Anyone have recent experience traveling with pets?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

S

Samantha

Guest
Hi,

I've heard a lot about Amtrak's new pet policy but was wondering if anyone had actually taken a pet on a trip with them recently and if so what the experience was like. Did they measure the carrier? Weigh the pet? Did the conductor even notice that the suitcase had a dog in it?

The reason I ask is I have a 30lb dog that I would love to bring with me on Amtrak (the rules state a max weight of 20lbs). She fits in a carrier and I take her on the NYC subway all the time. But I've never taken her on a plane because airlines are super strict about weight limits. My experience with Amtrak as a human though is that the boarding procedure is not nearly as strict as it is for an airline so I'm thinking I might be able to do it.

What do you think? Has anyone done this before?

Thanks,

Samantha
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,914
I haven't taken one on board before, so I'm not sure if they weigh them. However, I believe there is a requirement to check in at the counter, so it's possible they'll be weighed.

If it isn't, remember that the dog has to fit under the seat with it in the carrier. If the carrier, with the dog in it, can fit under the seat, it's possible it'd work out.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
I haven't taken one on board before, so I'm not sure if they weigh them. However, I believe there is a requirement to check in at the counter, so it's possible they'll be weighed.

If it isn't, remember that the dog has to fit under the seat with it in the carrier. If the carrier, with the dog in it, can fit under the seat, it's possible it'd work out.
Thanks for the reply. I'll need to check on the seat height and measure her carrier. However, I've never put my belongings under my seat when traveling sans-dog. I just put my purse by my feet. No one has ever said anything - I didn't know you were supposed to put your stuff under the seat. Is that just for dogs?

Anyway would love to hear from anyone who has done this about how it went. I can't imagine they have weighing equipment... sans-dog, there is no check-in or security procedure other than looking at the ticket to make sure it's the right city. BTW this is between NYP and WAS.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
If this is round trip, what would you do should you get there OK one way,

and then have your dog refused for the trip home?
Yes, that would certainly suck. It would also suck to show up at the initial station and not be able to board. Which is why I'm trying to get more information before I do it!
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,270
Most stations (if not all stations) have scales. They routinely weigh luggage. I would not attempt to skirt the rules.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
Most stations (if not all stations) have scales. They routinely weigh luggage. I would not attempt to skirt the rules.
Interesting! I've never had my luggage weighed or seen luggage be weighed. I'm really only ever going between BOS-NYP-WAS though, so maybe this is just an uncommon practice as those stations. Have you taken a pet on board? Was the pet weighed? Mainly I'm curious if they weigh pets upon check-in.
 

Maglev

OBS Chief
Joined
Sep 4, 2016
Messages
907
I think Amtrak's rules are largely for the pet's wellbeing. The rules say the pet must fit in the carrier without touching the sides. While your pet may squeeze into the carrier and be okay for short subway trips, it might not be good for your pet to spend several hours in such a small space on a train.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
I think Amtrak's rules are largely for the pet's wellbeing. The rules say the pet must fit in the carrier without touching the sides. While your pet may squeeze into the carrier and be okay for short subway trips, it might not be good for your pet to spend several hours in such a small space on a train.
Given that the alternative is driving, which would mean she'd be in the same carrier, just in a car, I'm not so worried about that. Mostly I want to know if they are going to weigh her. Has anyone done this? Was the pet was weighed upon check-in? Thanks.
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
I think the reason your luggage was not weighed on the NEC was because you did not check any bags. (Only 1 train offers that service.) Carry on bags are not weighed.

Whenever you check luggage, it is always weighed. The limit is 50 pounds per bag. There have been stories where 1 bag weighed 53 pounds and the other weighed 26 pounds - and the passenger had to transfer stuff between bags to get under 50 pounds before it would be accepted.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
19,958
Why would your dog need to be in a carrier in your car?

Most people let their dogs have free reign in tbe car!

Cats are another story!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SarahZ

Conductor
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
8,068
Why would your dog need to be in a carrier in your car?

Most people let their dogs have free reign in the car!

