- Jul 23, 2009
- Washington State
The actual rule of thumb in the field is you can have all you carry in one trip.New checked baggage question not covered in the eight pages of posts so far as I can tell.
Suppose one is leaving from a non-checked baggage station on a LD (CZ westbound). One layover in SAC +9Hrs and then on CS to SEA, a checked bag station. Roomette or bedroom, no coach. All Superliner so there is available carry on luggage rack downstairs. Boarding station attendant has a history of being friendly but could be picky about rules.
Goal is to get as many luggage bags of max weight from boarding to destination. There is no concern about carrying all my own bags on and off as long as I can make multiple trips.
I should be able to have carry on "2 Personal Items Up to 25 lbs. and 14 x 11 x 7 inches each 2 Carry-On Bags Up to 50 lbs. and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each." Also, I can pay $20 extra each for "A maximum of two excess bags are permitted per passenger". So that gets a person 2 small bags, 2 medium size bags, and 2 more bags of unknown size = 6 bags.
1). Since the boarding station is non-checked bag, am I still allowed to carry on 2 more 'checked' size type bags "Up to 50 lbs. and 75 linear inches*" that every other Amtrak passenger who boards at a checked station gets to bring too (so I can be dragging 8 bags total on), or, will I likely be stopped at 6?
2). Would I be able to get on with 8 bags, and then at the next longest stop be able to check 2-4 of those bags to destination?
3). The extra two bags I would pay $20 each for, could they be sized up "Oversized Baggage (76-100 linear inches*) or would sizing up and extra likely be $40 per bag? How about sizing up the other two checked bags for $20 each, so total 4 100" linear inch bags plus the 4 carry on size?
There likely isn't an agent at your originating station if there is no checked baggage (though that is not a 1:1 correspondence) and I have never, ever seen Amtrak personnel measuring luggage. Agents generally don't concern themselves with carry on baggage in any case.
Station "attendants" at unstaffed stations without agents generally are not Amtrak employees and generally have no actual authority. They cannot deny you boarding or charge you fees.
The judge of your luggage will be the SCA and/or the conductor. I can tell you they will probably be quite unhappy with multiple trips to load your luggage pile. Although I doubt they'd deny boarding (possibile, though), and the conductor might not want to handle the paperwork for the fee, although he might because you probably will have delayed the train.
As to checking bags at a station down the line, that is likely impractical as the baggage cutoff is 45 minutes before departure and even long station stops mostly don't have a dwell over 45 minutes. Also the at many stations, the agents close up the counter at train time because they are busy working the train.
Finally, you will not be popular with your fellow passengers taking up the limited rack space with 8 bags. It is very possible, verging on likely, since you are boarding at an intermediate point and most sleeper passengers travel long-ish distances, there will not be room in the rack for that much. Mid-journey the racks are generally pretty full if the sleeper has much of a load at all. Any excess will probably have to go in your room, irrespective of whether or not there remains space in there for you. The SCA may put some in externally accessible compartments that are not designed for luggage, but that rumor has are sometimes used for skis. If the SCA does that, they should be very generously tipped.
In short, taking 8 bags with you is a pretty bad idea. You should consider how much you actually need and try to reduce it. You are inviting the ire of the conductor, the SCA, and your fellow passengers. You are also running a small but measurable risk of being denied boarding.