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Business class on the Illini/Saluki is a ripoff

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PVD

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Horizons have a reputation for winter issues, SL swaps have happened in the past.
 

jiml

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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?
They were a common sight in the latter Superliner days of the International - usually behind VIA power. We didn't rate a Sightseer lounge.
 

Thunder

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Yes pipes will freeze. Remember, every winter is the first time winter ever hits Chicago.
we were going to get t shirts that said “ I survived Chicago Central Divisions first winter 2014” and make it an annual thing.
cant wait to see what first winter 2020 brings
 

MARC Rider

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2 to 1 seating should be standard in all business class. You are paying for an upgrade and having a seat with nobody next to you should be a guarantee. Also a free alcoholic beverage should be across the board.
Depends how busy the BC service is. I've ridden BC on a 2-1 seating car where the only seats available are next to someone. In other words, even with 2-1 seating, you don't get a "guarantee" that you can sit by yourself.
 

MARC Rider

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As I wrote before, I don't think that business class needs to be consistent across the system, as long as it's an upgrade from the coach offering. Thus, they really need to do something to upgrade business class on the Palmetto and the Pennsylvanian. And if the business class equipment is bad-ordered, and you have to ride in coach, then you should get your accommodation charge refunded, just as they do when there's a sleeping car bad-ordered and the unfortunate passengers have to ride in coach.
 

jiml

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And if the business class equipment is bad-ordered, and you have to ride in coach, then you should get your accommodation charge refunded, just as they do when there's a sleeping car bad-ordered and the unfortunate passengers have to ride in coach.
I've had (and lost) that argument. Apparently BC on Amtrak is technically not an "accommodation charge".
 

MARC Rider

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Like how? "I am a coach passenger and I demand a free drink!" ???

The attendant happily knows to hand me a 1/2 size can of warm soda. For those who are paying, they get a full size can of cold soda.
Actually, they've been giving out full size cans for a while now. And they'll always give you a cup full of ice to go with your drink. But when I travel, I usually get coffee, and the give out the same cup of Joe that they give to the paying guests.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Like how? "I am a coach passenger and I demand a free drink!" ???

The attendant happily knows to hand me a 1/2 size can of warm soda. For those who are paying, they get a full size can of cold soda.
I ordered my bottle of water with my food and that was incorrect. I was told I needed to order what I wanted to pay for separately from my 1 complimentary drink. He also was upset that I put the cap on his pen after signing for my credit card receipt because I also had to sign for my free water.
 

Steve4031

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I ordered my bottle of water with my food and that was incorrect. I was told I needed to order what I wanted to pay for separately from my 1 complimentary drink. He also was upset that I put the cap on his pen after signing for my credit card receipt because I also had to sign for my free water.
And he would be upset when I didn’t tip.
 

Seaboard92

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I would be curious in @NSC1109 's opinion on this. I know on previous threads he has agreed with me on a uniform paint scheme and uniform branding. So I would love to hear your two cents on this issue.
 

sttom

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I really doubt a state would drop Amtrak as an operator if they decided to standardize their seat offerings. Out of all the things Amtrak does that should and sometimes does get the ire of state DOTs and Congress, but seat options aren't likely to be on the list so long as their are options for the states.

As far as regional trains go, having a coach option, coach plus for those that don't want to pay for business class, a business class offering and first class on the off chance someone wants them, isn't a step too far. Having a consistent offering would probably help them gain ridership rather than lose it. And this would be down to potential riders knowing what to expect. If they see Coach plus instead of business class, they would know by the name that they're not the same. Instead of getting two different soft products under the same name.
 

Willbridge

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As I wrote before, I don't think that business class needs to be consistent across the system, as long as it's an upgrade from the coach offering. Thus, they really need to do something to upgrade business class on the Palmetto and the Pennsylvanian. And if the business class equipment is bad-ordered, and you have to ride in coach, then you should get your accommodation charge refunded, just as they do when there's a sleeping car bad-ordered and the unfortunate passengers have to ride in coach.
I've been bustituted out of Business Class when the PTC failed. It was only PDX to SLM and then SLM to PDX so I wasn't going to hassle Amtrak about it but no employee commented or suggested that I could get a partial refund.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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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.
Before the pandemic broke out, NYS was prepared for food service between Albany and NYC. Staffed hired prepare levels.
 

PVD

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That would be a big improvement. Hope it happens when things normalize. It has been a long time coming...It just bolsters my premise that very often service level differences are often state decisions, not Amtrak.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Most definitely State issue. “The Governor wants he gets.” Was how it was explained.
 

