Amtrak to Enforce Baggage Limits (Such as They Are)

Still, you'd have to be seriously overpacking -- and possibly require a donkey to lug it all -- to run up extra charges.

Amtrak to Enforce Baggage Limits (Such as They Are) Photo (cc) by Dana C. Voss

The next time you board an Amtrak train, make sure you travel light — or at least keep your luggage under 150 pounds.

Beginning Oct. 1, the railway service plans to enforce its long-standing baggage limitations, which allow passengers to carry two small personal items and two standard carry-on bags (with a total weight of 150 pounds). If you go over the bag quantity or weight limit you’ll be charged a $20 fee per bag, with a maximum of two excess carry-on bags.

Amtrak’s luggage limits have been on the books for at least a decade, though they haven’t enforced them until now, according to Slate. Still, even with its new enforcement plan in place, Amtrak’s baggage policy is generous.

“With more and more airlines nickel-and-diming customers for everything from their carry-ons to their seat selection, Amtrak’s four-item, 150-pound luggage allowance looks pretty great in comparison,” Slate said.

Indeed. While you’d be fined $40 for carrying 250 pounds of luggage on Amtrak, carrying the same amount on U.S. Airways would cost about $385, $150 on Southwest, and United would charge you about $360, Money said.

Amtrak maintains that the move is not about generating revenue. Instead, the railway service said it wants to provide all passengers with adequate space to store their bags on the train while also preventing Amtrak staff from having to lift bags that weigh more than 50 pounds.

“What we’re trying to do here is basically manage the space on the train,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in an interview with The Washington Post.

According to Magliari, very few passengers will even notice that Amtrak is enforcing its long-standing baggage rules because the majority of its passengers’ bags don’t come close to the 150 pound limit.

“The fact that we’re enforcing the allowance shouldn’t be a change for most passengers,” Magliari told Slate.

Do you travel on Amtrak? What do you think of the railway service trying to enforce its baggage limits? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Krystal Steinmetz
Krystal Steinmetz
A former television and radio reporter, I stay at home with my two young children, run a small craft business and freelance for Money Talks News. I have a BA in journalism ... More


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