planning trips this year is already disappearing.
If I didn’t have so many people involved with my June trip and so many moving parts I’d consider rescheduling mine but it would be too disruptive at this point. This will be my first time on the zephyr, coast starlight, and southwest chief so looking forward to seeing parts of the country I haven’t and adding some more states I have never been to. Disappointed but not surprised - will deal with the food. I think we’ll know more about what’s coming with traditional dining with that Chicago event.
 

fdaley

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If I didn’t have so many people involved with my June trip and so many moving parts I’d consider rescheduling mine but it would be too disruptive at this point. This will be my first time on the zephyr, coast starlight, and southwest chief so looking forward to seeing parts of the country I haven’t and adding some more states I have never been to. Disappointed but not surprised - will deal with the food. I think we’ll know more about what’s coming with traditional dining with that Chicago event.
Oh, I understand. Once you start planning a trip like that, it's hard to undo things. And the scenery will still be great even if the food isn't. But that's an awful lot of miles with the same underwhelming choices for both lunch and dinner. Traveling alone, you can make it work, possibly supplementing from the cafe or off-train sources. But you (and the rest of us) really deserve better, particularly at the price of sleeper rooms, and decent food just really adds to the quality of the experience.
 

20th Century Rider

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Oh, I understand. Once you start planning a trip like that, it's hard to undo things. And the scenery will still be great even if the food isn't. But that's an awful lot of miles with the same underwhelming choices for both lunch and dinner. Traveling alone, you can make it work, possibly supplementing from the cafe or off-train sources. But you (and the rest of us) really deserve better, particularly at the price of sleeper rooms, and decent food just really adds to the quality of the experience.
Develop a contingency plan for some enjoyable nibbling and eating. There have been countless posts on supplementing or replacing those obnoxious disgusting flex flop puddle meals. Kosher meals can be ordered although they are known to be bland and unexciting. Do try to pre order the omelet for breakfast. You can also bring along PB&J to spread on a really good grain and seed bread... which I find very satisfying & will definitely last for the duration of a 2 nite trip... to supplement.

Munchies, chips, and, while in your room, a little snip of bourbon, [its allowed] can also add to the overall enjoyment and relaxation of riding along while watching drivers struggle in their cars with the traffic jams and sky high gasoline.

If you have a 'nice' attendant, as if you can get a meal in the cafe... although that stuff isn't very good either.

When in Chicago and or other big stations... see if you can get a pre-packaged salad to bring along.

Plan to spend about $20 a day on 'cuisine niceties' to upgrade your experience and don't pout... there's nothing that can be done about it. It's for you and your happiness.

And do enjoy the scenery and views along the way that can only be seen riding in a train!

Who knows what's next for Amtrak as the system consistently digresses. Just go and have an enjoyable trip!
 
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lordsigma

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Oh, I understand. Once you start planning a trip like that, it's hard to undo things. And the scenery will still be great even if the food isn't. But that's an awful lot of miles with the same underwhelming choices for both lunch and dinner. Traveling alone, you can make it work, possibly supplementing from the cafe or off-train sources. But you (and the rest of us) really deserve better, particularly at the price of sleeper rooms, and decent food just really adds to the quality of the experience.
Thankfully price wise I got lucky - I rebooked this during the height of the pandemic basically as soon as it was available so I got pretty much bottom of the barrel buckets across the board - I actually got a considerable amount of money back in vouchers from my original June 2020 res that I rebooked due to COVID at higher buckets. I'll probably just do the meal for dinner not for lunch - I'm ok with a couple of the flex meals but 10 of them will probably get bland and it is also too much food to eat two in one day.
 

tricia

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Thankfully price wise I got lucky - I rebooked this during the height of the pandemic basically as soon as it was available so I got pretty much bottom of the barrel buckets across the board - I actually got a considerable amount of money back in vouchers from my original June 2020 res that I rebooked due to COVID at higher buckets. I'll probably just do the meal for dinner not for lunch - I'm ok with a couple of the flex meals but 10 of them will probably get bland and it is also too much food to eat two in one day.
You might consider asking for just the tiny salad and roll at lunch, to be supplemented by whatever you'd like to bring with you--cheese, ham, PB, charcuterie, fruit....
 

alang

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Planning a trip on the CZ mid-June. We have booked a Roomette. What can we expect for dining options? Thank you!
 

20th Century Rider

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The current Flex (so-called Meals) Menu will still be in effect at least until till the end of June,so you'll not be eating well!
Flex meals were an Amtrak blunder from the Anderson era... but try not to let that interfere with the joy of riding on a train. Food wise there are several things you can do to 'improve' the bleak food situation...

1] Bring along some munchies, fruit, PB&J, and other goodies that travel well.

2] Ask your SCA if you can order some of your meals from the cafe... although they aren't that healthy

3] Pre reserve the omelet for breakfast

4] Order up some kosher meals [must be done at least 3 days prior to departure]

5] Focus on the scenery!!!
 

Bob Dylan

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Flex meals were an Amtrak blunder from the Anderson era... but try not to let that interfere with the joy of riding on a train. Food wise there are several things you can do to 'improve' the bleak food situation...

1] Bring along some munchies, fruit, PB&J, and other goodies that travel well.

2] Ask your SCA if you can order some of your meals from the cafe... although they aren't that healthy

3] Pre reserve the omelet for breakfast

4] Order up some kosher meals [must be done at least 3 days prior to departure]

5] Focus on the scenery!!!
I agree except for #3!!! The 2 times I tried the Omelette they were terrible!
 

20th Century Rider

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I agree except for #3!!! The 2 times I tried the Omelette they were terrible!
OMG! And I thought that perhaps the omelette was a breakthrough attempt to improve the cardboard and sugar flex breakfast... thanks for the thumbs up... although now the food outlook is even more bleak! 🤮

Do you or anyone else know about the Kosher choices???
 

Bob Dylan

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OMG! And I thought that perhaps the omelette was a breakthrough attempt to improve the cardboard and sugar flex breakfast... thanks for the thumbs up... although now the food outlook is even more bleak! 🤮

Do you or anyone else know about the Kosher choices???
I've never tried the Kosher choices, but several of our members have given them approval.( of course anything is better than the TV Dinners full of Sodium, and the Sugar Bomb stuff.)

I actually thought that the Continential Breakast Mix and Match was OK, and the COD Dinners I had on the Eagle and Sunset on my 2 trips recently were passable, but of course not on a par with the old Salmon and other Seafood entrees served during Full Dining Service.

Some folks liked the Pasta and Meatballs, but the Beef,Noodle Bowl( Veggie Choice) and Chicken Dishes were Trash Can Worthy!

I liked the Brownie and Blondie, but miss the Cheesecake,Ice Cream,Chocolate Bundt Cake and the Bourbon Pecan Pie Deserts!😍
 

lonewolfette9847

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In trying to understand where “Flex” Dining came from (I still don’t get how flex fits in), I found a couple of interesting articles & also discovered that Flex Dining existed before the pandemic (!) & admittedly I’m not as well versed as a lot of you are.


 
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