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

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tonys96

Conductor
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
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Re:
The way I read it, even the loss of one route's full service dining meets his criteria. That is not a bet I'd be willing to take so long as the Mica rule remains in effect.
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That would be correct.
"Beware the camel's nose."
 

Rasputin

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Messages
653
I knew I should have used most of my points when the going was good!

And I wonder how wise it is to keep acquiring more points. I am concerned that next year they may not be worth near as much in terms of the quality of service you receive.

"Third boxcar in that train."
 

tonys96

Conductor
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Aug 5, 2011
Messages
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I'm sure I'll be back when the COVID crisis ends, I just want to take a break - I think it's best for all parties including myself. I don't want to draw this conversation out, I just want to leave it there. Again, stay safe and be well all.
There is an "ignore" option that keeps you from seeing posts from folks who you find irritating, sarcastic, mean or whatever. It works well. I have two on my "ignore" list, and I like this board much more with them on said list.
Try it before quitting.😉
 

lordsigma

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No need for ignoring - disagreement and criticism are healthy and the criticism to that particular post was well deserved. My initial response was probably a bit of an over reaction to being embarrassed for the mistake. I am going to slow down for a bit as I am spending too much time in front of the computer screen, but the most constructive thing to do is learn from the mistake and try to be more mindful about posting and thinking before hitting the submit button.
 

nferr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
269
My comment related to whether sleeping car passengers should be entitled to some type of a refund after paying full fare on trains which no longer operate a dining car.
Be happy they're running. You realize they're running trains with a handful of passengers?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,361
Be happy they're running. You realize they're running trains with a handful of passengers?
It’s understandable for Amtrak to cut the diners with the limited # of passengers.

It’s understandable for passengers to expect what they paid for.

It’s not an either or. If a passenger is disappointed they can call customer service and possibly get a reimbursement. I was once reimbursed after complaining about an express menu being the only option given to me.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,002
I'm sure there'd be more support expressed in this thread for Amtrak's COVID-19-period food service changes if Amtrak's management hadn't been so ham-handed about previous food service changes over the past year or so.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
2,814
I'm sure I'll be back when the COVID crisis ends, I just want to take a break - I think it's best for all parties including myself. I don't want to draw this conversation out, I just want to leave it there. Again, stay safe and be well all.
You, too, lordsigma.🙂
I think how this stupid virus has changed our routines is getting on everyone’s nerves in different ways.
Get some rest away from us, but come back when things start getting back to normal where you are—I rely on you for lots of news and tidbits about CTrail!🙂👏
 

jis

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I notice there are plenty of things on this board (and others) that you don't fully understand.
This was in response to lordsigma's understanding regarding status of Amtrak emplyees through this COVID period.

Thirdrail I have a non-rhetorical question on this matter, First some background....

One of the requirements that the airlines which are getting CARES funding is that they must maintain their payroll as is through 30th September. This apparently translates to each getting coverage for 76% percent of their existing payroll as on some agreed upon baseline date (apparently the rest they can cover through continuing operations somehow) for the period provided they don't fire or furlough anyone without pay, and apparently they have all agreed. Indeed Munoz and Kirby have pretty much said so in a message to the employees, together with a discussion of various scenarios that might unfold come 1st October depending on how things go. There are certain other stipulations of not abandoning any routes without permission of the DOT for this period and for some period beyond.

In your understanding what are the stipulations, if any, that are placed on Amtrak for receiving the $1 Billion from CARES. Is there a restriction equivalent to the one that airlines have to sign up to? Or does Amtrak have a free hand to furlough/fire whoever and pocket the money? I don't have a clue since I have not seen anything like the Munoz/Kirby missive to the United employees coming from Amtrak management to its employees.

Thanks.
 

