New dining options (flex dining) effective October 1

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by SanDiegan, Jul 13, 2019.

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  1. Nov 6, 2019 #1301

    Devil's Advocate

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    Serving generic sausage sandwiches in coach is perfectly fine, and Continental Airlines managed to build a very loyal clientele in part by including cheap sandwiches with coach tickets, but serving this sort of thing as part of a first class sleeper service is kind of insulting. I know Amtrak doesn't actually call it first class anymore, but they still charge first class prices so that's the expectation level many first time and infrequent travelers are likely to bring with them. Imagine having to bus your own meals in first class on an aircraft or at a luxury hotel. It's laughably out of touch at these prices.
     
  2. Nov 6, 2019 #1302

    Rail Freak

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    OH MAN, what an idea!!!! Got My Vote!
     
  3. Nov 6, 2019 #1303

    MARC Rider

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    Having just experienced flex dining on 2 different trains, and also having been a customer of Chick-fil-A, I would say the above statement is not true.

    More to come in a detailed trip report in this thread.
     
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  4. Nov 6, 2019 #1304

    Dakota 400

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    Ah, for me the late and lamented Continental Airlines! Even in long distance Economy, they provided adequate meal service for Economy passengers. A December flight from Houston to Anchorage, there was meal service after leaving Houston. About 90 minutes prior to landing, a hot sandwich was served. I expressed my surprise at this to the flight attendant. Her reply is memorable: "We don't want our guests to starve!" On a Rome to Newark flight, lunch was served after leaving Rome and a snack was served prior to landing In Newark.
     
  5. Nov 6, 2019 #1305

    tim49424

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    The only time I’ve ever had Chick-fil-A was actually ON an Amtrak train. Four years ago I was on the Texas Eagle, stranded for 30 hours due to weather in San Marcos headed for Chicago. About an hour or two before we finally were bussed north to Fort Worth, they brought in sandwiches from there. Truth be told, I was not impressed. Not yet having the flex dining, I can’t compare, but in my opinion, the bar is set very low.
     
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  6. Nov 6, 2019 #1306

    Rail Freak

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  7. Nov 6, 2019 #1307

    crescent-zephyr

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    Chik-Fil-A and In-n-out, imho, far exceed the standard fast food establishments. They are both known for clean restaurants, friendly staff, and they both have record setting per-store profits.

    They are also both private, family owned businesses with religious values, You can take that as a positive or a negative but it’s a fact.

    As it relates to Amtrak, at chik-Fil-a I
    have a decent amount of quality salad dressings to choose from, I can choose from multiple desserts, multiple side dishes, and since I can’t Have gluten, I can ask for gluten free bread.
     
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  8. Nov 6, 2019 #1308

    jiml

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    People forget that Continental didn't actually go anywhere - they bought United Airlines, not the other way around.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2019 #1309

    tim49424

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    Rail Freak, they've invaded Michigan now. There is one about a mile and a half from me. Granted, ours didn't exist back then, but I'm still not inclined to patronize them.
     
  10. Nov 7, 2019 #1310

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    Then Amtrak trains would be strictly prohibited from running on Sundays.
     
  11. Nov 7, 2019 #1311

    Tom Booth

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  12. Nov 7, 2019 #1312

    Manny T

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    Same thing happened to me on a LSL that was delayed by about 4 hours. Chick-fil-A sandwiches were distributed to all PAX, sleeper and coach. I've never been to a Chick-fil-A in my life and would never eat any product from that company. Total lifetime boycott. I did examine the sandwich to see what it looked like. Then it went straight into the garbage.
     
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  13. Nov 7, 2019 #1313

    Bob Dylan

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    San Marcos, where I went to High School and College as did my darling daughter!( there were no Chain Joints there in those days, just Mom and Pops! And Really Bad Flooding!!!)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  14. Nov 7, 2019 #1314

    SarahZ

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    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Nov 7, 2019 #1315

    tim49424

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    Other than that time, I boycott them too. As I stated before, I was not impressed. You didn’t miss anything, in my opinion.
     
