Is Amtrak getting stricter with the carry on policy?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by justinslot, Oct 29, 2018.

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  1. Oct 30, 2018 #51

    NorthShore

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    Assuming you have laundry facilities available.
    I always like to launder before packing for a return trip, just because it's one less thing to do upon return; keeps the suitcases fresh; and allows for tighter packing. I, then, get to live out of my suitcase for awhile once home, as an adfed bonus. If possible, I book at a hotel with washer/dryer.

    In Montreal, I was attending a convention at a hotel without cleaning equipment. I found a public laundromat a mile away. Lugged my clothes down there early evening. It closed late afternoon. Twas a good thing I had an extra suitcase with some space and enough clothes to last beyond even my normal wash cycle at home or I might have been a naked Amtrak rider.

    Thankfully, I did manage to wash and dry in Toronto a week earlier on the trip.

    I always overpack, therefore, ideally to last the entire trip and then some, just in case. For anything over a few days, that means extra luggage, especially for a two week trip.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2018
  2. Oct 31, 2018 #52

    PaulM

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    I don't see any grey area here.  There is no suggestion that a folding bike can't be in a bag.  In fact some commuter lines require a bag.  They avoid the chain grease problem.

    Now if you had two other pieces of carry-on baggage, you would exceed the limit by one; but still not be in a grey area.
     
  3. Nov 1, 2018 #53

    BCL

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    If I have a short trip I stuff everything in laundry bags or whatever plastic bags I brought with me.

    However, I've been on long trips where doing my own laundry seemed like a good idea - especially a 3 week trip.  My favorite place was a hotel I stayed for a whole week with free laundry facilities.  Sometimes I'd just wash my clothes by hand and dry them in the dryer for 10 minutes.
     
  4. Nov 1, 2018 #54

    NorthShore

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    A washboard!   That's what I've been forgetting to pack!
     
  5. Nov 1, 2018 #55

    seat38a

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    Generally, I try to fit a stay or two at Courtyard, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn or TownePlace Suites which all have coin laundry on property. Last trip in May, took a small suitcase and did laundry twice during my 1.5 week roadtrip. There are plenty of hotels that offer coin laundry. The ones I listed are the ones that have them at Marriott properties. For my upcoming trip end of the year, I planned it again with 2 stays at a Residence Inn and another at a Courtyard just for the laundry.
     
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  6. Nov 1, 2018 #56

    NSC1109

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    When I first read the title of this topic, I thought it read "Is Amtrak getting nuclear with the carry on policy?". 

    I bet the fallout from that would've been devastating. 

    On a serious note, I didn't see/hear about any carry-on changes when I took the Wolverine to and from Chicago in October. Two carry-on items and two personal items. 
     
  7. Nov 1, 2018 #57

    Skyline

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    When on a train or backpacking trek (lately I've been combining those), those kinds of venues aren't usually available, convenient, etc. I wind up doing laundry in public laundromats. My goal is once per week, as I typically only have three changes of clothing. Laundromats are good places to soak up local flavor BTW; some are better maintained than others tho.
     
  8. Nov 1, 2018 #58

    TiBike

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    Amen. I think you learn more about a city/country by spending a hour or two in a laundromat than a day in a museum.

    I try to travel light, particularly when I'm on a bike but even when I'm not. Did a month in Europe last year with one 23 liter (~ book bag size) backpack/pannier and a bike, and a month in Asia this year with one carry-on size duffle (no bike, but lots of trains :). One dress shirt and one pair of khakis, a pair of shorts or jeans, and a few technical (i.e. quick dry) t-shirts, including a black one and a long sleeved one. If I'm on a bike, I skip the khakis and dress shirt and go with jeans and bike shorts. Part of the trick is to not pack all the "what if" stuff. There are stores everywhere -- every so often I have to buy something, which usually turns into a daily use souvenir when I get home.
     
  9. Nov 1, 2018 #59

    Skyline

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    You are definitely a more ultralight bicyclist than I am a hiker...a compliment! I try to keep my starting trail pack weight in the 26-28# range which I can most of the time, and as I consume food and other expendables that dwindles. Some friends can get well below 20 to start and then 10 to 15 as the days go by.. That's everything, including five days food and two liters water. You do have to make tough choices sometime. 

