What happens when you miss your Amtrak train: Understanding the Amtrak cancellation policy

Amtrak, the national railroad service in the United States, provides convenient and reliable transportation for millions of passengers each year. However, life is unpredictable, and there may be times when you miss your scheduled Amtrak train. In such circumstances, it is important to understand Amtrak’s cancellation policy and what options are available to you.

Amtrak cancellation policy explained.

Amtrak has a well-defined cancellation policy that outlines the rules and procedures for missing trains. The policy varies depending on the type of ticket you have and the specific circumstances of your situation.

Your Amtrak train is missing.

If you find yourself running late or unable to make it to your scheduled departure, it is important to notify Amtrak as soon as possible. Contact their customer service or station agent to inform them of the situation and provide any relevant information, such as your reservation details and the reason for the missing train.

Amtrak engine
Photo by Jonathan Lee

Ticket flexibility

Amtrak offers a variety of ticket types, each with different levels of flexibility. Understanding your ticket type is important to determining your options when you miss your train. While some tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable, others may allow changes or provide partial refunds.

No Show Policy

If you miss your train without notifying Amtrak in advance, it is usually considered a “no show.” Amtrak’s policy for no-shows depends on the fare type. Non-refundable tickets, including saver fares, are generally not eligible for refunds or rescheduling. However, flexible tickets, such as value or flexible fares, can offer more flexible options.

Standby Travel

In some cases, Amtrak may allow passengers to travel on a later train on a standby basis. Standby travel means you can board the next train with available seats without buying a new ticket. However, standby options are subject to availability and may incur additional charges or fees.

Amtrak trains

Rescheduling and Rebooking

If you have a flexible ticket, Amtrak may allow you to reschedule or rebook your trip without incurring a significant penalty. However, it is important to note that availability on alternative trains is not guaranteed, especially during peak travel periods. It is advisable to contact Amtrak as soon as possible to explore your options and make the necessary arrangements.

Refunds and Fees

For tickets that are eligible for a refund, Amtrak may charge a cancellation fee or deduct a percentage from the refund amount. Specific refund policies vary based on ticket type, fare rules, and time of cancellation. It is recommended that you review the terms and conditions of your ticket or consult with Amtrak Customer Service to understand any applicable fees or refund eligibility.


While missing your Amtrak train can be a frustrating experience, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Amtrak’s cancellation policy to make the most informed decisions. Remember to check with Amtrak immediately, especially if you have a flexible ticket, as they may offer alternative options or accommodate your travel needs. By understanding the policies and taking the necessary steps, you can minimize the impact of missing your train and continue your journey with Amtrak with ease.