Pre-Selection of Meals

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jis

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Amtrak is offering me an opportunity to pre-select my meals in Sleeper for my trip to New York next week. All well and good.

Except, when I try to select it simply won't let me complete the selection until I select meals for two people, never mind that I am a single person booked into my Roomette. So I guess I will just take my chances. I hope they don't simply forgo serving you a meal if you don't pre-select.

How can an organization be so incompetent in such an overly organized way? Don't they ever test any piece of software before foisting it on customers? Don't they actually have use cases to review before jumping in and coding away? Bunch of amateurs! Hrmph!
 

me_little_me

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Select two meals then take one to the coach cars and try to sell it. :D
That could get you arrested.

Selling weapons of mass destruction is a serious crime.

Giving away or selling poor quality food to poor people will get massive demonstrations.

You would need EPA approval to dispose of the food that isn't used. Already, Amtrak garbage bags have been declared Superfund sites.

The reason Canada closed its borders to Americans is that they were afraid Amtrak might run sleeper diners on those trains.

Talgo Wisconsin trains were rejected by WSDOT because they suspected the used cars might be contaminated by flex meals.

The reason many red state governors won't support Amtrak trains in their state is the possible presence of the current meals.
 

jis

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I will get a meal either way. It is not like you must pre-order to get a meal. It is just that you may not get your first choice if you don't pre-order (possibly). As I have said before I am way too ambivalent about food to worry too much about it really.

My only beef is about the spectacular incompetence in producing and deploying a pice of customer facing functionality.

It also amazes me that here is an opportunity to better manage invetory and reduce wastage and the customer facing tool actively makes it impossible to take advantage of the opportunity.
 
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Railroad Bill

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We pre selected our meals on 448 last week but when we went to the diner, we could order whatever meal we chose from the menu. There did not seem to be any record other than they may have stocked the diner with meals based on the pre select orders. We did not pre select on the trip home on 449 and again, we could choose whatever was on the menu.
We also were able to get free selections from the cafe car for lunch on boarding in WOR at 2pm. I was surprised since regular lunch in the diner was usually not offered at that late a time in the afternoon. (re: CZ, SWC or TE out of Chicago). A nice surprise since we had not eaten lunch previously.
 

Bob Dylan

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We pre selected our meals on 448 last week but when we went to the diner, we could order whatever meal we chose from the menu. There did not seem to be any record other than they may have stocked the diner with meals based on the pre select orders. We did not pre select on the trip home on 449 and again, we could choose whatever was on the menu.
We also were able to get free selections from the cafe car for lunch on boarding in WOR at 2pm. I was surprised since regular lunch in the diner was usually not offered at that late a time in the afternoon. (re: CZ, SWC or TE out of Chicago). A nice surprise since we had not eaten lunch previously.
I wasnt offered the opportunity to Pre-order my meals on my 2 trips on Amtrak when booking in the past Month.

However, just like yall, I was able to order anything on the Menu ( they actually werent " out" of anything, which is unusual on these routes), including " Mix and Match" @ Breakfast.
 

IndyLions

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I talked to the LSA or whatever his title (he prepared the food in the VLII Diner on the Meteor) about the pre-selection thing. I commented that the Meteor was the first train I had ridden where the food service folks actually knew what I had pre-ordered. He said it takes a fair amount of effort - but the information is there for all the LSAs who are interested.

I’m guessing on the other trains they weren’t all that interested.
 

20th Century Rider

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Amtrak is offering me an opportunity to pre-select my meals in Sleeper for my trip to New York next week. All well and good.

Except, when I try to select it simply won't let me complete the selection until I select meals for two people, never mind that I am a single person booked into my Roomette. So I guess I will just take my chances. I hope they don't simply forgo serving you a meal if you don't pre-select.

How can an organization be so incompetent in such an overly organized way? Don't they ever test any piece of software before foisting it on customers? Don't they actually have use cases to review before jumping in and coding away? Bunch of amateurs! Hrmph!
The cost of a roomette itself; separate from the rail fare... has always included two meals at meal times for two passengers. But when you travel as a single, they will only give you one at mealtime. Singles usually face some kind of pricing discrimination when traveling... especially on cruises when it comes to single occupancy of rooms.:oops:

BTW... the recent BOGO roomette sale included meals for two... for only one rail fare attached to that roomette. So, revenue wise, two meals at meal time for two people... but only one meal for the same fare... when one is traveling.

Pricing discrimination.:mad:
 

jis

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The cost of a roomette itself; separate from the rail fare... has always included two meals at meal times for two passengers. But when you travel as a single, they will only give you one at mealtime. Singles usually face some kind of pricing discrimination when traveling... especially on cruises when it comes to single occupancy of rooms.:oops:

BTW... the recent BOGO roomette sale included meals for two... for only one rail fare attached to that roomette. So, revenue wise, two meals at meal time for two people... but only one meal for the same fare... when one is traveling.

Pricing discrimination.:mad:
All of that is fine but has nothing to do with my post or the subject of the thread! So I wonder why you quote my post and then rant away on something else. 🤔

I talked to the LSA or whatever his title (he prepared the food in the VLII Diner on the Meteor) about the pre-selection thing. I commented that the Meteor was the first train I had ridden where the food service folks actually knew what I had pre-ordered. He said it takes a fair amount of effort - but the information is there for all the LSAs who are interested.

I’m guessing on the other trains they weren’t all that interested.
It's so Amtrak. Everyone does whatever the heck they want. No wonder service consistency is non-existent.
 
