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Sleeper booking online, complimentary secret dinner...


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#1 Guest_MarkMeUnsatisfied_*

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:21 PM

Started booking online and ran into questions, called live person reservations (1800USARAIL) to get clarity, they answered my question about room layout and wifi and I went back and completed my reservation online.  Day or so later I called again and told them it was my first time travelling with sleeper ticket and called to find out what to expect and about coffee and juice that I saw in the sleeper car in a Youtube video, they confirmed 'there are complimentary beverages at the end of your car on your train' but didn't mention dinner.  

 

Day of travel came, ordered a dinner box for me and one my wife since our train was departing at 5:10pm.  After 5mins on the train the attendant came to the door with our dinner reservation, looked a bit puzzled but I thought it was because she was offering a table when we clearly were eating plenty there in the room.  She said, 'Oh, you have your dinner, do you still want your 6:30 reservation?  maybe you would like to get dessert...'  we said sure we will take the reservation slip, thank you.  

 

I would have loved to see the complimentary dinner noted on the website during booking, it does not appear.  I would have expected the e-ticket to list what is included with the booking, it does not.  It would have been great to have gotten a list of amenities and services from phone agent, also from attendant although I suspect she was a bit embarrassed for us and didn't wasn't to bring up our mistake directly by pointing it out.

 

I called customer relations but they almost immediately told me 'online bookings do not get comped anything here'  I had not asked for anything at that point, later the agent told me 'well if I was offered a dinner reservation I would have asked does it come with dinner?'  which I found not very customer service-ly.  

 

I called website support later and they instructed me how to research on their website where to find under Experience>Sleeping Accommodations> then scroll down to Frequently Asked Questions> where I could find that dinner was included.  The agent was also aware that during booking and ticketing online you would not find that information.

 

My questions:  

 

Have you heard this story before? can I be the only person who this has happened to?

 

I have written an email (much like what I have written here) to ocr@amtrak.com but I am not very hopeful, can you recommend a better course of action?

 

I would like them to offer me some free meals when I next travel so we could get the experience that we missed.  Unreasonable?

 

thanks so much for reading!



#2 Ryan

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:28 PM

No, I've never heard of this happening.

Yes, meals are included in the price of the ticket. Sorry that you seem to have missed the memo. Next time you'll know to take advantage of them.
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#3 PVD

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:42 PM

I have often been critical of the website for not always doing a good job of conveying details about Amtrak well, but must admit this is not something I've ever heard before. Many people look up what the amenities are for each type of service before proceeding to the booking engine. I guess it would be possible to put a clickable symbol alongside a particular service or accommodation leading to the explanations. 



#4 KmH

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 12:23 PM

What train were you on?
 
https://www.amtrak.c...-accommodations
 

Are meals included with my sleeping accommodations?
Yes. Sleeping accommodations are considered "Sleeper Service" accommodations aboard Amtrak. As Sleeper Service passengers, you and your sleeping car companions (up to the maximum passenger capacity for your accommodation) are entitled to receive all regular meals as part of your accommodations.


Edited by KmH, 09 February 2017 - 12:24 PM.

1963U. S. Congress - underground trolley system • Disneyland train (1968/various other dates) • Old Tucson steam train (1969)

Amtrak: California Zephyr Coast Starlight •  Southwest ChiefSunset LimitedTexas Eagle • Illinois Zephyr

. . . . . . . Amtrak miles - 16,383, so far.

 

 

 

 

 


#5 Guest_MarkMeUnsatisfied_*

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 01:08 PM

I was on the 11 Coast Starlight.  Did you notice that if you start booking (not just clicking around amtrak.com) that you will never see the area you linked to?  That really surprised me, as I described in my post you need to click Experience to find Sleeping Accommodations and finally scroll through FAQs to discover what is included... if I was selling accommodations I would tell people all throughout the process what's included to entice more sales! but my dreams of running a railroad are limited to scale models, hehe.

 

would love anyone to chime in on my other questions, re: getting response from Amtrak about my issue.



