Getting a Taste of the Parlour Car.

Beautifully timed with yesterday’s post, Amtrak has just announced that we can now “Experience the beauty of Business class on the Coast Starlight.” (Who writes that stuff??)
According to the email blast put out today by Amtrak, Business Class fares are now being offered on the Coast Starlight … but only through the end of September. In addition to an ordinary coach seat, you’ll get a couple of insignificant benefits (a $6.00 food allowance and two complimentary bottles of water) and one big one—access to the Pacific Parlour Car. Wow!
But is it really a biggie? Or do we have to read the Amtrak blurb more carefully?
Well, yeah, we sorta do … because it says a business class ticket gets you “Invitation to the Pacific Parlour Car wine tasting events”. So you get to go into the parlor car, shell our your $7.50 just like us sleeping car passengers, enjoy the wine tasting, then go back to your seat in what my dad always referred to as “steerage”.
I dunno … does that strike anyone else besides me as kind of tacky? As a matter of fact, the parlor car attendants are already, in a very low-key way, inviting a few coach passengers to come into the parlor car and sample the atmosphere along with the wine … the message being “next time, buy a ticket in the sleepers.” To me, that makes sense.
One more thing: Why would Amtrak’s new Business Class fare be available only until the end of September … less than three months? My paranoia reminds me that the parlor cars were taken out of service for a couple of months last winter for “maintenance.” Is it possible they will be taken out of service again through the Fall and Winter months for more “maintenance”?
And—yes, I’m paranoid!—could that September 30th date mean that Amtrak plans to really cut costs by removing the parlour cars from the Coast Starlight consist permanently? That’s been rumored off and on for several years.
Say it ain’t so, Joe!