Eastern Sleeping Car Passengers Pre-Order Meals

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Ferroequinologist

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Because I am allergic to garlic and because all the flex meal entrees contain garlic, I was able to special order "special" meals the last few times I traveled on the Silver Meteor and Captiol Limited. I worked directly with a very competent customer relations representative who provided me with a few alternatives. I would respond to her email (at least 3 days in advance) with my entree choice for each non breakfast meal I would eat on the Silver Meteor or Capitol Limited. I am guessing I special ordered at least 16 meals during the last few months of 2019 and each one was loaded and was exactly as ordered. I ate each meal in the sleeper lounge and never had an issue. I got the impression from the customer relations representative that pre-ordering would soon become common place. I have not been in communication with this representative for a while since my three 2020 trips for which I had reservations have been canceled. I hope she is around when I feel safe to travel again.
I have the same allergy and some other issues. How can I contact a customer relations rep?
 

pennyk

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I have the same allergy and some other issues. How can I contact a customer relations rep?
See my post from a couple of days ago:

I, too, have been trying to get ingredient lists for years. I do not have the ingredients lists for the flex meals. When the contemporary meals were introduced, ingredients were listed on an enclosure in the box, but, to my knowledge, ingredient lists are not publicly available for flex meals. It took me a while for customer relations to contact me. I was patient and polite. I started by phoning customer relations and explained my allergy and my request to have an ingredient list. It may have taken a few tries, but one representative provided me with a "case number" and an email address. I was not successful at first and received "form" responses that suggested that I bring my own food, which I did for a while. I later learned that all entrees contained garlic and it was suggested that I could go to the cafe car and order something there instead of eating an entree. I had written authorization to do that and I usually had to sign the receipt and include my car and room number. Eventually, I was contacted by customer relations with the option to preorder garlic free options. My choices were limited but I was satisfied with my choices and I felt my choices were healthier than flex meals (although most passengers would have considered my meals tasteless and boring).

It should be noted that things are very different now than they were last year. Amtrak may have laid off some Customer Relations representatives and those remaining may be dealing with different pressing issues. My suggestion is to be patient and polite.
 

20th Century Rider

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Because I am allergic to garlic and because all the flex meal entrees contain garlic, I was able to special order "special" meals the last few times I traveled on the Silver Meteor and Captiol Limited. I worked directly with a very competent customer relations representative who provided me with a few alternatives. I would respond to her email (at least 3 days in advance) with my entree choice for each non breakfast meal I would eat on the Silver Meteor or Capitol Limited. I am guessing I special ordered at least 16 meals during the last few months of 2019 and each one was loaded and was exactly as ordered. I ate each meal in the sleeper lounge and never had an issue. I got the impression from the customer relations representative that pre-ordering would soon become common place. I have not been in communication with this representative for a while since my three 2020 trips for which I had reservations have been canceled. I hope she is around when I feel safe to travel again.
Thank you for this encouraging information. Sounds like pre-ordered meals may be healthier and of a higher quality. The other point is that a good Amtrak agent can make a big difference when planning a trip! 🌈
 

Steve4031

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I would like having some control over what I eat. I was planning on eating the spaghetti with meatballs for lunch on 48 in June and was rather annoyed when lsa said none were loaded in Chicago. So off to the lounge for a cheeseburger which I enjoyed.

If the pre-orders are reliably followed, the system has potential.
 

pennyk

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Thank you for this encouraging information. Sounds like pre-ordered meals may be healthier and of a higher quality. The other point is that a good Amtrak agent can make a big difference when planning a trip! 🌈
I would not count on pre-ordered meals being healthier or of a higher quality. However, I do agree that a good Amtrak agent can make a big difference.
 

me_little_me

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I would not count on pre-ordered meals being healthier or of a higher quality. However, I do agree that a good Amtrak agent can make a big difference.
But pre-ordered meals should be able to reduce cost and waste somewhat and IF that reduced cost was used to provide a better meal...

Well, it is a dream!
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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I would like having some control over what I eat. I was planning on eating the spaghetti with meatballs for lunch on 48 in June and was rather annoyed when lsa said none were loaded in Chicago. So off to the lounge for a cheeseburger which I enjoyed.

If the pre-orders are reliably followed, the system has potential.
I have to wonder if this was a failure on the part of the Chicago food supplier (ordered food was not delivered to the train), or by Amtrak itself (order never made it to the supplier)?

I have had problems with pre-ordered food in airlines before. IMHO, the system would be so much more robust if customer's name were marked onto their food order.
 

Steve4031

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I have to wonder if this was a failure on the part of the Chicago food supplier (ordered food was not delivered to the train), or by Amtrak itself (order never made it to the supplier)?

