Quantcast

Meals in the room?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
I am not up to speed about whether tips are taxed the same as wages or not. I assume the way some hotels add a massive "resort fee" to a low hotel rate means that the "resort fee" is not taxed?
Ed.
Well, of course it's not taxed. The "resort fee" goes to the corporation operating the hotel, and corporations have all kinds of ways to keep from paying taxes.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
It's mainly to show a cheaper price on third party hotel websites. They can advertise that their hotel is "Only $49/night!" but still get $70+/night in revenue (assuming a $30+/night hotel resort fee.)
$49/night!!?? or even $70+/night!!?? How long ago was the last time you booked a hotel room? :)
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,816
$49/night!!?? or even $70+/night!!?? How long ago was the last time you booked a hotel room? :)
Those prices are common in Las Vegas. I paid $35 a night for the Linq (Owned by harrahs, nice modern casino right on the strip). That was July 4th week, 2019 when it was quite crowded. Of course the resort fees are steep!
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
140
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
OK, if you don’t tip, you’re a cheap skate. Dining cars, when they come back, 20% of the price of the meal if you had paid for it. The fact that it was included doesn’t mean you can leave a buck. Service attendant, $20. Just because workers are in a Union doesn’t mean you don’t tip. Try that in Vegas or New York where they’re all in the hotel and restaurant workers union. Yes, you tip!
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
140
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
After the Wagner Act of the 1930's, the low paid mostly minority service workers on the railroads rapidly unionized and got collective bargaining agreements, so by the 1960s, they were probably being paid more. And back then, even ununionized food service employees were being paid enough to live on, yet it was still customary to tip them. Tips were an expression of appreciation for the service, not a way to have the customer subsidize a living wage that the employer should be providing in the first place.

As far as Amtrak employee compensation, according to Glassdoor, Average wage of an Amtrak service attendant is $22/hr, or about $44,000 annualized (assuming they have full-time hours). While this is above the median individual income of the country, it's not that much above it, and I'd hate to have to live on a $44,000 annual salary, even with the other employment benefits. Maybe if I was in my 20s, and I knew that there was a career ladder that would have me earning a lot more than that...
And be gone from your family for days at a time, and working at least twelve hour days. Plus, you have lots of people who think it’s the 20th Century Limited. Those folks should fly sometime. Even in first class, the service is spotty. For some reason, Amtrak is held to an unrealistic standard. I was on the Deutsche Bahn one time, and the waitress snatched the menu from my hand and stormed off because my German wasn’t very good. Amtrak’s pretty good.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,742
Location
Toronto area
I was on the Deutsche Bahn one time, and the waitress snatched the menu from my hand and stormed off because my German wasn’t very good.
Wow, I've taken a number of trips on DB and find that surprising. First, because their service is pretty good, and secondly because they take the trouble to make on-board announcements in both German and English (+ Dutch if traversing the Netherlands), so obviously realize some of their clientele might not speak German. I'm not sure I'd take one experience with an employee having an "off" day there any more seriously than on Amtrak or anywhere else.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
Actually, I tipped in the traditional -service dining car, but not as much as I'd tip a server who works in some place where they're on the reduced tipped minimum wage. If the service were exceptional, I'd tip the usual 15% cash, 18% on credit card. If I ever had a meal delivered to my room, I'd add the tip to the total tip I give the SCA at the end of the trip. Again, the amount would depend on the quality of service, and the amount for routine service might be a bot less. I'm not sure how I came up with this scheme, I'd really prefer our culture to change to strict "no tipping," and higher wages for the service people, even if it means higher prices on the consumer end. (We're paying the higher prices already, anyway and calculating and dealing with tips is a pain in the neck.)