Palmland

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Joined
May 25, 2006
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Don’t go any where - it’s a message board intended for enjoyment. Everyone understands that.
You make a good point, but unfortunately i don’t think all understand that. No one enjoys it when there is a verbal contest about who is right (and the other guy is so misinformed). I appreciate lordsigma’s posts and hope he will return soon.
 

toddinde

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
97
Does the Mica rule allow a force majeure exception for pandemics? Regardless of whatever role the rule may or may not play in the decision to remove service I have little doubt it will play a role in any decision to bring full dining service back again.
The Mica Rule is a red herring. It was used as an excuse for the contemporary dining. I think the Mica Rule is much ado about nothing. Obviously it should be repealed, but it doesn’t factor in to the pandemic.
 

Thirdrail7

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In your understanding what are the stipulations, if any, that are placed on Amtrak for receiving the $1 Billion from CARES. Is there a restriction equivalent to the one that airlines have to sign up to? Or does Amtrak have a free hand to furlough/fire whoever and pocket the money? I don't have a clue since I have not seen anything like the Munoz/Kirby missive to the United employees coming from Amtrak management to its employees.

I don't believe there is a specific restriction that forbids furloughs. I do believe they must avoid involuntary furloughs and run the operation to the best of their abilities. To be sure, there is a "voluntary" furlough plan in place that is being used to help avoid "involuntary" furloughs.

The "goal" is to "avoid" involuntary furloughs.
 

Skyline

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Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
685
He would prefer to be laid off, and be paid even less as well as lose his benefits?
I'm pretty sure he'd rather be working, but if that's not possible I think he'd prefer to be receiving unemployment checks while maintaining his health insurance as Amtrak will allegedly call him back someday. By putting him on the low-pay Extra Board he gets screwed out of the unemployment check.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,361
On another travel site I read that a recent air canada flight there was no food or drink service at all. Only offer was bottled water.
 

jimmrl

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
49
I had to fly last week to get my mom from the Rio Grande Valley and no food or drinks, nothing. The good thing was that so few people are flying it was built in social distancing.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,786
On another travel site I read that a recent air canada flight there was no food or drink service at all. Only offer was bottled water.
There was a report on the Washington Post from one of their reporters who recently flew home from Istanbul on Turkish Airways. All they got for food was a sandwich in a sealed bag served by flight attendants in full hazmat gear.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
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It’s understandable for Amtrak to cut the diners with the limited # of passengers.

It’s understandable for passengers to expect what they paid for.

It’s not an either or. If a passenger is disappointed they can call customer service and possibly get a reimbursement. I was once reimbursed after complaining about an express menu being the only option given to me.

This is not just a matter of a limited number of passengers. The more elaborate the food service, the more people need to come to work to provide it. The more people who come to work, the greater the risk to both them and the customers that the disease will spread. Sure, on a long trip, you need to feed the pax something to keep them from getting hangry, but there's no need to make the risks higher than they need to be, just because some passenger with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement thinks they "paid" for some kind of full service dining.

Be happy there are still trains running. These are extraordinary times, nobody should expect full dining service anywhere. I can't even find it in my neighborhood, why should I expect to find it on the train?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,361
Be happy there are still trains running. These are extraordinary times, nobody should expect full dining service anywhere. I can't even find it in my neighborhood, why should I expect to find it on the train?
You have options that are more than microwaved dinners in your neighborhood. On a 2 day trip it would be nice if they could have kept a chef and an LSA to offer at-room at-seat service.

But again, I understand the decision.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,021
Be happy there are still trains running. These are extraordinary times, nobody should expect full dining service anywhere. I can't even find it in my neighborhood, why should I expect to find it on the train?
No, but they shouldn't expect to pay for it anyway as its cost is included in the fare. And they should expect to receive a decent meal even if Amtrak has to pick up takeout from a place along the way.
It's similar to hotels that normally provide breakfast and other amenities. The ethical ones lower their prices when those things are not available, notify people when making reservations, or provide some sort of compensation without being asked (points, cash. vouchers). I've experienced that in a number of cases.
I still remember the New York Marriott when they had a computer failure and people had to wait an hour or more to check-in. They came around to everyone on line and offered soft drinks and snacks. Then when you got to the front of the line, you were offered choice of money off room rate, a bundle of points or, if I remember correctly, some free drinks in the bar. Nice gesture! And it was offered up front without being asked and before you even were asked your name. Pro-active offers make for good customer relations and encourage people to return when the problem is resolved.
 

