Amtrak

The Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train travels past the the San Clemente pier at sunset. Cheapair.com is offering Amtrak alternatives to airline reservations. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / May 22, 2012)

The Internet is jammed with travel websites to book airline flights. But the operators of CheapAir.com say they are the only air search site that gives travelers the option of booking a trip by rail.

Jeff Klee, chief executive of the Calabasas-based website, said the idea to add rail was initially aimed at East Coast travelers who might need to travel between Washington, D.C., and New York or Washington to Philadelphia. A trip on Amtrak between those destinations could cost less than a quarter of the price of a flight.

“We did it primarily for East Coast routes, where train travel is a real viable alternative,” he said.

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FOR THE RECORD:
Travel booking: An item in the Travel Briefcase column on the Monday Business page of the June 23 Section A said that CheapAir.com claimed to be the only air travel website to also offer booking services for rail travel. At least one other travel site, Hipmunk.com, also offers air and rail travel booking. —

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But Klee said Amtrak can also be an alternative for Southern Californians from San Diego to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.

What about adding express bus services or commuter rail lines to the search site?

“We are open to anything if it’s technically feasible,” Klee said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.