Traveling with a pet on Amtrak is a great alternative to flying with an animal. If your pet is unfit to fly—maybe he is a banned snub-nosed breed, or perhaps he is too large for in-cabin transport—rail transport might be your next best option. Though Amtrak does not ship animals independently, you can travel with your pet in the coach cabin at a fraction of the cost it would take to fly with him. The flexibility of ground transport provides pet owners added peace of mind, and the transit provider’s geographical reach is comparable to most airline travel. Whether you’re traveling for vacation, permanent relocation, or an extended business trip, Amtrak pet policy allows for safe, reliable, and affordable travel for more types of animals than planes.
Though not as rigid as most airlines, Amtrak has its own set of rules and regulations. Here’s what you need to know about Amtrak pet policies.
- Traveling with Pets in Coach: Amtrak only allows animal to travel in Coach Cabins. To be eligible, the pet must fit comfortably in a carrier and under your seat. To ensure your pet can successfully travel with Amtrak, read about their policies for pets in Coach.
- Service Animal Policy: Amtrak does not consider service animals to be pets. As a result, they impose a separate set of rules for this class of animals. Certain exemptions are provided to these animals, but restrictions may still apply. Learn about specific Amtrak service animal policies.
Amtrak Pet Policy and Travel Advantages
Amtrak offers unique benefits to pet travel. Even though the time spent traveling is often longer than it would be on a plane and the pet must still remain its carrier while in stations or onboard the train, you’ll still able to relieve your animal at specific stops along the way. This mode of pet transport tends to be less expensive and less stressful, while providing service to most major metropolitan areas within the contiguous United States. Though human passenger ticket prices can be similar to most major airlines, the pet fee is often considerably less. The added flexibility and comfort may be enough on their own to sway you in the direction of rail transport.
Amtrak pet policy does not allow animals to travel as checked baggage. As a result, the animal must travel with its human for the duration of the trip. If the animal does not meet Amtrak’s imposed pet guidelines, you will need to seek alternative transport. To this end, if you’re in need of pet shipping or cargo services, consult our airline-specific pet travel guide.
For some animals, Amtrak is one of the only safe forms of long-distance travel. Brachycephalic animals, which are banned by most airlines, can travel safely on an Amtrak train. These animals are often banned for their chronic breathing problems, which can be exacerbated at high altitudes and in loud, busy settings. The lack of elevation and additional freedom of movement means that parents to pugs, boxers, and other short- and snub-nosed animals can finally bring their furry friends along for vacations and long-distance travel.