Is the Chicago lounge back in full operation yet?

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PerRock

Conductor
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
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Ann Arbor, MI
When I was there a week ago, they came around and handed out little bags of chips & would get us a bottle of water, if asked. I find it odd, because that same day I was in the American Airlines First Class lounge at O'Hare & they were serving food & drinks. The staff's reason for not doing it at Union Station was due to Covid Restrictions.

peter
 

Sidney

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
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New York's new Moynihan first class lounge has a wide variety of food and drink. You are served. LA,Philly and DC have snacks and drinks. Are the laws still that stringent in Illinois? The Chicago lounge had a nice serve yourself buffet. Couldn't attendants serve the food to you as they do in New York?
 

HammerJack

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
32
My hot take: The virus has become an excuse for bad service. Amtrak is doing it, hotels are doing it, airlines are doing it. At one point, okay sure we’re trying to stop the initial spread by limiting literally everything. Now, it’s just an excuse to cut costs. Amtrak could easily set out some snacks and fruit or whatever. Restaurants have been serving customers indoors for months now. There’s literally 0 risk in setting aside some food and drinks. Hotels can’t put out food for breakfast because of the virus? Not buying that excuse. Unfortunately, the virus has become an excuse to cut costs at the expense of service.
 

Sidney

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Jul 12, 2020
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A poster earlier today said O Hare's first class lounge was serving food and drinks. Agree that Chicago's lounge at this point is using Covid as an excuse for not having their food set up. As I said,an attendant could easily serve the fruit and vegetables. It's being done in New York's Moynihan station which has the best food of any Amtrak lounge.
 

PaTrainFan

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May 1, 2017
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328
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
My hot take: The virus has become an excuse for bad service. Amtrak is doing it, hotels are doing it, airlines are doing it. At one point, okay sure we’re trying to stop the initial spread by limiting literally everything. Now, it’s just an excuse to cut costs. Amtrak could easily set out some snacks and fruit or whatever. Restaurants have been serving customers indoors for months now. There’s literally 0 risk in setting aside some food and drinks. Hotels can’t put out food for breakfast because of the virus? Not buying that excuse. Unfortunately, the virus has become an excuse to cut costs at the expense of service.
It's not like what they offered in Chicago was a high end smorgasbord, though it did have variety. Maybe, just maybe they will rethink this when daily service returns next month. Doubtful, but there's alwasy hope.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Baltimore. MD
My hot take: The virus has become an excuse for bad service. Amtrak is doing it, hotels are doing it, airlines are doing it. At one point, okay sure we’re trying to stop the initial spread by limiting literally everything. Now, it’s just an excuse to cut costs. Amtrak could easily set out some snacks and fruit or whatever. Restaurants have been serving customers indoors for months now. There’s literally 0 risk in setting aside some food and drinks. Hotels can’t put out food for breakfast because of the virus? Not buying that excuse. Unfortunately, the virus has become an excuse to cut costs at the expense of service.
Better get used to it. And it's nothing new. The airlines figured this out 20 years ago when they stopped serving meals in domestic coach (and the coach meals in international coach started declining in quality.) This actually started in the mid 1980s. They may have served meals, but the quality for coach passengers started dropping, at different rates on different airlines. Then the no-frills lines started up, and they showed you could make money by not offering service.

If they can cut the standard of service and still make money, why shouldn't they? I suspect as time progresses, those who want quality service are going to have to pay through the nose, and most of us won't be able to afford it, and that's that.
 

Eric in East County

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
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Jan 20, 2016
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163
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East San Diego County
Someone commented that, with no snacks available inside, the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge is or was allowing people to bring outside food into the Lounge. This was always a no-no. We would always have to consume our takeout items in the Lounge’s outer vestibule, where the attendant holds court. If outside food IS being allowed in the Lounge, do you think this policy will continue on into the summer? It would be nice if we could bring our takeout items INTO the Lounge.

Eric & Pat
 

HammerJack

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
32
Better get used to it. And it's nothing new. The airlines figured this out 20 years ago when they stopped serving meals in domestic coach (and the coach meals in international coach started declining in quality.) This actually started in the mid 1980s. They may have served meals, but the quality for coach passengers started dropping, at different rates on different airlines. Then the no-frills lines started up, and they showed you could make money by not offering service.

If they can cut the standard of service and still make money, why shouldn't they? I suspect as time progresses, those who want quality service are going to have to pay through the nose, and most of us won't be able to afford it, and that's that.
I’d like to think Amtrak is a little different. Speed from Point A to B is the draw of the airlines. The fact that you get crumby food doesn’t change the fact that it’s the fastest mode of transport. They can get away with it because their main draw is still intact.
Amtrak doesn’t have that luxury. People ride Amtrak (especially the long distance trains) for the experience. In my opinion, they can’t afford to cut service because that’s one of the main draws to riding Amtrak! No one gets on a plane because of the service and views; they do it for the speed. If Amtrak cuts service to pandemic levels, I think the draw towards travel will drop and it will end up biting them.
Regional business class feels like a waste without a good lounge. Sleeper fares are ridiculously expensive when you consider you get microwaved TV dinners. I’m suprised people are even buying sleepers these days.
 

Michigan Mom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
813
Location
MI
Boo-hoo. :( Where can I go to to get my Chicago hot dog fix on my next trip?
Shake Shack has a really good version, on Michigan Avenue (south of the river, not far from the Chicago Hilton). Although God knows if they're still there. Hope so!
 

tim49424

Conductor
Joined
Dec 20, 2010
Messages
5,146
Location
Holland, MI
Someone commented that, with no snacks available inside, the Chicago Metropolitan Lounge is or was allowing people to bring outside food into the Lounge. This was always a no-no. We would always have to consume our takeout items in the Lounge’s outer vestibule, where the attendant holds court. If outside food IS being allowed in the Lounge, do you think this policy will continue on into the summer? It would be nice if we could bring our takeout items INTO the Lounge.

Eric & Pat
They have been allowing outside food in the lounge since early 2019, shortly before the Legacy Club closed.

Here is a thread I started at the time I discovered the allowance of outside food.


I don’t know what the pandemic rules are as my last visit was in February 2020, but I’m assuming they have not changed.
 
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