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Will full service dining ever return to the Western trains?

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Sauve850

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Swiss Air is very good. I had some delicious meals on Saudi Arabian Airlines also, in coach class. Even AA in first was good. The presentation was done well. Delta first class was fabulous a few years ago. The cabin attendant couldn't have been more enthusiastic. He really liked his job. Food was very good and they served several very good wines. Amtrak, by comparison, treats first class paeengers like Greyhound passengers or worse.
Sorry, I thought you were referring to US airline companies over the last 3-4 months not a few years ago. There were no meals served on Delta or American on my last flights in June in first class. A snack yes.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Sorry, I thought you were referring to US airline companies over the last 3-4 months not a few years ago. There were no meals served on Delta or American on my last flights in June in first class. A snack yes.
Even 1 year ago! imagine 10 years from now we will be talking about the good days when you could order any drink and have it served in a real glass when flying. People will look at us as if we had said you used to be able to smoke in an airplane! Ha.
 
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Ferroequinologist

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Even 1 year ago! imagine 10 years from now we will be talking about the good days when you could a drink served in a real glass when flying. People will look at us as if we had said you used to be able to smoke in an airplane! Ha.
Everything is upside down now. All sorts of businesses are using the virus as an excuse to reduce services.
 

me_little_me

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I was thinking the red wine braised beef, but I now remember that it has polenta. But you get my point. A salisbury steak is not the same as real pieces of beef.
But, IIRC, the rest of the offerings were real meat, the desserts better and they looked better than Amtrak's. As to the salt, that was the standard of the day - flavor it with salt. We know better today.

On the other hand, Amtrak's "breakfast" is perfect '70s food. No nutrition but 100% sugar. Overall, I'll go with the old garbage over the new but considering what's available today, Amtrak really comes in a poor forth place - Present, good frozen meals, old frozen meals, the stuff I put on the curb weekly, Amtrak "flex meals".

However, I will state that Amtrak's meals are much better than Alpo.
 

Ferroequinologist

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But, IIRC, the rest of the offerings were real meat, the desserts better and they looked better than Amtrak's. As to the salt, that was the standard of the day - flavor it with salt. We know better today.

On the other hand, Amtrak's "breakfast" is perfect '70s food. No nutrition but 100% sugar. Overall, I'll go with the old garbage over the new but considering what's available today, Amtrak really comes in a poor forth place - Present, good frozen meals, old frozen meals, the stuff I put on the curb weekly, Amtrak "flex meals".

However, I will state that Amtrak's meals are much better than Alpo.
Are you sure? What does your dog say?
 

me_little_me

Conductor
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Just got this in my email from Amtrak:

Safely dine while on board
Signage, protective plastic barriers and markers leading up to café counters are being installed to promote physical distancing. We are also temporarily offering café service as carryout only and flexible dining service on overnight routes (with the exception of the Auto Train®). Customers in private rooms are encouraged to opt for complimentary room service, while dining and lounge seating will remain available on select routes with physical distancing protocols in place.

I assume Safely does not refer to the food being safe to eat but only in that it is free of Covids. :)
 

flitcraft

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I've been wracking my brain trying to imagine what demographic would actually prefer the flex dining service food over what used to be served, when it hit me: pre-teens! My granddaughter would love a diet of sugary and salty simple carbs if it were up to her. Sweetened yogurt, muffins, sugary cereal--yup, that would be heaven to her and her friends. What a pity that six year olds book so few LD trains...
 

anumberone

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I've been wracking my brain trying to imagine what demographic would actually prefer the flex dining service food over what used to be served, when it hit me: pre-teens! My granddaughter would love a diet of sugary and salty simple carbs if it were up to her. Sweetened yogurt, muffins, sugary cereal--yup, that would be heaven to her and her friends. What a pity that six year olds book so few LD trains...
You know, Pop Tarts aren't all that bad.
 

20th Century Rider

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I realize that TV dinners were a big deal back in the 1950's but this is 2020 and I don't eat food that puts my health at risk unless it's worth the fat and calorie hit. That does not included generic precooked leftovers.
Where oh where is this discussion going? To eat that monotonous carcinogenic fat-sodium low quality food product containing zero texture and zero taste day after day while crossing the country definitely puts a d-e-n-t in the rail experience. So who exactly are the people who actually like this synthetic stuff??? I am confused and I don't get the argument that anyone would like that inedible stuff. Same quality as a frozen food product purchased at the dollar store for exactly $1.

Sad. Very sad.

