Amtrak Looks to Boost Checked Baggage Revenue

Having seen how the airline industry annually rakes in $3.3 billion from checked baggage fees, Amtrak is trying to boost its own baggage revenue.

Effective Oct. 15, Amtrak will begin charging $20 per bag for luggage that exceeds the carrier’s weight and size limitations.

Amtrak allows passengers to bring aboard without charge two personal items that each must weigh no more than 25 pounds or exceed the dimensions of 14-by-11-by 17 inches.

Passengers are also allowed two carry-on items, each of which must not exceed 50 pounds or the dimensions of 28-by-22-by-14 inches.

Under the new policy, bags over 50 pounds must be repacked in a box to be provided at a station if checked baggage is available or, if possible, on onboard the train.

If checked baggage service is available at the passenger’s origination and destination point, the passengers must check baggage that exceeds the size and weight limitations.

A post on Trainorders.com, contained internal Amtrak documents showing that airlines make an average of $8.75 per bag.

Amtrak, which handles 4 million checked bags annually, earns an average of 29 cents per bag

The report cited U.S. Department of Transportation statistics that showed that during the first nine months of 2015 Southwest Airlines, which markets itself with the slogan “Bags Fly Free,” earned $117 million in checked baggage fees.

Amtrak earns $693,000 a year in checked baggage revenue.

The DOT statistics said that 83 percent of all airlines charge for all checked bags.

By its projections, Amtrak believes that if 10 percent of checked bags were charged, the potential revenue would be $8 million. If 25 percent of checked bags were charged, the potential revenue would be $20 million.

Currently, Amtrak charges for just 0.9 percent of the checked baggage that it carries.

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