Anyway, that's just how I handle it. As has been mentioned, no tipping at all is required, per Amtrak policy.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
267
Location
Michigan
Wow, I've taken a number of trips on DB and find that surprising.
Same here. I've had surly older DB staff in the former East Germany (i.e. around Leipzig), for sure. However, having roughly the same mileage on DB as Amtrak in my life (albeit on much shorter trips in Europe) the service on DB is much more courteous and consistent on the whole.

I've never had a DB staff member bark at me for doing something wrong. I have had Amtrak OBS bark at me for not waiting for them at the end of the dining car, then bark at me for not coming to the middle of the car to speak to them for my table assignment on the same trip.
 
Last edited:

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,178
I'd really prefer our culture to change to strict "no tipping,"
Many years ago, Holland America Line had a "No Tipping Required" policy. There was debate about that policy among the guests then with some guests--if not many guests--providing gratuities to our Cabin Stewards and Dining Room Stewards. I did and I witnessed others doing so as well.

It's my understanding that the 5 and 5+ Star luxury cruise lines currently have that policy. I wonder, though, what percentage of their guests still provide a gratuity to those who serve them.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,277
Location
Palm Beach County
Oh goody. Another thread degenerated into the subject of tipping.
Reminds me of Cruise Critic's....😅
The "hot button" subjects there are: tipping, dress code, 'chair hogs', and smoking policies...discussed over and over thru the years, and regurgitated whenever a new member brings up the subject...
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,816
Reminds me of Cruise Critic's....😅
The "hot button" subjects there are: tipping, dress code, 'chair hogs', and smoking policies...discussed over and over thru the years, and regurgitated whenever a new member brings up the subject...
That reminds me we haven’t had a good “Lounge lizard” or “don’t wear hats in the diner” debate for a while now!
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,235
Location
Baltimore. MD
how is anyone ever "due" a tip, do your job for the pay agreed upon when you took the job
When the "agreed-upon pay" is so inadequate that receiving tips is required fr the service worker to make a reasonable wage for the job. After all, service workers (most workers, in fact) don't really have enough power to insist on a proper wage, and, further, most of them don't have enough wealth that they can afford to not take jobs that are offered.

Maybe Amtrak OBS are paid well enough that they don't "deserve" tips to supplement their wages, but that's our culture, and perhaps getting a supplement for above average service is worthwhile to encourage above-average service.
 
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
2
OK, if you don’t tip, you’re a cheap skate. Dining cars, when they come back, 20% of the price of the meal if you had paid for it. The fact that it was included doesn’t mean you can leave a buck. Service attendant, $20. Just because workers are in a Union doesn’t mean you don’t tip. Try that in Vegas or New York where they’re all in the hotel and restaurant workers union. Yes, you tip!
OK, if you don’t tip, you’re a cheap skate. Dining cars, when they come back, 20% of the price of the meal if you had paid for it. The fact that it was included doesn’t mean you can leave a buck. Service attendant, $20. Just because workers are in a Union doesn’t mean you don’t tip. Try that in Vegas or New York where they’re all in the hotel and restaurant workers union. Yes, you tip!
I tip for good service. I'm hesitant to tip for the mere presence of a person.
 

PaulM

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
2,275
Location
Quincy, IL
If there were a way for a customer with limited funds to order and collect a takeaway meal on their own I might agree with you. Since Amtrak rules require the SCA to get involved with in-room dining, regardless of the customer's abilities or expectations, it becomes a bit of a gray area.
Based on a recent CZ trip, I would say that the virus has temporarily, at least, rescinded the rule you site. While we were sitting at a table waiting for our food, the attendant handed out quite of few large, filled paper bags to passengers, who proceeded to take them back to the sleepers.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,816
Based on a recent CZ trip, I would say that the virus has temporarily, at least, rescinded the rule you site. While we were sitting at a table waiting for our food, the attendant handed out quite of few large, filled paper bags to passengers, who proceeded to take them back to the sleepers.
As usual, it seems like every crew is making up their own system. My understanding (which may or may not be correct) is that you are supposed to order your food to be delivered to your room by the SCA, OR you can choose to pick up the food and eat in the diner.

