"No Checked Baggage" Designation

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"No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Rbts Stn » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:04 pm

I hang out on some TripAdvisor forums and am constantly seeing frustrated tourists planning trips in the NE Corridor (Boston/NYC/DC, mostly) trying to plan intercity travel on Amtrak but they come up against most trains and stations being designated as "No Checked Baggage", and they interpret this as "no bags at all".

Sure, they could click thru to the Checked Baggage page: https://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Satellit ... en=Baggage

and from there click thru to the Carryon Page: https://www.amtrak.com/carry-on-baggage

and figure out that you can actually take your big suitcases onboard, but after a few years of assuring visitors that "yes, you can bring your suitcase with you and store it at the end of the car or over your seat", I figured it was time to ask the experts here if they thought there could be a better way of stating that baggage on those trips is "self checked only"?

Like maybe changing "No Checked Baggage" to "Self Checked Baggage"?

Or if there's a reason they do it like this?
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Mar 07, 2017 12:16 pm

"Self-checked baggage" won't do it either, because the term "checked" usually means handing it off to someone.
"Carry-on baggage only" would seem better. If Amtrak would wake up and acknowledge the need for some trains to have checked baggage, THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, this ridiculously idiotic problem would dissipate. Not everyone is a business traveler on the NEC, as Amtrak once wrote to me when I complained about the situation.

OTOH, if they don't get many complaints from the riding public, the status quo will continue. Is is just a few, then, who would like to check baggage? And the lack of a fee seems odd in this day and age for checked baggage on a train.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:06 pm

It would not be hard to edit the timetables and the website to say "Each passenger may carry on two suitcases up to 50 lbs each and two smaller bags or personal items up to... This train does not offer checked baggage service."

The scheduling/reservations part of the website uses about the same wording and symbols as the public timetables. The timetables assume that you know that some trains carry checked baggage in baggage cars between certain stations, and that all cars have some sort of luggage space for full-sized suitcases that people carry on, and that all they need to tell you is which trains don't have checked baggage. That's probably not a reasonable assumption. The national and NE corridor timetables used to have a little description of checked baggage service, but most people didn't find their train by reading the whole national timetable even when it still got printed.

The ticket folders had all the pertinent information in a few paragraphs, back when there were ticket folders.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Rbts Stn » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:07 pm

They don't get complaints because these folks see the No Checked Baggage comment and look for Plan B. I see this every single week on the Boston and NYC forums (I live in one and I visit the other all the time so I hang out on both fora) and it usually goes "well, I can't take Amtrak since I can't take my luggage, so what are the bus options or should I rent a car?". The regulars reply explaining what Amtrak really means, but for each one who posts there, you know there are 9 others who just read the designation and go right to an alternative.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:01 pm

I'm curious. Do these same folks think "checked baggage" for airlines means no carry-ons?

I certainly wouldn't call it "self-checked baggage" because you're not checking it anyplace.

Simply, "No Checked Baggage, Carry-ons allowed" should be clear enough.

Or even, "We allow even BIGGER carry-ons than planes, and we don't grope you (for now)".
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:19 pm

Amtrak could even spin the lack of baggage car as an advantage -- no check-in, no waiting, just carry it on.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:38 pm

The Amtrak website calls the two full-sized suitcases you can take on board "carry ons". That's literally true, but it's not what anyone who's ever flown means by a carry-on. Luggage companies even advertise a particular size of bag as a carry-on. Amtrak should reword that part of it's policy. I think it used to say "two Pullman suitcases," which meant nothing to most people, but why don't they just say "two suitcases or bags up to 50 lbs and x x x dimensions"?

I noticed that the Amtrak policy page gives the weights in lbs and kg, but only gives the dimensions in English. That may be confusing a lot of foreign visitors who have even less sense of 22 inches than most Americans do. It would be easy to put the dimensions in cm as well.

So who's going to paste together all our wisdom and run down to DC to tell Amtrak?
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby mmi16 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:21 pm

I feel sorry for anyone schlepping two 50 pound suitcases from their vehicle arriving a station, getting them on and off a train as well as stowing them while on the train and then getting them from the train to a conveyance to depart their destination station.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Arborwayfan » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:07 pm

When I've travelled Amtrak with two 50 lb suitcases to carry on, I've parked or been picked up closer to the train than I have ever parked to the baggage check or baggage claim of an airport (Effingham, Champaign, Mattoon, Crawfordsville, Salt Lake City, Denver, Boston South Station). Also closer to the train than anyone could ever park to the bag check at, say, Chicago Union Station. And it's not too bad to move the big suitcases if they are on wheels.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby STrRedWolf » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:39 am

A 25 and a 45 pound suitcase here, on my first Baltimore to Pittsburgh trip. It was not fun, and I had to employ the RedCaps on the way back because frankly put, my screwed up eyesight has me second guessing escalators. With two bags, FERGEDABOUDIT!
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby Rbts Stn » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:03 pm

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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby jamesinclair » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:49 pm

I wonder if the solution is to ONLY mention checked bags where it is available, and not mention it where it isnt?

How many people actually expect to check bags?
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby BandA » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:38 pm

Naiive question - these non-checked bags, are they secured in any way?
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby AgentSkelly » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:45 am

BandA wrote:Naiive question - these non-checked bags, are they secured in any way?


You have them in the overhead rack or the luggage storage rack thats by vestibules.
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Re: "No Checked Baggage" Designation

Postby JoeBas » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:14 am

Arborwayfan wrote:The Amtrak website calls the two full-sized suitcases you can take on board "carry ons". That's literally true, but it's not what anyone who's ever flown means by a carry-on. Luggage companies even advertise a particular size of bag as a carry-on.


Exactly this. Put "Carryon Baggage Only" on there, and most folks who fly will STILL think they can't bring full-size suitcases that they plan to check once at the airport.
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