    On trains when not also backpacking, I can get significantly lower because I'm not carrying a tent, sleeping bag, a lot of food and water, etc. and can use a smaller pack.  I see people on board pax trains with multiple huge suitcases and try to imagine what in the world they are carrying that they can't live without while traveling (the baggage they check is another matter and probably include items not needed while on board). But as we say on the Appalachian Trail, HYOH...
     
  10. Nov 2, 2018 #60

    EB_OBS

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    The computer case is considered a personal item.  One of the small bags could be counted as a personal item so it sounds like, in addition to that, you had 3 more bags carried on.  That's one bag more than the carry-on policy allows.  You are allowed 2 excess bags over the limit for $20 each.  The excess bag or bags are supposed to be tagged so that OBS and conductors know the excess bag fee(s) have been paid.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2018
  11. Nov 2, 2018 #61

    NW cannonball

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    Item 3 below, back in the 1970's -- boarding #7 at LaCrosse, had bicycle, totally worn out after riding from Chicago.

    No box required. (officially,at the time, had to box your bike, but -- the crew just threw my bike in the bag car)  No fee. No bike racks in bag car. No worries.

    As for carry-ons - yeah - some folks try to carry on the kitchen sink and more - not just on Amtrak, airlines also.

    Oh. and airlines -- back in the 70's same trip, checked bare bike to Chicago. And carried on a bag of bike tools - screwdrivers, wrenches, spare parts -- total carry-on less than 2 cubic ft -and 15 pounds - but lots of metal :)   Inspector checker looked, I said "bike tools" -- no problem.

    What I've learned in laundromats has been

    1:  in manhattan -- wait your turn, not so long,  very polite people.

    2. in Tokyo -- cheap business hotel had 2 washer-dryers for a 10-story hotel. -- reserved for 2 am - jet-lag helped. very polite people - wandered Tokyo in wee hours waiting for dryer, never felt safer in a big city after midnight in my life.

    3  biking across Wisconsin a few decades ago --  had 2-day change of clothing. got clean at some hicktown full of Brewers fans , caught the EB at LSE and checked bike no probs  -bike rules informal back then

    4  in Albuquerque staying at cheap motel 4 years back -- at the nearest laundromat on route 66 -  few customers midday, but bought a couple green chile burros from someone off the street for a dollar each -- real good.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2018
  12. Nov 2, 2018 #62

    TiBike

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    It's been a while since I've done any serious backpacking, but when I did, my load was more like yours -- food and water is the variable. When I'm biking/camping, I'm running a little less -- sleeping bag, bivvy, pad, extra clothing layers, food, water. But then you add in bike stuff - rack, lights, tools and spares – and it probably evens out. But I try to run on the light side. My rule of thumb for long term (3-4+ weeks) credit card touring is bike clothes plus one and a half changes of civvies.

    Credit card touring is where you can really get the weight down. A friend of mine did a 300 mile tour with a credit card, a jacket shell and a water bottle. She's a legend.

    I'm on a mini-tour right now, and not being so careful. Took the Starlate down to Van Nuys last night, and I'm riding to Long Beach this morning, down the LA river trail, to catch a ferry to Catalina. Got way too much stuff with me. I've noticed: the shorter the trip, the more I bring  ;) .
     
  13. Nov 2, 2018 #63

    TiBike

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    It's still like that in most places in the world -- just roll up with the bike and, in some countries, a little folding money and you're good to go. Sometimes you have to buy a ticket for the bike, but it's negligible -- a couple of bucks at most.  I'm trying to remember the last time I saw someone check a naked bike on a airplane, though -- maybe 10 years ago, in Australia?

    Love the laundromat lessons, BTW  :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2018
  14. Nov 2, 2018 #64

    IndyLions

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    Last Saturday I flew into LAX and stayed in Downtown LA. I rented a road bike for a little impromptu sightseeing on two wheels. Got a chance to ride a lap around Griffith Park, and checkout some landmarks I’d read about in detective fiction (Pacific Dining Car, Bradbury Building, LA City Hall, etc). On the way back to my downtown hotel from Griffith Park I spent several miles on that LA River trail. Very interesting - definitely a different view of LA.