#6 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 01:16 PM

If you click on the room accommodation on the booking page, you will see a description of the room which has Meals Included as the first bullet.  


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#7 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 01:22 PM

Also, if you click on the plate and silverware icon, which indicates dining car, you'll get a pop-up that includes the below (bolded by me). 

 

Dining Car

 

Most long-distance trains include a full-service Dining Car, which serves hot meals prepared onboard by trained chefs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All meals for First Class passengers, passengers with sleeping accommodations, and all Auto Train passengers (no matter which class you're traveling) are included in the price of their train ticket. Coach Class passengers may dine for an additional charge.

Hours of operation of food service cars vary depending on train operation. Credit cards (MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Discover) are accepted for payment in Dining Cars on all trains that offer food service.


2011: Jun: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // Nov: WIL=>WAS=>CHI=>PRO (NER=>CL=>CZ)
2012: Apr: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER) // May(NTD): WIL=>PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>PAO=>PHL (Keystone) // Aug: WIL=>WAS (NER) / BWI=>WIL (NER) // Oct(Gathering): PHL=>WIL (NER) / PHL=>HAR=>PHL (Keystone) / SEPTA, NJT, PATCO, River Line, Princeton Dinky
2013: May(NTD): WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct (Gathering): WIL=>CHI (Card) / CHI=>MKE=>GLN=>CHI() / CHI=>JOL=>CHI () / CHI=>WIL(CL=>NER) / CTA, Metra. SEPTA (WIL=>NRK) // Nov:  PHL=>PHL (Autumn Express) 
2014: May(NTD):  WIL=>PHL=>WIL(NER) // May:  WIL=>BOS=>WIL(NER) day trip

2014: Oct(Gathering): WIL=>NYP=>TOL(pd-NER=>LSL) / TOL=>CHI=>LAX=>EMY(pts-LSL=>SWC=>CS) / EMY=>CHI=>TOL (pts-CZ-CL) / TOL=>WAS=>WIL(pd-CL=>NER)
2015: May: CHI=>CIN(pd-Card) / CIN=>WIL(pts Card)
2015;  Oct(Gathering):  WIL=>WAS(Acela) / ALX=>WAS(NER) / WAS=>BAL(Acela) / WAS=>WIL(NER)

2016: Mar: WIL=>WAS=>WIL (NER)  // Oct:  WIL=>NYP=>NYP=>WIL (Autumn Express) 


#8 Guest_MarkMeSomewhatsatisfied_*

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 03:45 PM

Thank you, that was exactly what I was asking Website Support about and they were not able to direct me to, when they confirmed that I wouldn't see meals mentioned in the ticketing process without clicking through Experience> I was surprised and alas if you make additional clicks (non essential to purchasing a ticket) after picking your destination and train you find the details.   I have looked at those icons many times this past week but had never thought to click on them!

 

I wish I had known about this great resource (the Forum) before my trip... 

 

I would still like someone at Amtrak to consider my request, anyone who has had success in getting their case addressed by ocr@amtrak.com feel free to share your experience, I would very much appreciate it!



#9 Ryan

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 04:19 PM

You're looking for free meals next time you travel? Book a sleeper and you'll get them.

The fact that you didn't avail yourself of them the last time you travelled isn't Amtrak's problem, and expecting anything from Amtrak in compensation is utterly ridiculous.
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#10 Guest_MarkMeShooingTheGnat_*

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 05:57 PM

Ah, our quick responder returns!  I was certain from your first reply that you had nothing to offer this discussion, feel free to recuse yourself and further confirming that to be the case.

 

Just to recap:  You can book a ticket online, but if you don't click all clickable links & icons before registering & making payment and you head to the train station with your e-ticket you will have no idea that meals are provided.  Nothing on the ticket, nothing in the room and nothing on the dinner reservation slip.  That doesn't make sense to me and not just because I made several efforts to get more information from phone reservations before booking and before starting my trip and still wasn't advised.

 

 



#11 Ryan

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 06:44 PM

You're right. Nobody is going to spoon feed you information. From the description above educating yourself on what your ticket gets you is pretty easy.

