For travelers looking to skip the traffic and soaring gas prices, Amtrak offers an enticing way to travel coast to coast, all while seeing the landscapes of America from a train window. But can you bring your beloved four-legged traveling companion with you when riding the rails with Amtrak?
Posted by Jessica Roberts
Are Dogs Allowed on Amtrak Trains?
Pets are permitted to travel on Amtrak, however, like with air travel, there are restrictions. Dogs and cats in a carrier are welcome on trips up to seven hours on most routes, but the weight of the pet and carrier combined must be under 20 lbs. Only dogs and cats are allowed to travel as pets on Amtrak, and pets must be at least eight weeks old, up to date on all vaccinations, and non-disruptive. Travel with pets is not available on all services and the total number of animals permitted per train is limited to five, so Amtrak highly recommends that you make pet reservations in advance of your trip.
How to Make a Reservation on Amtrak with Pets
Because reservations with pets are only eligible on certain routes and are limited to seven hours of total travel time, including transfer time between trains on multiple-segment trips, you’ll want to plan your route in advance. When your itinerary is set, head to Amtrak.com to buy your tickets. The option to add a pet to your reservation will be populated on the ticket add-on screen, if eligible, based on the route you’ve selected. Before heading to the station for your trip, be sure to read and sign a Pet Release and Indemnification Agreement for each leg of travel. You can also streamline the travel process by downloading the Amtrak app available on iPhone and Google Play. It’s great for checking your train status, finding the station, and showing your ticket with Fido’s pet travel add-on.
Rules for Pets on the Train
Amtrak requires that pets be at least eight weeks old, odorless, harmless, and not disruptive to the other passengers. The company also maintains the right to refuse acceptance of or remove any pet from stations or trains.
Rules for pets on Amtrak trains and stations include: * Pet owners must provide a pet carrier. The maximum size for pet carriers is 19" long x 14" wide x 10.5" high. The maximum weight of a pet with the carrier combined is 20 lbs.
The carrier may be hard- or soft-sided, but must be leakproof and well-ventilated. Carriers must be big enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. If the carrier does not permit him to do this, Amtrak will refuse transport.
Your pet carrier counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.
Pets must remain entirely inside a closed carrier while in stations and onboard trains. Please keep your pet with you at all times.
Onboard, place your pet carrier under your seat (not under the seat in front of you), except on Amtrak Cascades trains where you can put your pet carrier on the floor in front of the seat next to you.
Pets are welcome in Coach Class, but may not travel in First class, non-Acela Business class, bedroom accommodations, or food service cars.
Some routes designate a specific Coach car for pets: Amtrak Cascades; the Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, Illini, Saluki, and Lincoln Service routes in Illinois; the Pere Marquette, Wolverine, Blue Water routes in Michigan; the Hiawatha Train; and the Missouri River Runner. On other pet-friendly routes, you and your pet may ride in any Coach car.