    The next day it was off to Union Station and the Coast Starlight for an amazing Sunday ride on steel wheels to OAK for a week of business. Bikes & Trains are a great combination to see the country!

    View attachment 10894

    View attachment 10895
     
  15. Nov 2, 2018 #65

    JRR

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    Since we are usually on the Meteor in a roomette, we have adapted to rolling duffle bags which fit in the over the hallway space, which along with my backpack and my wife’s large bag, hold all we need for at least a week and plan on doing laundry for longer trips. We haven’t had to use a laundromat yet but that’s always been an option.

    We’ve found that we can handle the bags easily and is a lot easier to get around. There have been a couple of times when we needed to have more formal wear (a suit for me, long dress for my wife), we then put them in a clothing bag which we can hang from the hanger bar in the roomette.

    Works for us!
     
  16. Nov 2, 2018 #66

    IndyLions

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    I agree having at least one rolling bag is great.

    For roomette/plane travel - I’ve found that a single, medium roll-around along with a small backpack/pannier is all I want to carry.

    I had about a 1/2 mile walk from Union Station to the Downtown Doubletree - and I just strapped on the backpack and easily maneuvered the roll around down the sidewalks of LA.

    Those bags will do me for up to one week. If the trip is longer - a session in the hotel laundry facilities or laundromat extends it nicely. If I’m in the same hotel for 2 or 3 days in a row (business) I can even take advantage of the old-fashioned hotel shirt laundering service.

    When I actually start doing overnight bike tours like TiBike - that will be a completely different animal.
     
  17. Nov 2, 2018 #67

    tricia

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    If anyone has current information about the original topic of this thread ("is Amtrak getting stricter with the carry-on policy"), I'd be grateful to hear it.

    In particular, has anyone experienced or witnessed passengers being refused boarding due to too much baggage at a station where it's not possible to check bags?
     
  18. Nov 3, 2018 #68

    EB_OBS

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    I can say that conductors on the Empire Builder are enforcing the excess baggage fees at Libby and Sandpoint.  They are sending the passenger in at Spokane and Whitefish to pay the fee (s).
     
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  19. Nov 3, 2018 #69

    Carolyn Jane

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    Weelll...let me jump in here.  Last Feb. we were in Jesup, GA (unstaffed station) picking my niece off of the Meteor.  There was an elderly man there with a host of baggage.  A large suitcase, a couple of small suitcases, multiple totes and even a large paper trash bag.  I think his family was shunting off to more family in FL.  

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When the attendant told him he couldn't take all that stuff, I think he was trying to pay the other man to keep some of it for him.   But he never got on the train because when they began to examine his ticket, for some reason or regulation its validity had expired.  CJ
     
  20. Nov 4, 2018 #70

    niemi24s

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    Is Amtrak getting stricter with the carry on policy?

    I, for one,  certainly hope so.
     
  21. Nov 4, 2018 #71

    FrensicPic

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    LA Union Station October 2011...Union Station in LA waiting for the Southwest Chief. A VERY pregnant young lady with a whole bunch of kids. They were dragging bags and boxes of stuff in, then on to somewhere else. Entertaining to watch but, sad. Looked like they were moving rather than just traveling. For the kids, it was probably an adventure, for her not so fun.

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Nov 4, 2018 #72

    BCL

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    Theoretically there's the $20 excess baggage fee.  An Amtrak employee might feel more comfortable just charging the fee rather than putting off a passenger or telling said passenger to abandon baggage.

    https://www.amtrak.com/onboard/baggage-policy/carry-on-baggage.html

    However, the big difficulty is in being able to handle that much.
     
  23. Nov 4, 2018 #73

    Ryan

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    Why?
     
  24. Nov 4, 2018 #74

    cpotisch

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    Interesting statement to make without giving any explanation.
     
  25. Nov 4, 2018 #75

    niemi24s

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    Sorry.  Poor wording on my part.  When saying "I, for one, certainly hope so." I was referring to stricter enforcement of the existing policy - not making the existing policy stricter. 
     

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