Answering the wishes of many pet owners who dream of more travel options for their four-legged companions, Amtrak will initiate a trial program next week that allows pets to travel in the cabins of select trains.
The program, which includes the Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains between Chicago and Quincy, Ill., will run for six months beginning on May 5. If the test run is successful, pet travel options may be expanded nationwide.
Here are a few highlights of the Amtrak carry-on pet pilot program:
- Passengers will pay $25 for each pet brought on board, and only dogs and cats are allowed.
- Pets must be secured in travel carriers and stored under the seat (just like in the cabin of an airplane).
- Pets and carriers should together weigh no more than 20 lbs.
- Pets must be at least 8 weeks old and have proof of updated vaccines.
- There will be no comfort breaks for pets on this four-and-a-half hour route.
- Pets must be "odorless and harmless, not disruptive, and require no attention during travel."
Currently service animals are allowed to travel in Amtrak cabins, but this is the first time pets have been permitted to do so. Citizens and legislators around the country have been lobbying for Amtrak to allow pets on board for months, and now travelers will have a chance to prove that a program like this can be successful.
If Amtrak allowed pets on all trains, would you take advantage of that option? Let us know what you think, and stay tuned for more Amtrak pet updates as they develop.