Now you know better.

As for what I bring to the discussion, feel free to stop whining. I'll post when I d$%m well please.
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#12 ScouseAndy

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:02 AM

You're right. Nobody is going to spoon feed you information. From the description above educating yourself on what your ticket gets you is pretty easy.

Now you know better.

As for what I bring to the discussion, feel free to stop whining. I'll post when I d$%m well please.

Wonderful response - so welcoming to our guest.

Back on topic - sorry but I doubt you will get anything back from Amtrak the information is there, but clearly it is proven that it can be missed so it could be more prominent in the booking process if only to ensure 1st time riders are aware what they are getting as it could be losing Amtrak valuable revenue as it stands, sometimes we forget that not everyone is as knowledgeable on Amtrak as we are.

A word of warning to the OP - if your next trip is on the Silver Star then your sleeper ticket will not include meals (at this current time) but this is the exception to the rule and all other LD trains do (right now)

#13 Lonestar648

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:36 AM

I have always found the SCA would come to my room shortly after departure to explain all the features.  I do remember that the first time I traveled on Amtrak, I got information (before had pc and internet) I requested in the mail.  I wanted to be prepared and not presume anything.  Looking at the schedule states that Sleeper meals are included.  I imagine you had to look at a schedule to determine if there was a train with times that worked for your trip.


Trains Traveled On:
Texas Eagle                                      Sunset Limited                            California Zephyr                                Southwest Chief                Empire Builder            Capitol Limited           Lake Shore limited (NYP & BOS)      Crescent
Kentucky Cardinal                             Cardinal                                       Pere Marquette                                  Wolverines                        Lincoln Service            Empire Service          Keystone Service                               Acelas
NE Regionals                                    Pioneer                                        Desert Wind                                       Broadway Limited             Three Rivers                Southwest Chief        Coast Starlight                                    Empire Service
 
Amtrak Miles Logged: over 206,000


#14 Guest_MarkMeNearlyDone_*

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:54 AM

Thanks for pointing to Schedules, it really seems that these details are in many places on the website, just don't be in too much of a hurry (who isn't in a hurry when they want to get out of town? hehe).

 

I did not go through Schedules though in booking; amtrak.com has a Buy Tickets section halfway down the home page which prompts for: From, To, Destination, and Time with drop-downs that pull up the trains that fit your needs.  

 

Really appreciate everyone's feedback, I always thought I would love an overnight Amtrak trip and it was very enjoyable and we will definitely do it again!



#15 Manny T

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 01:58 PM

Dear Guest, you asked a question, "can I be the only person this has ever happened to?" No one can answer that with certainty, we can only be logical and reach a conclusion on that basis.

 

A first time purchaser of a sleeper on Amtrak would go to amtrak.com. Wanting to learn about the product, he or she would click on Experience/Sleeping Accommodations (one click).

 

A screen would appear describing Sleeping Accommodations. Presumably said person would read said screen, scrolling down. Very shortly he or she would reach Frequently Asked Questions, and Question No. 3 is the following Q and A:

 

Are meals included with my sleeping accommodations?

Yes. Sleeping accommodations are considered "Sleeper Service" accommodations aboard Amtrak. As Sleeper Service passengers, you and your sleeping car companions (up to the maximum passenger capacity for your accommodation) are entitled to receive all regular meals as part of your accommodations.

 

 

That's all it takes to discover meals are included--one click, a short scroll.

Plus there are umpteen other ways to discover that, too numerous to list.

So to answer your question, and it's only a surmise--yes, you are the first person not to know that meals are included with your Sleeper tickets, and you will certainly know that for all your future trips.


Edited by Manny T, 10 February 2017 - 01:58 PM.


#16 Manny T

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 03:16 PM

To approach the OP's query from another angle. Assume you skip the "Amtrak Experience" and go directly to book your ticket online at amtrak.com. After you enter your route and date etc. a screen comes up that allows you to book in coach or in sleeper. The sleeper box will show the various available accommodations, Roomette, Bedroom, Family Bedroom, etc. These are underlined so that when you click on them, a screen appears that describes the accommodation. First bullet point in all descriptions:  "Meals included." 

