COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak Food Service Discussion

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Rasputin

OBS Chief
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Jan 17, 2019
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I see a report on Trainorders that 3 and 4 are operating without dining car crews and that sleeping car passengers are receiving boxed meals.

I don't know if this is limited to only one or two editions of 3 and 4 or if it will be standard procedure for a while.

As shown the Flagstaff webcam, 3(11) and 4(12) continue to have dining cars in the consist.

MODERATOR NOTE: currently, there are 3 threads relating to the Coronavirus. This thread, one for broader Amtrak-related discussion: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion and one in the AU Lounge for non-Amtrak-related discussion: https://www.amtraktrains.com/threads/covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-general-discussion.76916/

Please use the appropriate thread for your discussion.
 
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Bob Dylan

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May 31, 2009
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20,060
I see a report on Trainorders that 3 and 4 are operating without dining car crews and that sleeping car passengers are receiving boxed meals.

I don't know if this is limited to only one or two editions of 3 and 4 or if it will be standard procedure for a while.

As shown the Flagstaff webcam, 3(11) and 4(12) continue to have dining cars in the consist.
Don't be shocked if this becomes SOP on the Chief ,and eventually ALL of the Western LD Trains, if Congress doesnt repeal the Mica Rule!
 

Just-Thinking-51

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Are there any passenger on board?

Does anyone ride any train right now?
 

lordsigma

OBS Chief
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Sep 15, 2017
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I'm guessing the dining cars are shut down and the SSL LSA is preparing all meals given the low ridership.
 

LookingGlassTie

OBS Chief
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Nov 9, 2016
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521
Well under the current circumstances, a microwaved boxed meal IS better than nothing at all. Unless of course you bring your own food on board.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
327
I’m guessing a call to the appropriate hotline would render a reasonable refund for the downgrade in service. In a perfect world the reduction would be given automatically, but we know how perfect this world is...
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
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Aug 7, 2004
Messages
813
Makes me glad I cancelled my annual AGR points redemption trip that would have started next Monday. 18 complete meals in full-service diners are a highlight of the trip. Meals in #29 & 30 are not in the above number.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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Nov 6, 2016
Messages
327
You would probably guess wrongly. You paid for a ticket to get from point A to point B. You were provided meals. Amtrak has delivered what you paid for.
With that logic - as long as Amtrak delivers you from Point A to Point B - there is no situation where they would provide partial credit or a partial refund.

We both know that’s not the case. This forum contains dozens of posts from travelers that received partial credit due to a variety of situations that still resulted in them arriving at Point B - many of which were not Amtrak’s fault (as in this case).

It’s called basic customer service. It’s far less expensive to keep a customer than to lose one. Probably the same reason they are giving full refunds on trips not taken due to Covid-19 when the terms of the original tickets do not require them to do so.

In this particular case, a modest voucher towards future travel (when requested politely) would likely be provided - I’d bet on it.
 

Ryan

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Apr 14, 2008
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I was speaking narrowly about refunds related to the change in food service that took place on the eastern trains. I'm not aware of any that were provided - why would they be expected for the same thing on a different train?
 

railiner

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Mar 20, 2009
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I was speaking narrowly about refunds related to the change in food service that took place on the eastern trains. I'm not aware of any that were provided - why would they be expected for the same thing on a different train?
I think those 'downgrades' are for different reasons...
I would think that in the case of the permanent change, most customer's were(are) aware of that when booking. But if it is a temporary downgrade, that the customer was not aware of, I think some type of compensation is in order..
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
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Feb 2, 2005
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Because it’s Amtrak and any semi legitimate gripe will be rewarded with a voucher if its worded correctly. They’re just giving a coupon for future use which in most cases will bring in extra revenue down the road. Call the 800 number on the side of your Aunt Jemima pancake mix box and say your pancakes didn’t come out great, they‘ll send you a coupon for another box. It’s just what good companies do to keep customers happy.
 
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Dakota 400

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Call the 800 number on the side of your Aunt Jemima pancake mix box and say your pancakes didn’t come out great, they‘ll send you a coupon for another box. It’s just what good companies do to keep customers happy.
Or contact the company with praise for how much you like their product. Sometimes, you will receive a coupon.
 

Ryan

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I would think that in the case of the permanent change, most customer's were(are) aware of that when booking.
There were a great many people who booked before the change was announced.

If I'm taking a LD train at this point, it's because I have to absolutely to be somewhere else, and I'd be grateful for the ability to get there. Putting my hand out for Amtrak to "compensate me" for serving me different food so the dining car workers can remain home and safe wouldn't even cross my mind.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
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There were a great many people who booked before the change was announced.

If I'm taking a LD train at this point, it's because I have to absolutely to be somewhere else, and I'd be grateful for the ability to get there. Putting my hand out for Amtrak to "compensate me" for serving me different food so the dining car workers can remain home and safe wouldn't even cross my mind.
Touche - I agree with almost all of that. It certainly is a good decision as far as I’m concerned to keep as many employees at home and safe as possible. Hopefully they are being paid - otherwise you could argue that Amtrak is just cutting their losses.

The very narrow scenario where a modest voucher is appropriate would be:

1. The reservation was made pre-Covid 19.
2. The reservation was made on a train featuring full service dining.
3. The passenger considers full service dining to be an important component of what they paid for.
4. The passengers circumstance dictated they had no choice but to take the trip and not cancel.

That’s a pretty narrow scenario, to say the least.
 
Joined
Jan 5, 2016
Messages
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In this particular case, a modest voucher towards future travel (when requested politely) would likely be provided - I’d bet on it.

I had a ticket for next week that I got refunded back. I have a longer round trip to the NRHS convention on SWC in June that is postponed TBD. The woman at Amtrak told me that it could be refunded or I could get a voucher for travel within a year. I opted to wait until later spring so I would have a full year if needed.
 

Albi

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 9, 2019
Messages
26
Just found this in my Google suggestions. I can't read the article as I am not a subscriber, but I could read the comments. Most are suggesting that this is a watershed moment and nothing is as long lasting as a temporary change...Screenshot_20200414-221645_Chrome.jpg
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,186
I was speaking narrowly about refunds related to the change in food service that took place on the eastern trains. I'm not aware of any that were provided - why would they be expected for the same thing on a different train?
Could it be because Amtrak announced their "new flex menu" in advance and told people ahead of time what junk was being provided with that meal? Other than those who went before Amtrak announced it and/or posted the new meals on their web site, one could say that the passengers could/should have known that the change was what they were going to get. While it's true IMHO that Amtrak should have lowered their prices since the service was lowered for those on Eastern trains, he fact that it wasn't for those latter customers just indicates how low Amtrak has gone while trying to copy some of the tactics of those"less than ethical" private corporations that do similar things like announcing "new better flavor" because they substituted cheaper ingredients and kept the price the same. Welch's sparkling grape juice suddenly became "sparkling grape juice drink as they changed it to 50% sugar water instead of 100% juice" quite a few years ago as it had always been prior to that. When I wrote to complain, they replied "customers today like it better" just like "fresh choices" is "liked" more by the "younger travelers" on Amtrak.
 
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