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  16. Nov 7, 2019 #1316

    Palmland

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    While Chick-fil-A food is very good, for an inexpensive fast food restaurant, what sets them apart is their well trained employees offering consistently good customer service. Amtrak HR would do well to talk with them.

    Now, that said, I was pleased with Amtrak customer service on our recent travels (4 LD trains). No grumpy, lazy, or unpleasant employees in the sleepers or dining cars. Too bad the food and it’s presentation was very mediocre (but no doubt better than the flex dining we have yet to enjoy).
     
  17. Nov 7, 2019 #1317

    tim49424

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    I got to talk to a few of the locals who stopped by the train to see if WE were alright, while people were being rescued from rooftops via helicopters and others were using rowboats where streets would be normally. They even offered to get us food. Again all this after they got slammed by two tornadoes and 15 inches of rain in 3 hours. How friendly and selfless is that? I told them we were eventually going to alright but I was more worried about them. A few hours later, we discovered the crew was going to take the train back to San Antonio and we were getting bussed to Fort Worth, where we were to meet the turned Texas Eagle headed north to Chicago. We got there and were seated for dinner before we hit Dallas. For as long as I spent in San Marcos, I know next to nothing about the area and what other fast food they have there, obviously other than Chick-fil-A.
     
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  18. Nov 7, 2019 #1318

    Bob Dylan

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    See my amended Post above!
     
  19. Nov 7, 2019 #1319

    lordsigma

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    I thought United bought Continental but they used Continental’s operating certificate and their livery for the planes (if I recall at the time, while United was technically the purchasing party, Continental had a better reputation and the Continental CEO at the time may have even taken the helm.) Not being a fan of flying I may not have that all correct but just going on what I thought I remembered.
     
  20. Nov 7, 2019 #1320

    tim49424

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    That amendment is the understatement of the world. Not only was that flood horrible....it’s the worst I’d ever seen!

    Now, I was told that they go though that at least a couple of times per year, but the dam near there gives way, adding to the problems. The host railroad has to be very busy down there with constant maintenance! There were about 15 washouts ahead of us, one deep enough to fit a good sized human.

    I was going through all the trip logs to find mine and funny enough, you told me in response to my story, that you’d lived there at one time and indeed the flooding was bad. LOL. The one thing I misremembered was the time frame of all the rain, 6 hours, not 3.

    Michigan to California and Back - October 26-November 2, 2015
    https://discuss.amtraktrains.com/in...and-Back---October-26-November-2,-2015.67314/

    Now back to the discussion of how gawd awful the flex dining experience is......

    Sorry to have somewhat hijacked the thread!
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  21. Nov 7, 2019 #1321

    jis

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    Technically it was a merger of equals, so no one bought anyone .

    Yes. Smisek of Continental became the CEO. The Continental frequent flyer program became the new merged United Mileage Plus program and the Continental reservation and resource management system (SHARES) was adopted by the merged airline, ditching the old United system, and all the planes got painted to look like Continental planes but with United as the brand name. Etc.
     
  22. Nov 7, 2019 #1322

    seat38a

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    Hmmmm, maybe you could have not picked through something you weren't going to eat anyway and just given it to someone else on the train who probably isn't fortunate enough to have the luxury of throwing food away on principal? o_Oo_O
     
  23. Nov 7, 2019 #1323

    tim49424

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    From what I’m understanding, that’s what’s happening with some people and the flex dining. So I’m not sure what the difference there is.
     
  24. Nov 7, 2019 #1324

    seat38a

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    Other's have already given those people who brag about doing it on principal, s*&^ about it already in this post and other posts like the LSL one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  25. Nov 7, 2019 #1325

    jiml

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    I don't want to start a debate on this, and what you've stated was certainly the desired public perception at the time. Behind the scenes it was quite a different scene, with UA teetering on the brink of another bankruptcy. United was chosen as the name of the merged carrier due to international recognition, thinking Continental was regarded as domestic-only. One of my best friends worked for CO at the time and is now in UA mgmt, so I had access to some pretty solid info. Let's just say their CO stock did very well.
     

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