 

I can't imagine why Amtrak would want to comp anything for the missed meals.



#17 Triley

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 03:49 PM

And from the accounting side of things, aside from them literally handing you cash our a prepaid credit card, there is literally no way for us on the onboard service crew to give you a free meal unless you are in a sleeper. On your meal check we have to right down if you're in a sleeper, and if so, car number, room number, passenger name and signature. If coach, none of that is really necessary, but a payment must be made. All those meal checks must be turned in, and stock will be compared to what the meal checks show should be missing.

There are no coupons or vouchers that are valid for onboard use. So again, the only way you'd see anything is if customer relations decides to issue you a travel voucher for future travel, but don't expect a way to get a free meal on a future trip if you're not in a sleeper.

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#18 Guest_MarkMeNearlyDone_*

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 08:42 PM

Folks seem to have great enthusiasm for how this can easily be found and no alternate awareness as to how this can be easily missed.  I would be interested to hear why you support NOT having any [click here to see whats included] button during booking AND not having 'Meals Included see Attendant for Schedule' on the ticket.  It's curious that blind clicks are the answer people support most, are those of you in that camp mostly opposed to my request for a comp?  I feel like comps are pretty standard in the travel industry to address myriad issues customers have with providers, not any stretch of normal business practices.  I mention this because I do not want to be ungrateful and a bad guest of the railway, I really want to travel again soon, this weekend would have been perfect but no morning train (they have a bus).

 

Manny T.  thank you for your posts, just as an alternate view; maybe looking at the website as a ticket portal and not a vacation planner you could imagine someone not exploring the Experience Menu... (not to say that both cannot exist within the same webpage)   Similarly do you follow my experience with ticketing; while that click (while easy) is not necessary to booking the ticket and I (easily) missed it?  I make no assertion that it is hard, only that it could easily be missed, I sincerelywelcome your feedback!



#19 districtRich

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 09:05 PM

I think most people are just wondering why you would book a sleeper accommodation without reading about it first. How did you know what the difference between a roomette and a bedroom was if you weren't reading anything and know which to book? You just blindly clicked through the process without even reading about what type of room you were booking? If you book business class or first class on an airline, would you not read first what the service includes before paying for it? If you're paying probably hundreds of dollars for an upgrade of any sort it's common sense to read about what you're paying for. You said you saw a YouTube video about the sleeper and you made the reservation on the website, but you had zero interest to read about what you were actually booking? It's not just in the Experience menu. When you're selecting the actual train to book and choosing between a coach seat, roomette, or bedroom you can click on the name of the room and it tells you what's included with meals as the first thing listed. It's not some separate section of the website.

Sorry if it seems like people are jumping on you, but every time someone says you're expecting too much you just keep asking again.

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#20 Guest_MarkMeAFriend_*

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:09 PM

Rich, Glad you joined the thread!   I do like to talk about my experience, as evidenced here, as I am sure you can see.   You bring up an interesting point, at the booking page I was looking at the price change and I picked the roomette based on price, as you click the arrow for <Change> (which is suitably labelled) the price changes and you see a the various graphic representations (which seemed pretty clear to me).  There was only one room at that price when I was booking so a quick call to a live person to be certain and back to the website to book it without exploring further (doesn't seem too hair-brained at all, but I may be biased, hehe).  Often when making a purchase online 'timing out' is in the back of my mind, I think that and the fact that I knew I could not sit up all night in coach influenced the expediency with which I chose the accommodation.  I wouldn't say zero interest in reading about it, but I definitely missed it during booking (I missed those clickable icons that would have listed the meal as well but I interpreted those intrinsically as representations of what is available; carry-ons, check-able, beverages, dining & access.)   Is it difficult imagining what it is like to be in someone else's shoes? I wouldn't blame you for that and I appreciate your input, thank you!




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