Amtrak is expanding its pet program, allowing animal lovers to bring their little furry friends on Acela trains where it had not previously been allowed.
Dogs and cats weighing up to 20 pounds will be allowed on the trains, with eight pet spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Amtrak. In the past, pets were only allowed on weekend Acela trips.
Bringing a pet will cost $26, and the pets must remain in a carrier at all times, with the carrier stowed under a seat, according to Amtrak’s announcement. Pets will be allowed in all cars other than first class and café cars of Acela trains, which run the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. Pets were previously only allowed in coach class.
The expanded pet service comes after the Department of Transportation changed its emotional support animal rule in December to not consider them as service animals, meaning that airlines will not be obligated to allow them on flights unless the animals have training to assist a person with a disability.
Caroline Decker, Amtrak’s vice president of Northeast Corridor Service Line, said in a written statement that the railroad service is “delighted to expand our pet program.”
“Our customers will now have more options for traveling with their pets on the Northeast Corridor,” Decker said.
Amtrak’s pet program has been a popular offering since it launched on Northeast Corridor trains in 2015. More than 174,300 pets have ridden the trains since then. And even before the new expanded offerings, it brought in more than $4.3 million.
More details about Amtrak’s pet program are available on its website.
The expanded pet program is one of several upgrades Amtrak has added to Acela trains since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. For business class travelers, seat reservations can now be made with snapshots of the train’s capacity, including in the quiet car. And the service has upped its cleaning protocols and onboard air filtration, in addition to requiring masks and physical distancing.