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Amtrak announces new carry-on pet policy

Everyone loves dogs. I love dogs, you love dogs, and now, Amtrak also officially loves dogs. Including on their service throughout Illinois, Amtrak will now allow you to take your dog or cat (provided that it is 20 pounds or less) on the train with you for the low cost of $25. Now you never have to be separated from your pup when you go up to Chicago!

For the full list of routes that allow this new pet carry-on policy, check out Amtrak’s website, and get more details below:

To make a reservation for you and your pet on your next Amtrak trip, call 1-800-USA-RAIL or visit a staffed Amtrak station.

Important Information

Making Reservations

  • Pet reservations can only be made with a reservation agent at 1-800-USA-RAIL or at a staffed station.
  • Pet reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, and may sell out quickly, so we strongly encourage you to make your pet reservations in advance.
  • Pets are only permitted in Coach Class.
  • Only one pet per passenger will be allowed, and no more than five pets are reserved per train. Service animals do not count towards this limitation.
  • The pet fare is $25.00 for each travel segment.
  • Pets are not permitted to travel on multi-ride tickets, Amtrak Guest Rewards redemption reservations, Thruway bus services or with unaccompanied minors.
  • In the event of a service disruption, Amtrak will make reasonable efforts to seek (but cannot guarantee) pet friendly hotel accommodations, if sheltering is necessary.

Pet Check-In

At staffed stations, passengers must check in at the ticket office no later than 30 minutes before departure to allow sufficient time to confirm pet eligibility and complete a Release and Indemnification Agreement. At unstaffed stations, the conductor will confirm pet eligibility and provide passengers with a Release and Indemnification Agreement to sign. Before your trip, find your station and check to see if it staffed.

A waiver must be completed for each leg of travel.

Onboard Guidelines

  • Pets are only permitted in Coach Class.
  • Passengers must remain with pets at all times and pets must remain inside carriers while in stations and onboard trains.
  • Passengers must keep their pet carrier under their own seat. Pet carriers are not permitted under the seat in front of you.

Approved Pet Carriers

Pet owners must provide their own pet carrier, which counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.

The maximum size for pet carriers is 19″ long x 14″ wide x 10.5″ high. Maximum weight of pet with carrier is 20 pounds.

Carrier may be hard or soft sided but must be leak proof and well ventilated.
For your pet’s safety, all pets must be able to comfortably sit and lie down without touching the sides of the carrier.

Pet Age & Health
Pet must be at least eight weeks old and be odorless, harmless, not disruptive and require no attention during travel.

Amtrak maintains the right to refuse acceptance of or remove from the train any pet exhibiting these issues.

Passengers will be required to certify that the pet is up to date on all vaccinations and accepts liability for animal.

Amtrak will not accept liability for the health and well-being of pets.
Train-Specific Information

Illinois Service

Pet service in Illinois is available on Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, Illini and Saluki. Pet service is not available on Lincoln Service (Chicago – St. Louis)

Each train will have one Coach class car designated for passengers with their pets.

Photo from Amtrak

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