Business Class on Coast Starlight eligible to eat in the Diner

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Sidney

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Dinner is the only meal worth the price. You get an alchoholic beverage,appetizer and desert. If you get the steak it's a decent value.
 

TC_NYC

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This will be good for PDX-SEA passengers with the 4:00 pm departure from PDX being very popular. Checking for a random Saturday (3/26) a roomette is going for $186 and Business Class for $48. I would consider paying $45 for dinner on a $48 business class fare. Hopefully they wouldn't run out of steaks on the 2nd night of dinner.
 

Explore

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Biz class passengers on the Starlight have to pay for dining car meals. That said, have there been many cases recently where dining car staff refused meals to business class passengers because there were too many sleeping car passengers aboard to accommodate both groups?

Thanks…
 

Explore

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Does anyone have first-hand experience with being denied meals in the CS dining car as a Biz class passenger due to overcrowding? I'm certainly not going to book sleeper at $338 vs. Biz at $94 based on meal availability, but I do need to be prepared....
 

zephyr17

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I know sleepers get first crack and if there is a heavy sleeper load and the diner remains as short staffed as it has been, they can and have restricted access to sleeper passengers only.

You should treat it as a "space available" amenity for business class. It is probably more likely right now as passenger loads are increasing as summer approaches and staffing remains an issue. Personally, that would not be my primary consideration in the choice between sleeper and biz, but to each his own.
 

Explore

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Thanks...someone also posted above that it's "cash only" in the dining car. I can't really believe that, given fraud concerns and use of credit cards in the cafe. I don't normally carry wads of cash around. Can someone confirm?
 

zephyr17

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Thanks...someone also posted above that it's "cash only" in the dining car. I can't really believe that, given fraud concerns and use of credit cards in the cafe. I don't normally carry wads of cash around. Can someone confirm?
Well, I can confirm the dining car LSA is equipped to take credit cards. I used a credit card for beer at lunch, which is extra. That was in November 2021.

I don't really put much credence into the cash only report, since I know from recent experience the diner is equipped to accept credit cars under the current regimen.
 
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My wife and I were on the CS last week in sleeper car 1430 from LA to Vancouver, WA. Carl in the dining car took credit cards for extras like a bottle of wine.
 

Skyline

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Once Covid was an issue, I thought Amtrak went credit card-ONLY! For "health" reasons I guess. They didn't want to handle "dirty" cash? Now the opposite is true? Doesn't make sense.
 

jis

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Once Covid was an issue, I thought Amtrak went credit card-ONLY! For "health" reasons I guess. They didn't want to handle "dirty" cash? Now the opposite is true? Doesn't make sense.
No. The opposite is not true in general. It may have been true one day due to a failure of a POS terminal or some such on a particular run of a train, but in general it is not true. Having traveled on at least the Super Star several times recently, I know it to be not true in general.
 

Karl1459

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I traveled BC PDX-SAC in March. Dinner was great but there was only a 5:00 pm seating available by the time I made my reservation. I think they were also serving coach pax... but again first/come first/served with limited availability.
 

jis

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BTW, even when meals were not included in the ticket price, it was quite usual for the Sleeper folks to get first dibs at reservations. After they had been addressed, whatever remained became available for the Coach folks. There had been more that one occasion when I failed to get a dinner reservation on the Broadway Limited while traveling by Slumbercoach or Coach, on a heavily patronized train.
 
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No. The opposite is not true in general. It may have been true one day due to a failure of a POS terminal or some such on a particular run of a train, but in general it is not true. Having traveled on at least the Super Star several times recently, I know it to be not true in general.
Yes. That happened to me on the Northeast Regional last month. The POS terminal wasn't working, so it was cash only. About the time I was finishing my breakfast, I heard the cafe attendant announce that the terminal was finally working and he could take credit cards.
 

trimetbusfan

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Just wanted to add - looks like as of this week (start of "summer" service) the CS is back to running 3 full sleepers (!!). This will mean more sleeper pax to feed in the dining car, which might mean less of an opportunity for someone in Buisness class to eat in the diner. Although, communal dining might also have resumed by now, in which case the capacity issue would be less of a problem.
 

Amtrak709

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I understand that the "class" system exists on Amtrak (sleeper, first, business, coach) just as it does on other forms of transportation such as airlines or cruise ships. Having said that, it is my opinion that class designation should apply to the accommodation you choose and NOT to whether one should be allowed to
partake of food services. Most all (probably 98%) of my 300,000 miles on the rails since 1966 have been in the sleepers. Thinking back on all those trips it seems "wrong-headed" to me to restrict, let's say, coach passengers from using the diners. I repeat, it just seems wrong-headed. I agree I need to be reminded that COVID and the service issues it has forced has changed what is the norm--and allowances and adjustments need to be applied to so many things in our daily existence. Enough and step off the soap-box.
 

jebr

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IMO the breakfast pricing is still reasonable considering it's on a train. Our local Denny's charges $12.29 for a veggie omelet with potatoes and toast, plus $3.69 for orange juice or $3.49 for a coffee and $3.99 for four sausage links. Assuming the breakfast comes with a side, an equivalent Denny's meal would be $17.97 + tax (I'm using $1.99 instead of $3.99 for the sausage links since Amtrak only offers 2 on the side.) Amtrak pricing generally includes any relevant taxes, so the difference between getting the meal at Denny's here versus on board Amtrak is less than a dollar.

Lunch seems high as well, but if it's coming with dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage I'm not outraged over the price. Again assuming around $12 for a comparable Denny's burger (the closest is $12.29 for a double cheeseburger with fries, but they won't let me price a single cheeseburger and I don't know how the patty sizes compare,) fries vs. chips being roughly equal, plus a $3.49 drink and $4.99 dessert, and a comparable Denny's burger is $20.48 + tax. Again, tax would add probably another dollar to dollar and a half here, so it's roughly $3 more on board versus at a chain restaurant of similar quality.

If anything, dinner is the one that's relatively unaffordable, especially if you don't drink alcohol. There's no flat-iron steak at Denny's, but a sirloin with the fixings is $14.49, and a T-bone is $17.69 with the fixings. Add the same $3.49 drink, $4.49 salad, and $4.99 dessert and Denny's pricing is between $27.46 and $30.66 - so there's easily a $10 upcharge and possibly closer to $15 if a sirloin would be more comparable than a T-bone. Once you add the complimentary alcoholic beverage it becomes in a similar ballpark, or if you do a different starter the value may be different, but I still think Amtrak's highest-price-differential meal is dinner, and breakfast and lunch are still the more reasonable meals to pay for.
 
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