Home » World » Tickets for Amtrak are about to become more similar to those for air travel

Tickets for Amtrak are about to become more similar to those for air travel

Amtrak is about to become a bit more like an airline.

As of March 1st, the national intercity rail carrier will make its cheaper tickets non-refundable. According to Amtrak, the move will allow it to further lower the lower fares. The change in policy is likely to also help the railways’ profit margins perpetually underfunded.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more news on the travel industry.

The plan to adopt policies on non-refundable tickets was first reported by Business Insider in December and the railway officially announced the changes Monday.

Amtrak has long adopted flexible ticket policies with generous reimbursement allowances and no booking change fees on most tickets. However, former Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson took control of the rail operator in 2017 and has since reshaped Amtrak’s policies to more closely mirror those of major U.S. airlines.

When the new policies come into force, passengers who purchase “saved” fares will have 24 hours to cancel or modify their reservation without penalty. After 24 hours, tickets will become non-refundable and changes will not be allowed, according to Amtrak.

Some more expensive tickets will also become more limited. On standard “value” fares, a 25 percent penalty for cancellations or a 15 percent penalty for changes made within two weeks of departure may apply, unless the passenger is changing or updating the booking on the same train or day of the original booking.

The more flexible tickets – including business fares and Acela First Class – will continue to allow changes without penalty.

The new policies also make Amtrak in line with railway operators abroad, who generally have more restrictive ticket issuance policies on low-cost tickets than the American railroad.

Featured photo by Michelle Gustafson / Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Zach Wichter
covers the aviation industry for TPG. Previously he worked for the New York Times.

Leave a Comment