Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Tadman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 12:26 pm

You can always spot the first-timers in the dining car. They're the one all huffy about sharing a table with others. I consider it a cost of doing business. Sometimes I have a good conversation, sometimes I don't. We won't go into deatails of the story about the supposed cartoon voice-actor that would not stop doing cartoon voice at the table.

Anyway, it looks like Jet Blue, in their continual zeal to be hip and innovative, has partnered with Coca-Cola to open required shared table restaurants in airports. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this. They note that people often avoid other humans in the airport (I sure do) and they want to connect people thinking it would be better. As a frequent traveler, I disagree, but I don't make those decisions. Frankly, the community table is one thing I could do without on the dining car but it's a reality that will never go away because of space constraints. And now the airlines are making it "cool".

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories ... er-of-food

This begs the question: could Amtrak improve the customer experience by either: (a) being more up-front about community dining; (b) hire a PR firm to "make it cool" like the airline?
Tadman
 
Posts: 8636
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby SouthernRailway » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:29 pm

Why can't Amtrak just be clearer that you can eat in your room if you want? I know that the "official" rules allow it, but the sleeping car attendants don't seem to offer the option. I'd be fine with walking to the diner myself and picking up food to go, even.
SouthernRailway
 
Posts: 1244
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 8:27 pm

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Tadman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:50 pm

That's a good point, they could reconfigure the diner upstairs as a business class or coach, sell the space, and serve all meals to the compartments. It would make a lot more sense from a financial perspective provided you could do it with existing or less personnel. Run a cart through the cars every 20-30 minutes to pick up dishes and waste. I believe there are a number of European trains that do this already.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8636
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby andegold » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:00 pm

I'm surprised people haven't chimed in here already about how many LD passengers look forward to the communal dining. I don't, but I accept it. As for dining in my compartment I don't like room service to begin with and would like it on a train even less. The table/desk whatever you want to call it in a roomette and even a bedroom is way too small for one, let alone, two people to eat at comfortably and regardless of how delicious you think that flat iron steak is do you really want your bedroom smelling of charred steak and succotash when you're trying to go to sleep? (I guess it's better than brake dust.) Finally, there are several chains across the country now, Le Pain Quotidian in particular, who make a selling point out of communal dining tables as a social experience.

Also, when the clean up cart is running late you know passengers are going to set their trays out in the corridor as if they are in a hotel. That's just asking for trouble and liability. While I also know that people bring all kinds of snacks to their cabins already, I know I do, do we really want high fragrance grease in high volumes in the sleepers? More for the cleaning crews, more frequent carpet and upholstery cleaning and replacements, and the potential for pests of both the four and six legged variety. No thank you.
andegold
 
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:37 pm

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby oamundsen » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:03 pm

We have done a fair amount of Amtrak and VIA travel over the past 14 years and have always had wonderful discussions with other people we are seated with in the dining cars. Aboard the Canadian, for instance, we met an older couple who made yearly trips Toronto/Vancouver to visit their children: we had several meals with them, kept in touch, visited each time we were in Toronto, had dinner at their home, found that he was an RAF pilot in WWII, met her while she was a WREN in the air force, he was a movie extra in numerous movies since he looked exactly like what an aging RAF pilot should look like and we visited him days before his death last year. I had a four hour breakfast with a political exile from Zimbabwe, along with George Bush's dentist and a retired Navy machinist: probably one of my most interesting discussions of my life! In October, this past year, we had a great conversation with a senior Delta Airlines pilot who was on the CZ because he had developed DVT, deep vein thrombosis, on a 17 hour deadhead flight he had made and could not fly: he was very familiar with our new Amtrak CEO and felt that we would be impressed with how good a job he will do for Amtrak. None of these, among many, many more, conversations would have happened if we had meals in our room. Take a chance, open yourself to hearing more about what makes our country tick: you might learn a thing or two.

PS: the only silent person we ever had a meal with was a retired railroad conductor from Chicago!
oamundsen
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:42 am

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:15 pm

Mr. Amundson, care to try on a plain-clothed railroad police officer for size?
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 13127
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:25 pm

I would hate it if as a sleeper passenger my only option was meals in my room.

