Thoughtless Travelers Abound.
On the way home from my recent trip to France and the U.K., I took Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited from Boston to Chicago, where I spent the night. The next afternoon I boarded the California Zephyr for that wonderful ride to the West Coast.
I was looking forward to seeing the Cubs play the Cardinals at Wrigley Field that afternoon, but it was not to be. By the time the Lake Shore arrived and I was settled in my hotel room, the game had started and I decided on a nice late lunch and a nap instead . . . and if that isn’t a sure sign of onrushing dotage, I don’t know what is.
Perhaps another sign is finding myself feeling cranky at the behavior of other people when I travel: a busload of American tourists taking over a charming restaurant or a small gift shop or a museum now sets my teeth on edge. My fellow countrymen, in fact, are one of the main reasons I opt to stay in small villages when I travel to Europe: they aren’t there! The sorry truth is that, by and large, many Americans are inconsiderate travelers, and that holds true for travel in our own country, too.
Case in point: here’s a photo I took in Amtrak’s brand new Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago’s Union Station. Frankly, I was shocked when I walked in and saw this guy stretched out on one of the brand new sofas. At least his wife was sleeping sitting up!
I suppose it would be too much to ask—all things considered—for one of the Amtrak employees tending the lounge to jostle this bozo and, when he opens his eyes, ask him to please sit up and remove his shoes.
Me? I’m afraid I’d be tempted to say, “What the hell is the matter with you, Mac? Brought up in a barn? Sit up and take yer damn shoes off the furniture!”
The lounge itself is on two levels with the entrance just off the Great Hall. It’s twice the size of the old place, although it just doesn’t seem as homey. It will, however, accommodate three times the number of people . . . unless, of course, there’s a bunch of inconsiderate slobs lying down and hogging all the sofas.
In cases where a single onboard passenger decides they like having 2 seats to spread out in when a coach starts filling up, I have witnessed many occasions where, either via the PA system, or directly person-to-person, clear instructions are given for one passenger to take up only one seat. I can only conclude that should the Metropolitan Lounge fill up, customer complaints will arise from those who would like to sit down, not lay down. I can only guess that Amtrak staff will then be compelled to act as they do onboard a crowded coach.
I’m sure you’re right. And I agree that a senior attendant would have the experience to make such an announcement with enough authority to make it happen without any problems. I just thought it was pretty low class to stretch out like that.
I agree Jim. It is sad that more vigorous action may not be taken until such a situation as we suggested arises. Behavior like this stinks because it exhibits a “me first” attitude and a total disregard for everyone else. Better is expected from railroad passengers.
Hi Jim, You are right, this person should have been told the sofas in the first class lounge are not for sleeping on, do that in your living room. But had an employee said that, even tactfully, & believe me I know some Amtrak employees aren’t tactful, the sleeping passenger would have made all sorts of threats & problems for the worker, so the worker said to himself, “just let sleeping dogs lie”. Believe me Jim, during my tenure at Amtrak, I’ve taken that advice myself many times…
No question about it: that’s a sleeping dog, if I’ve ever seen one! TWO, in fact! I’ll bet the female is particularly vicious.
Its true Jim, the reaction usually is people blaming Amtrak for issues that are being caused by fellow travelers. Anything said to this man most likely would result in a confrontation, some type of verbal attack on the employee, and a very uncomfortable atmosphere. (Not to mention people like me that admit some situations at work really can ruin my day).
Yes, I’m anxious to see that new Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago, but I think you made a point (in addition to the inconsiderate traveler)about the new lounge that’s on two levels losing some coziness of the old lounge. At least that indeed was my first thought when I read while back that it was on two levels and I saw some photos. From the description and from the photos I got the impression that the lounge looked a bit sterile.
Again, to be fair, I haven’t been there yet. And, believe me, I’m ANYTHING but an interior decorator and architect. Other things being equal, it seems to be a high ceiling can lack the warmth of an eight or ten foot ceiling (that I think the old lounge had).
Oh – do you recall if there was anything like a business center in the lounge – computer stations where one could check email or surf the web? I still don’t carry a computer around with me, and still use a flip phone.
There is indeed a business center. It has six or eight positions, although I can’t remember exactly how many. There are also plenty of electrical outlets all around each of the rooms.