Q: I'm taking Amtrak overnight for the first time (to Chicago). Meals are included in the ticket price, but I want to know if tipping in the dining car is customary?

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To tip or not

on Amtrak trains

Q: I’m taking Amtrak overnight for the first time (to Chicago). Meals are included in the ticket price, but I want to know if tipping in the dining car is customary? How about the cabin stewards? How much? How often?

— Train tipper, Seattle

A: It’s been my experience that dining-car attendants and cabin stewards on Amtrak’s overnight trains go out of their way to provide personal service. The attendant on the train my husband and I took this winter to Essex, Mont., greeted us by our first names and stored our skis in a special place so we could easily find them when it was time to get off.

Jim Loomis, author of “All Aboard! The Complete North American Train Travel Guide,” recommends $5 per passenger per night for sleeping-car attendants, and the standard 15 percent of what the meals would cost if you paid (prices are on the menu) outright.

Come prepared with a stash of small bills.

Leave the tip in cash on the table, and hand your sleeping-car attendant the tip at your final destination.

There’s no obligation that you tip, of course, and you should feel free to adjust the amount, depending on the service.

— Carol Pucci / Seattle Times

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