PVD

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The Empire Service Cafe is adequate (in my view) for the routes it was open, but having no service on the NYP-ALB trains, which have decent ridership I never liked.
 

NSC1109

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Alas, the slippery slope.....

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 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.
As a Delta ACS employee: DAY-DTW is usually operated by a CRJ-200. The "Deuce Canoe" barely counts as an aircraft; it's a glorified Greyhound bus that breaks far too often. Glad we're finally getting rid of it.

As for the other DCI fleet types: Both the CRJ-700/900 and ERJ-170/175 have first/business class seating. I've never worked an ERJ but I can tell you that the CRJ seating is 2+1 with pillows, blankets, drinks, and a snack pre-COVID. I'd imagine it's not too different on the ERJ. It doesn't vary just of aircraft type but also on aircraft operator. You have SkyWorst (our pet name for SkyWest), wholly-owned carrier Endeavor, and Republic. Endeavor only operates the CRJs, Republic only ERJs, and SkyWest a mixture of both. Originally the plan was to keep SkyWest out, well, west (SLC, SEA, LAX), Endeavor taking the midwest/south (DTW, MSP, ATL), and Republic handling the northeast (JFK/LGA/BOS) with a little overlap (Skywest handling EAS routes and Republic doing some work to/from IND since that's their home base). It would've provided a (generally) standard FC/BC service depending on the region.


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.
This is correct. The Horizons are notorious for freezing in the winter, but Amtrak doesn't have enough Superliners to cover every Chicago Hub Network corridor service, so they just suffer with the delays. Not a great way to run a railroad, but it's what they have.

I would be curious in @NSC1109 's opinion on this. I know on previous threads he has agreed with me on a uniform paint scheme and uniform branding. So I would love to hear your two cents on this issue.
I generally agree with most everything that's been said so far. The airlines have very little trouble standardizing their FC/BC services as much as they reasonably can with various regional operators. However, the one thing I will mention that's different is that most airlines aren't getting their funding from the state. Some services don't really require a business class or first class service on their routes, like the Shuttle.

That being said, a standardized business class/first class service really shouldn't be that hard to do. It goes back to the unified branding I've been preaching about for a while. It gives your customers a seamless, universal experience. They know what to expect. They know what's offered and what isn't. Understandably not every state is going to pay for BC/FC service but for the ones that do, there's really no good excuse for not having a universal product available. The one exception would be differing fleet types (i.e., swapping Horizons for Superliners due to weather conditions or California using dual-level cars instead of single level). The layout may be different, but the same basic services should be offered.

Amtrak would do well to recruit some marketing and corporate image folks from the airline industry, preferably Delta. From my experience, these guys know what they're doing. No stone is unturned, they ensure that every. single. piece. matches. There's a short video out there somewhere of the DL/NW merger. One night, the ticket counters still had all their NWA signage and the next morning it all was DL. A transition so seamless, you could've sworn it was Delta the whole time.

It's unfortunate that Amtrak just doesn't have the institutional knowledge needed for something like this.
 

jiml

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As a Delta ACS employee: DAY-DTW is usually operated by a CRJ-200. The "Deuce Canoe" barely counts as an aircraft; it's a glorified Greyhound bus that breaks far too often. Glad we're finally getting rid of it.
🤣 I thought only Canadians felt that way. AC's have no J class and the only decent seats are the 4 bulkheads, for which they charge extra. Never flown one without a substantial departure delay "for mechanical reasons" and they're the only choice on some stupidly long routes.
 

NSC1109

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🤣 I thought only Canadians felt that way. AC's have no J class and the only decent seats are the 4 bulkheads, for which they charge extra. Never flown one without a substantial departure delay "for mechanical reasons" and they're the only choice on some stupidly long routes.
The US airline management folks love 'em. The passengers and ground crews...less so. Kinda hard to feel the "Delta Difference" when your shoulder is shoved up against the sidewall outcropping and you can't look out the window without breaking your neck.

We had a 200 break so badly a month ago the powers that be decided to send us a 900 in its place. It's been months since we've seen one and we almost threw a party.
 

jiml

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The US airline management folks love 'em. The passengers and ground crews...less so. Kinda hard to feel the "Delta Difference" when your shoulder is shoved up against the sidewall outcropping and you can't look out the window without breaking your neck.

We had a 200 break so badly a month ago the powers that be decided to send us a 900 in its place. It's been months since we've seen one and we almost threw a party.
Toronto to Kansas City with half a can of Coke for $700. Just sayin'...
 
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