OlympianHiawatha

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
4,269
No, but they shouldn't expect to pay for it anyway as its cost is included in the fare. And they should expect to receive a decent meal even if Amtrak has to pick up takeout from a place along the way.
It's similar to hotels that normally provide breakfast and other amenities. The ethical ones lower their prices when those things are not available, notify people when making reservations, or provide some sort of compensation without being asked (points, cash. vouchers). I've experienced that in a number of cases.
I still remember the New York Marriott when they had a computer failure and people had to wait an hour or more to check-in. They came around to everyone on line and offered soft drinks and snacks. Then when you got to the front of the line, you were offered choice of money off room rate, a bundle of points or, if I remember correctly, some free drinks in the bar. Nice gesture! And it was offered up front without being asked and before you even were asked your name. Pro-active offers make for good customer relations and encourage people to return when the problem is resolved.
EXACTLY! Unfortunately Amtrak and proper customer service have moved in opposite directions over the past several years.
 

20th Century Rider

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
104
This is not just a matter of a limited number of passengers. The more elaborate the food service, the more people need to come to work to provide it. The more people who come to work, the greater the risk to both them and the customers that the disease will spread. Sure, on a long trip, you need to feed the pax something to keep them from getting hangry, but there's no need to make the risks higher than they need to be, just because some passenger with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement thinks they "paid" for some kind of full service dining.

Be happy there are still trains running. These are extraordinary times, nobody should expect full dining service anywhere. I can't even find it in my neighborhood, why should I expect to find it on the train?
Agreed! All modes of travel have been effected; providing less and with customers understanding and tolerating the logistics problems. Amtrak had been losing money and deteriorating before the pandemic so here are the questions… will the government step in to save them; and if it does, will LD travel survive? My intuitive thought is that more changes will occur now and more quickly. Depending on how soon a vaccine comes, the presidential election, and an economic comeback, anything can happen.

Historically tragedies haven’t been good for rail travel. After WWII passenger service made a big play to ‘get rolling again’ only to be overcome by the freeway program and modernization of air travel… and RR's threw in the towel which led to the beginning of the AMTRAK era.
1588256796520.png
 

Maverickstation

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
251
Agreed! All modes of travel have been effected; providing less and with customers understanding and tolerating the logistics problems. Amtrak had been losing money and deteriorating before the pandemic so here are the questions… will the government step in to save them; and if it does, will LD travel survive? My intuitive thought is that more changes will occur now and more quickly. Depending on how soon a vaccine comes, the presidential election, and an economic comeback, anything can happen.

Historically tragedies haven’t been good for rail travel. After WWII passenger service made a big play to ‘get rolling again’ only to be overcome by the freeway program and modernization of air travel… and RR's threw in the towel which led to the beginning of the AMTRAK era.
View attachment 17408
Great piece of World War II era train travel history.
Many GI's returned home from service never wanting to take a train again, as my late Father, who served in the Navy, remembered to his last days, having to use a suitcase for a seat between NYC and Chicago, even on active duty.

There are a number of great books published about the original Pennsylvania Station, but one of the best is from Lorraine Dehl, tilted The Late, Great, Pennsylvania Station. In this book she goes into the emotional details of why too many people sat by when the great station was allowed to fall into disrepair and it's eventual deomolition.

Ken
 

20th Century Rider

Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
104
The Boston Amtrak Lounge is definitely a historic marvel from the golden era; and personal favorite. The large photographs on the walls portray earlier times; the restored architecture is American Classic at its best. And not to be overlooked are the generous snacks, munchies, candy bars and wide assortment of the day's newspapers. Comfortable, spacious, and never crowded... perfect beginning for the Lake Shore journey to Chicago!

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