 

20th Century Rider

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Oh, come on now. The 1970s Swanson salisbury steak and turkey tv dinners with powdered mashed potatoes were definitely not "far superior" to what is served on Amtrak today. Mind you, neither are good - but the 1970s tv dinners were downright awful.

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But did you ever get a chance to eat the Swanson fried chicken tv dinners? I must have been 6; but just loved them; and I do remember the tastes. I accepted the powdery potatoes because they were so yummy good with the taste of real butter. My respectful disagreement when comparing them to the flex meals.

But ok... 'calling a spade a spade,' the salisbury steak was not good.

Compared to the utterly bleak Amtrak flex meals, the Swanson fried chicken dinner scores a 10 while each and every flex meals score a"0"!!! BTW... you can't get a TV dinner today of the same taste and quality. Yum yum yum!

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Qapla

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Many people stop at Starbucks, Dunkin, McDonalds and such every day and get the same thing for breakfast and/or lunch - all week long.

When you look at the popular fast food places, even though some serve burgers, others chicken and even fish - is there any real difference in the "quality", nutrition and salt content of the food?

Many are fine with eating in these places daily and then complain if they have to eat from a limited menu on the train ...

I'm not saying I want the current food selection for the overly exorbitant prices Amtrak is charging for sleeper travel - even if the meals are "free"

To truly justify the prices of sleeper travel on Amtrak the overall experience, service and food needs to be much, much better than it is now.

Returning "full service" meals would be a step in the right direction if they really want ridership to increase.
 

Sidney

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Jul 12, 2020
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I just find it hard to justify paying between 5 and 6 hundred dollars to travel in a roomette between Chicago and the West Coast with the flex dining. I wish Amtrak would adjust the pricing to reflect the downgrade in food. It will never happen.

I have been using a lot of my points for long trips. It doesn't seem as harsh. I did book two cross country circle trips using a points sale last month. One for last month and one for next month,which certainly made the purchase a lot more pleasant.

I 've mentioned this before,but I wish food from the cafe car and sandwiches were included as part of the sleeper fare just to have some variety! Why can't Amtrak do this?
 

anumberone

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I make Egg Bites in a instapot and they are just as good as the ones sold at Starbucks. They keep well refrigerated. They seem like a easy item for the Cafe Car.
 

tgstubbs1

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If you bring your own food will Amtrak allow use of their microwave to prepare it?
 

20th Century Rider

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I just find it hard to justify paying between 5 and 6 hundred dollars to travel in a roomette between Chicago and the West Coast with the flex dining. I wish Amtrak would adjust the pricing to reflect the downgrade in food. It will never happen.

I have been using a lot of my points for long trips. It doesn't seem as harsh. I did book two cross country circle trips using a points sale last month. One for last month and one for next month,which certainly made the purchase a lot more pleasant.

I 've mentioned this before,but I wish food from the cafe car and sandwiches were included as part of the sleeper fare just to have some variety! Why can't Amtrak do this?
Many of us on this forum are saying the exact same thing. Those drab little tasteless flex meals are not even a snack, let alone call them 'dining.' And after you've had a few yuk flexies they all 'tasteless' the same taste! Do they bring down the Amtrak experience??? You bet ya!😒

BTW... you're not alone in your reaction to flex meals!

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Nick Farr

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Dec 25, 2019
Messages
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Location
Michigan
There were no meals served on Delta or American on my last flights in June in first class. A snack yes.
How long were the flights? They usually have meals on flights over 1,000 miles but I don't know how COVID changed that.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
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Dec 25, 2019
Messages
263
Location
Michigan
In the past it has been Amtrak policy that they will not heat your food or keep it cool. However, in the recent past, the cafe attendants have confirmed that they will provide hot water for your instant soup or tea. With covid, this may have changed.
My last few CZ trips, they said consistently that you can always get got water or coffee from your SCA or in the observation car.

No coffee or juice in the vestibule in the mornings like it used to be though. :(
 

Nick Farr

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Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
263
Location
Michigan
On the other hand, Amtrak's "breakfast" is perfect '70s food. No nutrition but 100% sugar.
I actually was enjoying the yogurt selections with the new flex breakfast. Skipped the muffin though.

To be fair, most packaged breakfast options are straight carbs of some sort.
 

Nick Farr

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
263
Location
Michigan
Agreed. There is no excuse for Amtrak to not have a decent quality entree salad on the menu.
I agree they should have this option, but the excuse is limited/lower quality refrigeration space.

Iceberg lettuce will keep forever in a container in a wide variety of settings. Entree salads of any decent quality will not keep for much more than 48 hours.

The solution is simple: Get a service provider that can resupply fresh food along the route.
 
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