Amtrak Launches New Ultralow Fares. Is There a Catch?

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According to an Amtrak news release, the new Saver Fares use rail journeys for “deeply discounted” rates beginning at just $9.

Is there a catch? Yes, however the constraints Amtrak is imposing on its least expensive fares sound downright indulgent compared to the airlines’ policies.

With a Saver Fare, you can’t make changes or upgrades, and after 24 hours, you can’t cancel and get your cash back.

Amtrak guests can still check bags for complimentary (with this and any other fare), and legroom is sufficient on trains to avoid the sort of battles over reclining seats that have actually ended up being basic in the skies.

Amtrak is checking out its own variation of a Basic Economy fare.

In flight, that type of ticket opts for fairly low rates but features a number of restrictions. To name a few of the most bothersome: You can’t select your seat in advance, you can’t cancel or upgrade, and, on some carriers such as United Airlines, you can’t stash your carry-on in the overhead compartment.

Beginning on March 1, Amtrak is releasing a comparable– but, if you ask us, much more attractive– rates design for a few of its trains.

Given the potential for big savings with only minor inconveniences, we’re certainly on board with Amtrak’s strategy.

In the beginning, Saver Fares will just be offered in Florida and other parts of the Southeast, however growth to other parts of the country is a possibility. “We will have a better sense of timing for additional decreases after we introduce the initial low Saver Fares,” an Amtrak spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times.

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