Negative long distance trip review article based lack of value and inedible food

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Larry H.

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Dec 22, 2006
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A $1700 bedroom between NY and Chicago is insane. Sadly,if one person is willing to pay that price,nothing will change. On top of that,you are getting flex food. Price gouging. No way in hell should Amtrak even THINK of charging that.I know,supply and demand,but this goes WAY beyond that.
They should return to the days when railroads printed the cost for the trip and the fares stayed the same, no high or low fares for the same trip, just one fare. And it should be a reasonable cost. As some have said asking 1,700 dollars one way for a overnight trip, and without any real decent lounges or dining is totally out of sink with the kind of trip it is. I never made much money but when rail was popular it was easy to afford a step up to a room on the train, now its far higher and not reasonable by any stretch. One problem with the sleeper fares is that at the start of Amtrak the room charge was based on one person. Somewhere along the way they decided that if the room could hold two people then the one person who booked the room should pay double for it. That increased the sleeper fares which Have never slowed down.
 
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Qapla

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Gator Country Florida
When I read that part I got the impression he had to navigate "narrow hallways" in multiple cars, not just the one he was riding in.
 

20th Century Rider

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Certainly there was lots wrong with his report... from both sides. The LS does serve those flex meals earlier for NYP originating pax... but I don't understand why he was served at 5pm [early!] and don't know if he had requested that particular meal type. He is accurate when condemning the food... which is in big contrast to Moynihan Hall FC offerings. And apparently his fare bucket was at the high end. As for the attendant... it is unusual for attendant not to stop by and advise boarding passengers RE meals, coffee service... etc.

It doesn't surprise me that post pandemic service levels have diminished... but could the travel writer been more proactive by introducing himself to the attendant?

With a little planning and proper anticipatory set... he could have had a much better experience.

And yes, he overlooked the best part of rail travel... looking out that window.
 

crescent-zephyr

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When I read that part I got the impression he had to navigate "narrow hallways" in multiple cars, not just the one he was riding in.
That is not the impression I got. But I can’t say for sure.

but could the travel writer been more proactive by introducing himself to the attendant?
Passengers paying $500 for a roomette should not be expected to be proactive in introducing themselves to the attendant.

I don’t know why he would have said 5:00 seems early to be served dinner if he had been given a choice when to be served dinner.
 

Bostonjetset

Train Attendant
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Oct 24, 2020
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Boston suburbs
I do not consider 5 PM "early" for eating supper/diner ... but then, I have heard that 7 PM is considered "normal" in NYC and that would be viewed as late where I live.
5pm is early for most people I know. A “typical” white collar workday is 9-5 so…
We usually eat between 6.30-7. Honestly I don’t know anyone under 80 who eats at 5.
 

Qapla

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5pm is early for most people I know.
I see you are in the Boston area ... I am not in a large metropolitan area. We are a bit more rural. Around here 5:30-6:30 is a fairly common mealtime - so, 5 as a mealtime is not generally considered "early". I guess it all depends on your home location ... the workday here for many starts 7-8 AM - 9 AM would be thought of as a late start.

There are many here under 80 who eat earlier than 6:30-7
 

crescent-zephyr

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I do not consider 5 PM "early" for eating supper/diner ... but then, I have heard that 7 PM is considered "normal" in NYC and that would be viewed as late where I live.
Typically, Sleeping car passengers are offered a choice with 5 pm being the earliest and 7:30 or 8:00 Pm being the latest.
 

Bostonjetset

Train Attendant
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Oct 24, 2020
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Boston suburbs
I see you are in the Boston area ... I am not in a large metropolitan area. We are a bit more rural. Around here 5:30-6:30 is a fairly common mealtime - so, 5 as a mealtime is not generally considered "early". I guess it all depends on your home location ... the workday here for many starts 7-8 AM - 9 AM would be thought of as a late start.

There are many here under 80 who eat earlier than 6:30-7
Fair enough. Farmers under 80 would likely eat early and that is understandable due to their line of work. Still, you said 5.30-6.30 is common. In that instance 5 would still be earlier than is common lol.
 

jebr

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Harummph. And i I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I would do that in a heartbeat. And I know the LSL is…well…not a great train.

By the same token I can wake up at the buttcrack of dawn, pay some bleary eyed Uber or cabby to take me to the airport….get stuck in morning traffic stressing if we are going to make it in time even though I left at 4.30 am, and then have to stand in an hour security line, wondering if I am going to make it though that, And invariably I always seem to need some extra screening…so there is that. And the Security line itself…. iPad in and out? Shoes and belts on or off?

If you think Amtrak is inconsistent you should fly out of some of our regional airports

So let’s say we made it through Security. Nothing is open in the airport but Starbucks and McDonalds, and what I really need at this point is a Bloody Mary, or at the very least a Mimosa, but there is none to be had, and the Starbucks line is 45 minutes long as it is the only thing open unless you want an Egg McMuffin. And it is still early, and everyone is grouchy.

But by the time I get my double latte, the flight is being called, so I rush over,
make it onboard, only to find I am in the middle seat between two hefty guys.

Then the plane is delayed because there is a slow leak in one of the tires so we sit there for two hours. It’s Covid so there is no on board beverage or snack service and they don’t tell you what is going on, and I am in economy plus because my company is trying to economize.

Then the baby two rows up gets sick and throws up on mom and dad and the truly unfortunate passenger in the aisle seat….who though he was lucky because he had an aisle seat on a totally packed plane. I’m just glad it isn’t me.

Finally we take off only to arrive in Chicago 4 hours late, then have to wait on the tarmac 3 hours because the airport is a clusterf..k due to a hurricane down south.

so now it’s 4.30 am since I left, 8.30 pm since I arrived. Should have taken the train.😀
To be fair, I have a few very unpleasant train journeys as well. I've repeated it a few times, but there was one trip where the A/C didn't work well (so our room was toasty warm,) we were delayed six hours, our connection was missed by two minutes in part because the SCA decided every. single. bag. needed to be on the platform before we could leave, and our only options for our connecting journey were to be stuck in Chicago until the next day's train or take a bus that arrived back home around 2 AM.

Even today, thinking about it three years later, I'm still skittish about booking a trip with a connection (and part of me wonders if I should attempt an overnight western train journey again, particularly since I've had a few other bad experiences with Superliner sleepers.) Should we determine our travel options based on the worst-case scenario, regardless of how infrequently it happens? And, if we base it on worst-case scenarios (or at least bad-case scenarios) does the train still win in those instances? At least with the plane example that you gave, the trip only lasted a day with no overnight, which hopefully meant a comfortable bed with working air conditioning.
 

Exvalley

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I live in a rural area, and I would be upset if I was served dinner at 5:00 PM. Considering that the Lake Shore Limited departs from Manhattan, nobody should be forced to eat dinner at 5:00 PM.
 
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Dec 26, 2014
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Well, we all have different internal time clocks. At home, breakfast for me is at 6:30, lunch (main meal) at 11:30, and supper at 5:00. My most productive time of the day is from 7:00 to about 1:00, after which I am pretty useless.

So a 5:00 dinner time is perfect for me—it’s a treat, not something being forced on me.

My problem on the train is in the morning. At home, I have my first cup of coffee at 5:00 a.m., so it’s difficult being forced to wait til 6:00 or later.
 
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