I have had problems with pre-ordered food in airlines before. IMHO, the system would be so much more robust if customer's name were marked onto their food order.
This was not a preorder. This occurred earlier this summer before preorder service was available.
 

jiml

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I have had problems with pre-ordered food in airlines before.
I agreed with you in a post much earlier in this thread. AA has offered this service for several years now and they tend to get it wrong at least 25% of the time, either with choices loaded that don't match the pre-selection options at all or not enough of what was ordered. "I'm sorry sir. I know you ordered the steak, but they only loaded two. Would you mind the veggie pasta?" 🙄
 

Devil's Advocate

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I agreed with you in a post much earlier in this thread. AA has offered this service for several years now and they tend to get it wrong at least 25% of the time, either with choices loaded that don't match the pre-selection options at all or not enough of what was ordered. "I'm sorry sir. I know you ordered the steak, but they only loaded two. Would you mind the veggie pasta?" 🙄
That's honestly pretty bad. Out here in RJ spoke land AA only caters the generic (non-branded) cheese or hummus plates and even those can vary a lot from flight to flight. Sometimes they're fresh and tasty. Sometimes they're stale or frozen. Other times they're left on the truck or staging area. I've read that even those meals have been removed from service so I guess AA found a way to improve consistency. 🤔
 

Steve4031

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So far no email for the Cardinal which I board Thursday evening. I’m thinking I won’t get one for that train. Maybe will have better luck on the Capitol Limited coming back on Saturday night.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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"I'm sorry sir. I know you ordered the steak, but they only loaded two. Would you mind the veggie pasta?" 🙄
I assume that if you replied "Then I will take one of those two", they will call the Air Marshall. Though, in TSA jail, I here they are serving Chicken Parm with linguine, for dinner tonight. ;)
 

RebelRider

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So far no email for the Cardinal which I board Thursday evening. I’m thinking I won’t get one for that train. Maybe will have better luck on the Capitol Limited coming back on Saturday night.
The program is being rolled out, by train, over the next month. I didn't make that very clear in the first post. It started with the Crescent this week.

Up next:

July 27 - Lake Shore and City of New Orleans
August 10 - Capitol Limited and Cardinal
August 24 - Silver Service
 

Steve4031

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The program is being rolled out, by train, over the next month. I didn't make that very clear in the first post. It started with the Crescent this week.

Up next:

July 27 - Lake Shore and City of New Orleans
August 10 - Capitol Limited and Cardinal
August 24 - Silver Service
Thank you for the clarification. Based on my experiences last weekend Amtrak did a better job loading enough of each item. I got the meatball pasta twice. It was adequate. I’m getting used to the breakfast. For lunch I got a cheeseburger on 50 which was comped.

There’s a back story to the comped cheeseburger. A person offered me a twenty if I would buy his lunch on my credit card. He was caught off guard with the credit card only policy. I just bought his lunch. I did not have change for a twenty. The LSA was probably impressed by my effort. I anticipated paying for my lunch because there has been an inconsistent approach to comping cheeseburgers for sleeping cars on the lake shore limited.
 

IndyLions

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Nov 6, 2016
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This looks interesting (don’t know why - but it’s something new). I'll be on the Crescent and the Card in about 3 weeks.
 

NativeSon5859

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Aug 5, 2003
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I just selected meals for my trip on 19 next week. Here are some screen shots. It was pretty intuitive and they sent me a confirmation email at the end.4DBC4BF8-5C5F-49C4-B637-47BB1351590F.jpegC8FF512B-26C2-473A-B068-78D8DD17B937.jpeg7D529E42-5E88-4DA5-BA78-7708536477BC.jpeg
 

20th Century Rider

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I just selected meals for my trip on 19 next week. Here are some screen shots. It was pretty intuitive and they sent me a confirmation email at the end.View attachment 18237View attachment 18238View attachment 18239
Looks like they're glorifying the downgraded food service. By ordering ahead you can be sure of getting your choice. Portions are small, consistent menu is monotonous, and if this is noted as an 'improvement' I don't find this disappointing; not impressive.
 

joelkfla

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Oct 16, 2018
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So breakfast is just breakfast. No guarantee of oatmeal or a sandwich.

I notice that you can "preselect your meals your meals," not just preselect your meals. ;)
 

PVD

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A recurring and legitimate complaint has been the unavailability of the meal you would prefer because they ran out of them. Short of over stocking and wasting food, you can't guarantee that there will always be availability of whichever meal someone wants. It's a step in the right direction. Down the road, maybe a chance to mix and match, or a bit more variety, and we all know breakfast needs work, but certainly welcomed.
 
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