Amtrak will start selling tickets to 100% on May 23

Apr 2, 2021

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Amtrak will end blocked seats on its trains on May 23 and “will no longer be limiting capacity,” according to a website update and a company spokesperson.

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Amtrak has limited bookings on reserved trains (like the Northeast Regional) to allow for more social distancing in seating areas, but this will end the same week that Delta Air Lines, the last airline holdout, also announced that it would sell all seats to capacity. This new policy will apply to the Acela (business and first-class), business class on Northeast Regional, Vermonter, Carolinian and Palmetto trains.

On Wednesday, the Atlanta-based carrier confirmed that it’ll once again resume selling its flights to 100% capacity beginning on May 1, ending its year-long middle-seat block.

Related: Amtrak’s ambitious new route map

In recent months, Delta has extended the passenger-friendly policy in month-long increments. Now, armed with studies that suggest the risk of inflight transmission is low and combined with the rapidly growing vaccination rates, the airline believes that it’s time to end the seat block.

Amtrak says when customers are searching for travel, the percentage of seats sold displays next to each trip option and will adjust as customers make reservations. However, customers can book on a train that is less crowded, the company said.

Related: Amtrak’s new lounge

This update comes as Amtrak trolled the airline industry on Twitter on April Fools Day for not blocking seats.

Related: Amtrak’s new high-speed train cars 

Amtrak made several passenger-friendly updates during the pandemic, like changing its boarding methods in stations like Washington and New York Penn Station, which is notorious for overcrowding. Amtrak says it cleans high-touch surfaces frequently, provides hand sanitizer for customers and will close Penn Station between midnight and 5:00 a.m. for complete disinfection.

It also extended elite status and the expiration date on Amtrak Guest Rewards points and expanded reserved seating options for Acela business class customers.

Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.

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