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20th Century Rider

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Except, when I try to select it simply won't let me complete the selection until I select meals for two people, never mind that I am a single person booked into my Roomette.
What is a 'rant?' It was pointed out that a roomette is sold to accommodate two people so the software is requiring a meal selection for two people. If there is difficulty with that they need to change the software... or talk to an agent who can straighten things out so you can order the single meal.
 

jis

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A properly designed software should do that correctly, specially when it is such a fundamental piece of how pricing is done. That was my point. Not that I don't know how to call an agent or I am unaware of how Roomettes are priced. So I guess at the end of the day you do agree with the original point afterall :D
 

20th Century Rider

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A properly designed software should do that correctly, specially when it is such a fundamental piece of how pricing is done. That was my point. Not that I don't know how to call an agent or I am unaware of how Roomettes are priced. So I guess at the end of the day you do agree with the original point afterall :D
Yes... we are in agreement... especially with your statement... "A properly designed software should do that correctly, specially when it is such a fundamental piece of how pricing is done." :)
 

jis

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Will pre-selection of meals continue on after full service dining is restored?

Eric & Pat
It will depend on what restoration to "traditional dining" looks like, specially in the east. I think pre-selection of the main menu items even in what we have come to know as "traditional dining" over the last decade or so before the pandemic, should be quite feasible either way since usually there are five or so, with some minor changes in sides and such allowed. But there has been relatively little variability in the selected main dish for quite a while now. Afterall most of the main dishes came pre-packaged and were locally finished before serving.
 

20th Century Rider

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Will pre-selection of meals continue on after full service dining is restored?

Eric & Pat
In process of making a 'really big' month long Amtrak trip that will include all the 'untaken' trains on my bucket list... the City of New Orleans and the Crescent... Michigan, Illinois, Missouri state supported services... NEC, TE, EB... the Cardinal; and a few more. And Moynihan Hall! This is for next October. I've been in discussion with many experienced Amtrak agents. The situation regarding dining is fluid but promises to improve. Several have indicated that the Crescent, and the City of New Orleans may see some kind of full service dining restored... but no one knows for sure. Most agents definitely state the full service will be reinstated to Western trains... as per the date indicated on the Amtrak website.

Most importantly, they all say that Amtrak is well aware of the dissatisfaction with flex dining!!!;)
 
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FrensicPic

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Will pre-selection of meals continue on after full service dining is restored?

Eric & Pat
The "Flexible Dining" was already in place on the eastern LD trains before the pandemic came along. Also, Amtrak was already experimenting with advance requesting of meal selections prior to the pandemic.
I'm thinking Flexible Dining (yuck) will continue on the eastern trains as will pre-selection of meals.
Hoping that traditional dining returns on the western trains before this summer's trip. Fingers crossed!
 

20th Century Rider

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Am actually optimistic about improved food service on the Eastern LD's. Amtrak is well aware of the dissatisfaction with flex dining; and yes... the agents are telling me that when I pay for the upcoming ticket, I can make advanced food selections. A major 'upgrade' to the unpopular Flex Program is the introduction of an omelet at breakfast - I will choose that. Kosher meals remain available as an option as well.

There seems to be a positive momentum unfolding at Amtrak... the present administration supports Amtrak updating and expansion... we are already seeing the effects of that and should check the website for developing rail news.

With Biden's initiative of a carbon neutral country within the next few decades... that can only mean more good news for Amtrak modernization, upgrades, and expansion!😇😇😇
 

west point

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The reservation system should take sleeper passengers and list meals they would reserve for each meal. Each catering location should have a unique cut off time to select meal(s) ahead of train time. Reservations closer to that time will be out of luck. There might even be additional catering locations down route especially WASH for last minute reservations but cut off times still apply at each separate location for down route caterings. If any sleeper passengers decide not to eat their meal then offer them to short time sleeper passengers.
Coach passengers can order and pay for meals as well not to exceed meal capacity of diner.
After cut off times for caterer a seat reservation cancellation will cause that passenger to loose that part of meal fee. At any left over meals after all sleeper and coach reserved passenger meals are left over then diner staff can sell them by way of credit card.

An example that might happen " I am a late reservation of a silver service train. I cannot meet the WASH cut off time. If sleeper passenger I can select meals loaded at or before cut off times at JAX onward. If I am coach passenger then I pay for meals JAX and south. If any meals left over before JAX then I can get one free if sleeper passenger. Or as coach passenger pay for a left over meal any location of my travel.
 
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Palmetto

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Here's how the airlines work it: if they run out of something you'd like to have, too bad. You have to take something from remaining choices, if there remains a choice. Simplifies the whole process immensely. Or as my mother used to say: "eat it, or go hungry." :)
 

railiner

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Here's how the airlines work it: if they run out of something you'd like to have, too bad. You have to take something from remaining choices, if there remains a choice. Simplifies the whole process immensely. Or as my mother used to say: "eat it, or go hungry." :)
That was pretty much how Amtrak did it as well. They simply used historic usage to stock meals, sometimes taking into account extenuating factors, such as holidays or large groups that altered usual selection...
 

joelkfla

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That was pretty much how Amtrak did it as well. They simply used historic usage to stock meals, sometimes taking into account extenuating factors, such as holidays or large groups that altered usual selection...
But they did it poorly, sometimes running out of popular items early in a trip with no restocking on the way. Or "forgetting" to stock something.
 
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