Starting Oct. 1, passengers will have to pay a fee if they bring on more than two carry-on bags and two personal items.
Riding the train has its perks.
The seats are spacious. You can arrive to the station a scant 15 minutes before departure and still have plenty of time to board comfortably. And you can bring a lot of luggage along with you at no extra charge.
That last part, however, is expected to change Oct. 1, when anyone carrying more than two personal items and two carry-on bags (adding to a total of 150 pounds) will be fined $20 for each bag over the quantity and size limit. The fees will be collected on the train or at the station.
Amtrak has been warning passengers at stations and online that it will soon begin enforcing its long-standing limitations on the luggage travelers can carry with them.
But the new charge isn’t too surprising when you put it in the context of the long list of fees consumers are growing accustomed to with air travel. Want to print your ticket at the airport counter? That will be $10 please. Looking to choose your seat? There’s another fee for that. Never mind the cost for some extra leg room or the chance to board early.
Fliers have long been accustomed to charges for checked bags, and fees for carry-on items are becoming more common. So the $20 fee for the fifth bag a person wants to bring on board with them, or for a bag that’s over the 50-pound size limit, may not feel too painful.
The company says the move is part of an effort to make sure passengers have space to store their luggage on board, not an attempt to increase revenue. It also says the excess luggage can be physically straining for conductors. “What we’re trying to do here is basically manage the space on the train,” said Marc Magliari, a spokesman for Amtrak.
I don’t know many people who would board a train with more than 150 pounds worth of stuff. But if you are planning for such a long haul after this weekend, you may want to think about checking a bag or shipping it in advance.