Published on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Amtrak embraces airline style fares

Rail operator Amtrak plans to follow the airline revenue management playbook.

It is adding airline-style restrictions like fees to change tickets less than 14 days before departure and non-refundable fares.

A new fare structure comes in on March 1.

It is unsurprising given Amtrak's CEO is ex-Delta Air Lines chief executive Richard Anderson.

The rail operator says the restrictions allow it to offer cheaper 'Saver' fares but has no immediate plans to start charging for bags.

Customers wishing to cancel a 'Value' fare face paying a 25% penalty or a 15% for changes made within two weeks of the departure.

The fare structure change will make 'the very lowest fares even lower' says Amtrak's chief marketing and revenue officer Roger Harris.

"In other words, once you buy it, you use it or you lose it," Harris said.

The company says it expects the new change and cancellation fees to bring in about $10 million a year.

Flexible, business and Acela First-Class Premium ticket holders will continue to get full refunds and can make changes free of charge.

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