I'm one of those folks that looks forward to communal dining. I've met a number of amazing people over the years.

The other problem is for families the dining car is a nice place to sit together and enjoy the meal, rather than in two separate sleeping compartments.

Definitely keep it as an option.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.
Greg Moore
 
Posts: 5027
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:50 pm

The present website description of Dining Service does not mention anything about the "communal experience".

There should be an advice of the practice within such. Experienced travelers know it's coming, but first time?

My one use of Room Service on Amtrak was my 2016 Auto-Train journey. By the time I got to Sanford, only.9PM seating was available, or after my bed hour. I don't touch it in hotels. This weekend staying at a full service Marriott, I'll just go to the restaurant for Breakfast.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 13127
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby dumpster.penguin » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:51 pm

Amidst all that can go wrong in a dining car, communal dining seems like the traveler's best defense.

Can you guess what, on the menu, is actually available to order? Can you keep from being forgotten about before the food arrives? Will the order arrive before it begins to turn to compost? Having received the main dish, can you convince them to bring butter for the roll and dressing for the salad?

All of which should be an even greater challenge for the traveler in a remote compartment. How do those fare who order "for delivery"?
dumpster.penguin
 
Posts: 222
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:57 pm

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:08 pm

As you likely know Mr. Penguin, any and all of those things you immediately note can and do go wrong with hotel room service.

I can understand women business travelers using it, as I can families with small children. But otherwise, I'm at a loss to know why anyone would want to pay double (or just about) for the same mediocre food served at major brand hotels.
Gilbert B Norman
 
Posts: 13127
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Aurora Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Tadman » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:27 pm

I've done it before on a limited basis. Usually if I get in super late or very tired. I find the food is usually less than amazing to say the least. Delivery of Papa John's or Jimmy John's is a far better option.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8636
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:14 pm

The only time I had a meal delivered to my room was when my companion and I were getting off at Orlando and weren't sure if we'd get lunch in time.

We didn't want to put too much of a burden on our SCA or ask for too much, so we simply asked for sandwiches.

We got our bags and opened them when we got the place we were staying. We had everything: sandwiches, salad, dressing, roll, and delicious dessert!

Otherwise, I do like the dining car. Even when I've ended up eating alone.
Check out QuiCR, Quick, Crowdsourced Responses for businesses.
Greg Moore
 
Posts: 5027
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:15 am

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Jehochman » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:16 pm

I like communal dining. It’s like a Hibachi restaurant except the waiters don’t shoot Sake in your face or juggle knives.
Jehochman
 
Posts: 251
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2013 6:39 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby Tadman » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:19 pm

Here's an interesting twist: despite the fact that my meals is included in a sleeper ticket, sometimes I like to carry aboard. In Detroit there is a wicked good Lebanese place near the station. In New Orleans there are unending possibilities. Many larger cities have a Whole Foods with gourmet carryout. Given that I travel for business, usually I can expense it anyway. Even if I couldn't, it's still a fun way to break away from amfood.
Tadman
 
Posts: 8636
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Community Dining in Diner Cars, Now Jet Blue Does it

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:39 pm

Tadman wrote:Here's an interesting twist: despite the fact that my meals is included in a sleeper ticket, sometimes I like to carry aboard. In Detroit there is a wicked good Lebanese place near the station. In New Orleans there are unending possibilities. Many larger cities have a Whole Foods with gourmet carryout. Given that I travel for business, usually I can expense it anyway. Even if I couldn't, it's still a fun way to break away from amfood.

Let me know when the next sleeper or diner leaves DET :P

An enterprising restaurant could put up ads near a high-traffic small-town train station, offering box lunches for Amtrak and Greyhound passengers. Might be worth it for them, might not, but it would be worth a try.
User avatar
mtuandrew
 
Posts: 4318
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Next

Return to Amtrak

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 8th Notch, Alex M, ChicagoRailfanner1989, Greg Moore, Trinnau, Yahoo [Bot] and 15 guests