Amtrak Customers Can Now Book Trains Based on How Full They Are

The feature is designed to help travelers make informed decisions while booking trains.

passengers walking toward an Amtrak train
Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Amtrak will now allow customers to see how full trains are when they are booking online and through the mobile app, the company shared with Travel + Leisure.

The new update will allow customers to see the percentage of seats that have been booked in real time and choose their train accordingly.

The percentage shown is based on full train capacity, an Amtrak spokeswoman told T+L, and while the company is currently limiting bookings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spokeswoman was unable to specify what capacity trains are currently capped at, adding they vary from train to train.

“Prioritizing health and safety, we continue to provide customers with new, innovative measures that promote physical distancing and contactless travel,” Amtrak’s President and CEO Bill Flynn told T+L in a statement. “We have studied, analyzed, and made improvements to the Amtrak travel experience — from beginning to end — for the safety and health of our workforce and travelers.”

When booking, solo travelers would typically get an empty seat next to them while those who are traveling together can find seats next to each other, the company noted.

The update follows several initiatives the company has taken to promote safe travel during the pandemic, including requiring employees and customers to wear face masks and equipping trains with onboard filtration systems. In August, Amtrak started allowing Acela business class customers to reserve seating in advance at no extra cost in an effort to promote social distancing and make customers feel safe while on board.

In addition, earlier this month, Amtrak partnered with the cleaning brand Lysol to use their EPA-approved disinfectant solutions, including products certified to be proven effective against COVID-19, as well as work with their microbiologists on disinfection protocols.

Amtrak also offers private rooms and roomettes, giving travelers the option to limit their contact with others while enjoying the chance to take in the scenery at a slower pace than flying — and the opportunity to visit several national parks in the process.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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