Cats are another story!
Safety. Being in a secure carrier, especially with padding, prevents the animal from flying into the windshield, etc. during an accident. Some carriers are specifically designed to work with the seat belts in your back seat, much like a child safety seat.

Additionally, loose dogs climbing all over the driver are a huge safety issue. When I was with the Big Insurance Company, I handled a few claims involving dogs doing something stupid that caused an accident - leaping onto the driver and blocking visibility, getting down by the driver's feet and preventing them from braking, putting their weight on the steering wheel, etc.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

KmH

Conductor
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
2,055
These rules apply to everyone*.

* Except you.

Might a conductor discovering a not within the rules pet on a train opt to have the pet and owner put off the train at the next convenient grade crossing?
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
652
I think the reason your luggage was not weighed on the NEC was because you did not check any bags. (Only 1 train offers that service.) Carry on bags are not weighed.

Whenever you check luggage, it is always weighed. The limit is 50 pounds per bag. There have been stories where 1 bag weighed 53 pounds and the other weighed 26 pounds - and the passenger had to transfer stuff between bags to get under 50 pounds before it would be accepted.
I saw that in San Diego while waiting to go to L.A. A group of five people kept unpacking suitcases, repacking, getting their bags weighed, etc, etc. After about 30 minutes they either got it right or the Amtrak guy let it go.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
652
If anyone has experience traveling with pets, please reply. Thanks!
People here are trying to help you with our comments, suggestions, etc. We may not be offering answers you'd hoped for.

If you think your 30 pound dog can pass for a 20 pound dog, and you follow all the other regulations, you might be able to do it.

But realize you are violating the regs, and may pay the consequences.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
These rules apply to everyone*.

* Except you.

Might a conductor discovering a not within the rules pet on a train opt to have the pet and owner put off the train at the next convenient grade crossing?
If it makes you feel any better about the incremental 10 lbs, I am quite slim and I assure you that our combined weight is less than the average male or American female.
 
S

Samantha

Guest
If anyone has experience traveling with pets, please reply. Thanks!
People here are trying to help you with our comments, suggestions, etc. We may not be offering answers you'd hoped for.

If you think your 30 pound dog can pass for a 20 pound dog, and you follow all the other regulations, you might be able to do it.

But realize you are violating the regs, and may pay the consequences.
Ha well you are right about that! Obviously I realize that this is 10lbs more than technically allowed, and that I might get away with it, and that I might not. That's in fact precisely what I'm trying to figure out by posting the question. I think it would be best done by hearing the experience of someone who has actually done it; I will then use that knowledge to inform my decision. Thanks
 

KmH

Conductor
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Messages
2,055
Allowing pets is a new program.

Consequently, few have had a chance to travel with their pet, and fewer still will have attempted to test the limits of the rules.

Let us know if it works out for you if you decide to risk testing the rules.
 
S

Samanth

Guest
Allowing pets is a new program.

Consequently, few have had a chance to travel with their pet, and fewer still will have attempted to test the limits of the rules.

Let us know if it works out for you if you decide to risk testing the rules.
Will do! More aggressive Googling yielded the following website, in case anyone else out there besides me cares about this: http://www.dogjaunt.com/2016/06/bringing-a-small-dog-on-amtrak-or-chloe-takes-the-train-to-portland/

There was no room at all under the seat in front of me, and I don’t recall whether there was a space that I could access under my own seat. I put Chloe’s carrier on the ground in front of me, with my purse, which was comfortable for us and apparently acceptable to Amtrak.

As I was writing this post, reader Cassidy wrote to me about her recent experience traveling via Amtrak with Azuki, her 23-lb. Shiba Inu. Cassidy, thank goodness, fills in the missing info: “Their website also says she had to stay under my seat the whole trip, but there was a huge metal bar in the middle of all of the seats such that not even my backpack would fit under. So I put her in my lap (which she prefers) and the conductor didn’t mind at all, nor did the person sitting next to me.”
 

PaulM

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
2,268
I did see someone getting off the California Zephyr in Denver with a dog without a carrier. No it wasn't trying to pass as a service dog.
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
These rules apply to everyone*.

* Except you.