At least that’s how it was explained to me on the silver meteor.
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,848
Location
Delaware
I was on the CZ last week, CHI-DEN and DEN-CHI. I had dinner in the diner on #1105 and the LSA brought the meals to our tables. The SCAs delivered the "in room" meals. I did not have dinner on #6 because I had had a late lunch, so don't know how dinner was handled by that crew.

The Cardinal, in both directions, did not allow us to eat in the diner-lite. The SCAs on a both of my trips brought us our food.

On both the CZ and the Cardinal, I went to the diner to get my milk for breakfast since I had packed my own hard boiled eggs. I ate breakfast in my room on both trains.
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
140
Location
Sierra Vista, AZ
Wow, I've taken a number of trips on DB and find that surprising. First, because their service is pretty good, and secondly because they take the trouble to make on-board announcements in both German and English (+ Dutch if traversing the Netherlands), so obviously realize some of their clientele might not speak German. I'm not sure I'd take one experience with an employee having an "off" day there any more seriously than on Amtrak or anywhere else.
I lived in Germany for awhile, and the service was usually very good. My German friends thought she might have been from the Deutschereichsbahn.
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,742
Location
Toronto area
I lived in Germany for awhile, and the service was usually very good. My German friends thought she might have been from the Deutschereichsbahn.
Makes sense, and in fairness we have not eaten in the dining/cafe car. If not already at the seats, menus were brought to FC by the car attendants. Many fond memories, including Bitburger on tap in icy goblets while zipping down the Rhine. Food was pretty good too, although not included in the ticket price. They even had some healthy stuff!
 

MilwaukeeRoadLover

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 21, 2020
Messages
19
Location
Milwaukee
On the final day of our recent westbound EM trip to Whitefish, the dining card closed just before our assigned dining time. No explanations were given. But the SCAs, automatically banded together, came to the cars, took the dinner orders, and delivered them in paper bags. Because our SCA had so many rooms, another SCA delivered our food. We never did find the reason for the closing.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
513
Location
Denver
I lived in Germany for awhile, and the service was usually very good. My German friends thought she might have been from the Deutsche Reichsbahn.
East German dining and sleeping cars were operated by Mitropa, carrying on the name of the pre-WWII company. They were taken over by the DB in "die Wende" (the merger changes) and then shut down. If the layoffs and position changes were not enough there also was an effort to find service jobs for the Ministry for State Security redundant staff (as illustrated in the closing scenes in the film 'The Lives of Others"). I had a nice chat in a railway museum dining car with a genuine embittered ex-Mitropa employee who did not take it out on his guests, but there may have been others out there who do. I tipped him though service is included.

I also have had some of the most wonderful service from DSG (the old West German counterpart to Mitropa) and enjoyed the hilarious reaction on a DB Bistro car when I noticed the attendant's surname was Merkel, so I asked in tourist English if she got the job by being a relative of the Chancellor. I tipped her though service is included.

Here's a Mitropa lunch favorite: Königsberger Klopse.

08.jpg
10.jpg
28k Speisewagen.jpg
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
872
Location
Carolinas
Not sure which foodie thread this belongs in, but Trains.com reported this today:
Amtrak offering sleeping car passengers option of choosing meals in advance
Amtrak has begun offering an option for sleeping car passengers to choose their meals in advance on some routes. Customers holding reservations for private rooms on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, and Lake Shore Limited are now offered the chance to view menus and pre-select meals. An Amtrak spokeswoman reports the service is expected to be available on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor “in the coming weeks.”
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,742
Location
Toronto area
Further to discussion earlier about DB on-board food service, here's their latest cafe menu (in German and English). On ICE trains FC passengers would have the option of going to the food-service car for table service or being served at their seats. We found the latter to be a particularly nice option if you have a compartment or a pair of seats facing across a table.
 

Attachments

Top