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Business class on the Illini/Saluki is a ripoff

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Thunder

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
27
Location
Illinois
We can give you single level cars on the Saluki . You can follow all the restrictions brought on by the CN and be consistently late 🤷‍♂️

the venture cars will be on all state routes in the Midwest and then we can go back to 70/60 with those trains.

had Nippon produced a quality product, we would have had bilevels and it would have been glorious to watch CN try to figure out a way to gig them trains.

but here we are
 

PVD

Conductor
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,894
Location
NYC/Queens
States often have options beyond Amtrak. Greater standardization of offerings might be a laudable goal, but that doesn't mean it is achievable. I stand by the idea that if their are going to be differences, they can and should do a better job of explaining the differences, and why they exist.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
Greater standardization of offerings might be a laudable goal, but that doesn't mean it is achievable.
What is not acheivable about creating a soft product standard?

If california wants to do something above and beyond that standard, that’s fine. But the standard should be the same for all things labeled business class.
 

PVD

Conductor
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Messages
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NYC/Queens
If the standard is something the state does not want or is not willing to pay for it isn't going to happen. As an example, NY does not pay for cafe service on trains that don't go past Albany. A reasonable standard is a free drink or soft drinks/coffee. But you can't have it because NY won't pay for it.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
If the standard is something the state does not want or is not willing to pay for it isn't going to happen. As an example, NY does not pay for cafe service on trains that don't go past Albany. A reasonable standard is a free drink or soft drinks/coffee. But you can't have it because NY won't pay for it.
Than NY doesn’t get a business class product. Simple.
 

PVD

Conductor
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Jul 8, 2015
Messages
4,894
Location
NYC/Queens
Or NY gets someone else to run their trains. Amtrak doesn't hold all the cards, or have all the power. They need the states for many reasons, not the least of which is the support of their congressional delegations. Just be upfront and tell people this is what your state has chosen to offer. If the passengers want something different they can deal with their local elected officials and push for change.
 

Larry H.

OBS Chief
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
963
I have used the business class on the Saluki many times and its always been as shown in the photo above a few messages. The last time we rode it there was a remodeled car like it, with an excellent attendant who went way out of his way to be friendly and helpful. That part is unusual. He told me that Amtrak had told the attendents that unless they gave the customers good service they might not be working those cars. That was a couple years back though by now, I wonder what happened to him?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
I have used the business class on the Saluki many times and its always been as shown in the photo above a few messages. The last time we rode it there was a remodeled car like it, with an excellent attendant who went way out of his way to be friendly and helpful. That part is unusual. He told me that Amtrak had told the attendents that unless they gave the customers good service they might not be working those cars. That was a couple years back though by now, I wonder what happened to him?
I’ve had good business class attendants on that route. I’ve had some really bad ones on the Michigan line. Not sure if that’s luck or just how those routes are staffed.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,618
Location
Texas
Greater standardization of offerings might be a laudable goal, but that doesn't mean it is achievable.
Than NY doesn’t get a business class product. Simple.
If the standard is something the state does not want or is not willing to pay for it isn't going to happen.
They can solve this problem by creating a new category like Premium Economy for states that decline to pay the cost of Business Class. If a state wants to go all out that could be called First Class and so on. First Class on American Eagle is not exactly like First Class on American Airlines but it's predictable enough that it doesn't create a major issue for most customers. It doesn't have to match these specific names but Amtrak would not be out of line in standardizing service levels and then expecting states to pick one from a selection rather than reinventing the wheel over and over again. Half of the problem with fixing Amtrak is convincing people it does not have to be this way.
 
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crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
First Class on American Eagle is not exactly like First Class on American Airlines but it's predictable enough that it doesn't create a major issue for most customers.
Hard product wise American Eagle has 2-1 and AA has 2x2.

Soft product wise both offer free drinks and snacks. I’ve not been on an AE long enough to get anything beyond the snack basket so not sure how the meals compare.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,736
Location
Toronto area
Hard product wise American Eagle has 2-1 and AA has 2x2.

