I have mixed opinions on Euro first class.
First, my post was more a joke on the hilarity of the class tier names. Sometimes "first" is not first, but has platinum or some BS in front of it. In Argentina, "first" is lowest, with Pullman (bigger reclining seats) in the middle and "Camarote" (bed) at the top. And in some countries, there is first and third, but not second. In Sweden, first is the top X2000 seating but the beds on the Arctic Circle train (best ride ever) are second... my head spins.
Anyway, my euro rides are pretty comprehensive at this point. Caledonian, Eurostar, ICE, Thalys, TGV, Railjet, CD, SJ, Eurocity, Euskotren, Renfe. Anything that offered first, I tried it at least once. Most of the time, the food was comparable in style to Amtrak cafe (IE order at a bar, carry to table) but better execution. Perhaps just a bit better than Cascades food, which is much better than midwest corridor food. In ICE first, they bring you coffee. In Railjet business, they brought me dinner but it was not in the seat fare. It was comparable to US domestic airline business class food. Perhaps the best rail-based food I had was the haggis, neeps, and tatties on the Caledonian Sleeper. The best airline food, by far, was Turkish first. It's bloody amazing.
In comparison to Amtrak, is something amiss? Not really. I would appreciate more attentive midwest business class service, but that's not likely. I would appreciate better midwest corridor cafe food, and they pull it off on Cascades. But other than the Cally and some luxury trains (IE Belmond) we're not that much behind. It's not like there's a network of Panama Limited / Super Chief quality foods on revenue trains operated by SNCF or their peers.
Long ago, I made a suggestion about midwest cafe food. If you're okay paying $7 for a sub-MCD quality burger (normally $1.50), you've got some elasticity in your budget. Perhaps stocking some (not all) upscale sandwiches would allow some room for Amtrak to make money. On my expense account, I'd gladly pay $20 for a Whole Foods pre-packaged decent sandwich. I might even pay it on my own. It sure would make the Detroit run nicer.
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