Might a conductor discovering a not within the rules pet on a train opt to have the pet and owner put off the train at the next convenient grade crossing?
If it makes you feel any better about the incremental 10 lbs, I am quite slim and I assure you that our combined weight is less than the average male or American female.
You are going to be able to carry a 30 lb dog in a carrier?
 

Hal

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 5, 2015
Messages
441
If anyone has experience traveling with pets, please reply. Thanks!
People here are trying to help you with our comments, suggestions, etc. We may not be offering answers you'd hoped for.If you think your 30 pound dog can pass for a 20 pound dog, and you follow all the other regulations, you might be able to do it.

But realize you are violating the regs, and may pay the consequences.
Ha well you are right about that! Obviously I realize that this is 10lbs more than technically allowed, and that I might get away with it, and that I might not. That's in fact precisely what I'm trying to figure out by posting the question. I think it would be best done by hearing the experience of someone who has actually done it; I will then use that knowledge to inform my decision. Thanks
Your odds of finding someone here who purposely broke the rules are low. Most people carrying pets tend to abide by the regulations. They might go a couple of pounds over. Is your dog going to be comfortable in the size carrier that is allowed. I don't think anyone is going to weigh your dog but if the carrier is oversized that is what is going to be noticed. I suggest reading the below carefully before breaking the regulations. Will your dog fit comfortably and safely in the maximum size carrier?
______________________

" Approved Pet Carriers

Pet owners must provide a pet carrier. 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. The carrier may be hard or soft sided but must be leak proof and well ventilated.

For your pet's comfort and safety, it must be able to sit and lie down without touching the sides of the carrier.

Your pet carrier counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.

Onboard and Station Guidelines

Pets must remain inside their 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 please remember they may not travel in other accommodations or food service cars.

Some routes designate a specific Coach car for pets: Amtrak Cascades, Carl Sandburg, Illinois Zephyr, Illini, Saluki, Pere Marquette, Wolverine, Blue Water, Hiawatha and Missouri River Runner. On other pet friendly routes, you and your pet may ride in any Coach car.

Pet Check-In

To confirm pet eligibility, we need to have you read and sign a Release and Indemnification Agreement for each leg of travel.

At staffed stations, please check in at the ticket office no later than 30 minutes before departure to take care of the confirmation.

At unstaffed stations, the conductor will confirm pet eligibility and provide you with the document to sign. Before your trip, find your station and check to see if it is staffed. "

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
11,723
These rules apply to everyone*.

* Except you.

Might a conductor discovering a not within the rules pet on a train opt to have the pet and owner put off the train at the next convenient grade crossing?
If it makes you feel any better about the incremental 10 lbs, I am quite slim and I assure you that our combined weight is less than the average male or American female.
You are going to be able to carry a 30 lb dog in a carrier?
I know. I have a 20 lb cat and he's hard to carry in his carrier the rare times we go to the vet.
 
G

guest_dog_on_board

Guest
Allowing pets is a new program.

Consequently, few have had a chance to travel with their pet, and fewer still will have attempted to test the limits of the rules.

Let us know if it works out for you if you decide to risk testing the rules.
Will do! More aggressive Googling yielded the following website, in case anyone else out there besides me cares about this: http://www.dogjaunt.com/2016/06/bringing-a-small-dog-on-amtrak-or-chloe-takes-the-train-to-portland/

There was no room at all under the seat in front of me, and I don’t recall whether there was a space that I could access under my own seat. I put Chloe’s carrier on the ground in front of me, with my purse, which was comfortable for us and apparently acceptable to Amtrak.

As I was writing this post, reader Cassidy wrote to me about her recent experience traveling via Amtrak with Azuki, her 23-lb. Shiba Inu. Cassidy, thank goodness, fills in the missing info: “Their website also says she had to stay under my seat the whole trip, but there was a huge metal bar in the middle of all of the seats such that not even my backpack would fit under. So I put her in my lap (which she prefers) and the conductor didn’t mind at all, nor did the person sitting next to me.”
Did you happen to figure this out and if so, did things work out to bring your dog on board?
 
Top