Soft product wise both offer free drinks and snacks. I’ve not been on an AE long enough to get anything beyond the snack basket so not sure how the meals compare.
Very few AE airplanes have substantial galleys and none that I know of have ovens, so hot food is not an option. (This differs on other airlines, which do offer hot meals on regional jets.) On longer routes (pre-Covid) they've had decent salad plates and sandwiches however.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
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Very few AE airplanes have substantial galleys and none that I know of have ovens, so hot food is not an option. (This differs on other airlines, which do offer hot meals on regional jets.) On longer routes (pre-Covid) they've had decent salad plates and sandwiches however.
I kept hearing the AE cheese plate was pretty good. I actually love the AE planes I’ve been on. Maybe there are some older ones in the mix, but the ones I’ve flown on were brand new and the seats were more comfortable than AA or Delta BC.
 

Deni

Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
181
I will be giving business class another shot because I will be taking the Lincoln Service soon and those seats look really comfy and it's a long way to St. Louis, so hopefully it will be worth the extra $25.
I find it is worth it on IL trains. I went to college down in Macomb a thousand years ago and still go down to visit one of my best friends a couple times a year. While I was in school the business class didn't exist (and it was still unreserved coach) and I wouldn't have been able to afford the extra $$$ anyway. But once that got added it's the only way I travel the IL Zephyr or Sandburg now. That train can be full of rowdy college kids and/or drunk Cubs fans so the quiet of the business class is well worth it. Though just like when I traveled coach I still often end up sitting at a cafe table most of the time because I like talking to people.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,736
Location
Toronto area
I kept hearing the AE cheese plate was pretty good. I actually love the AE planes I’ve been on. Maybe there are some older ones in the mix, but the ones I’ve flown on were brand new and the seats were more comfortable than AA or Delta BC.
I was sad to see them retire the E-190's. They had the best FC cabin, largest galley and best in-flight service (e.g. real glasses) in the AE portfolio.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
Delta's regional jets that offer First Class service have 2+1 seating and have free drinks with at least one passing of the snack basket with a nice variety of items including bananas.
I just said that the AE planes I’ve been on had more comfortable seats. Also the delta regional I’ve been on were 2x2. Deltas BC is fine though.
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,174
the delta regional I’ve been on were 2x2. Deltas BC is fine though.
I think it depends on the route as to what the seating arrangements are. My most experience is the DAY-DTW and DAY-MSP. On flights to DTW, First Class is not available, normally. On flights to MSP, First Class 2+1 seating is available, normally. I agree that both domestic and international Business Class on Delta is very good to excellent.
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,618
Location
Texas
I don't fly as often as some and I switch airlines more than most, but I can reasonably anticipate my experience on American Eagle or Delta Connection whether I'm flying a short haul route out of one state or another and that's what makes choosing them easy. If regional airlines can meet national service standards so can Amtrak. I think it's more about a desire to standardize and the will to make it part of the next contract negotiation. At the moment everyone (customers, Amtrak, and state budgets) seems to be losing out due to a lack of compelling and predictable service standards. Obviously standards change over time, and there will be special outlier circumstances here and there, but moving between one state and another shouldn't require an open letter to fellow travelers to figure out what to expect.
 
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Siegmund

Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
194
Location
northwestern Montana
I didn’t know Amtrak still had superliner coach with cafe underneath. I remember riding when those were on the Texas Eagle when I was a kid. Trip down memory lane!
The roster suggests 9 snack coaches still exist, and that they are always used on the Heartland Flyer; where the others are probably depends what other short-haul runs are currently using Superliners.

They were used Portland-Seattle before the Talgos were built (and, in the 80s, on long Coast Starlights to take some pressure off the lounge car.) There weren't many Midwest short distance Superliner runs except as early 80s equipment tests. Someone more familiar with recent Chicago operations could perhaps tell us where they have been used lately?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,815
That makes sense. I’ve always wanted to ride the heartland flyer just for the miles. Now I have another reason to do it.
 

Crowbar_k

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 23, 2020
Messages
27
There weren't many Midwest short distance Superliner runs except as early 80s equipment tests. Someone more familiar with recent Chicago operations could perhaps tell us where they have been used lately?
I asked the conductor because I was curious. He claimd that it is their winter fleet. They mentioned something to do with pipes freezing. I don't believe that, because the amfleets and horizons are still used on all the other regional lines out of Chicago year round.

Also, the Pere Marquette uses superliners.
 
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