Advance fares getting cheaper?

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MrsC

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Checked the price from Inverness to peterborough a few weeks ago,it was well over £100,now it's £60...confused...
 
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dzug2

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Was the 'well over £100' actually an advance fare? Or just a full price ticket to be purchased in advance?
 

moonrakerz

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Same date ? Same train ? Same everything ?

But..........there seems to be a growing suspicion that the cheapest Advance fares are not always released first.
 

MrsC

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It was an advance fare :) and the same everything, I've been stalking the east coast website to get the cheapest..

If I buy them at this price they can't tell me I need to pay more can they?

I called and they said on theirs the cheapest for 2 adults and 1 child is over £100..I know my maths is rubbish but thats more than 10% right?x
 

yorkie

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I'd need much more information to possibly comment (such as the date/time of travel, origin & destination).

The price is subject to availability and change and is not guaranteed until you've paid and the merchant has confirmed the sale. Then both parties have agreed the contract.

Note that anyone can put tickets in their basket for up to around 3 hours, and if a purchase is not made within that period, the tickets go back to being on sale.
 

MrsC

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All of the trains for that day are the same price...

Its Inverness-Peterborough train leaving at 6.47,changing at edinburgh..2 adults,1 child travelling on sat 23rd June.
 

yorkie

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Who did you call?

The 'normal' price is £102.50, however this is reduced to £67.65 on the EC website only

If you called EC then, while the price was right, they should really have told you about the online discount.

http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/special-offers/standard-live-pages/3plus/

If you called Thetrainline or someone other than EC then I'd expect them to be useless and be happy for you to pay the extra £34.85 without telling you it's cheaper online.
 

MrsC

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Called EC telesales...yeah thats what I meant,sorry if I didn't make myself clear,on the website the advance fare was showing as over £100-now its the cheaper one..I was under the impression that the cheaper tickets went as they were sold,but it seems to be the other way..
 

MrsC

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If it's advertised at the lower price I'm going to book them tomorrow :) they can't ask me to pay more once I've purchased them can they?
 

yorkie

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A F&F Railcard will reduce the price slightly yes (by around £9 if booked online).

The price may go up before you purchase. As I said above, once you've paid (and not before then ) and the merchant has confirmed the sale it is then confirmed and both parties have agreed the contract.

There is absolutely no reason to believe EC would not honour this contract, on the contrary EC are very good at honouring contracts even when 'mistakes' occur (there is no evidence of a mistake here).
 

MrsC

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so it could just be,as someone said earlier,that the cheapest advance fares aren't always released first?
 

DaveNewcastle

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. . . they can't ask me to pay more once I've purchased them can they?
No!

(not unless you travel on a train which isn't the train you're booked on of course!)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
so it could just be,as someone said earlier,that the cheapest advance fares aren't always released first?
Usually. But not always.
 

MrsC

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Ahh I'll be getting the one we are booked on :) 8 hour train journey is not fun,I want to get home as early as I can :)
 

Deerfold

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so it could just be,as someone said earlier,that the cheapest advance fares aren't always released first?
Did you check both times on the same website? Only the East Coast website will give you the discount for 3 people travelling together.
 

MrsC

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yep,both times were on the east coast website.

The only other one's I've ever used are Scotrail(for the bargain berths) and Greater Anglia(which oddly showed as trainline.com on my bank statement...) x
 

calc7

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Same date ? Same train ? Same everything ?

But..........there seems to be a growing suspicion that the cheapest Advance fares are not always released first.
I repeatedly checked the same journey over a couple of weeks (London Kings Cross to Huddersfield) whilst deciding which ticket to buy. I finally ended up purchasing an £18 Advance on a peak-time train out of KGX just before Easter.

It's impossible that somebody had it "in their basket" all that time, so I'm clueless as to how this cheap ticket appeared when all I was seeing before was £30+.
 

moonrakerz

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I repeatedly checked the same journey over a couple of weeks (London Kings Cross to Huddersfield) whilst deciding which ticket to buy. I finally ended up purchasing an £18 Advance on a peak-time train out of KGX just before Easter.

It's impossible that somebody had it "in their basket" all that time, so I'm clueless as to how this cheap ticket appeared when all I was seeing before was £30+.
.....as I said, "a growing suspicion"............
 

trainophile

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I'm still on the case with this (all detailed on my thread a couple of weeks ago, if anyone can find it).

Hereford to Southport 2nd July, cheapest Advance fare with Senior Railcard was £13.85 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Yesterday I was able to buy it for £8.60, could have had a choice of a dozen trains on various routes. The £13.85 was on ALL trains listed under Advance from the day they first appeared, apart from the odd peak(ish) time ones which were dearer still.

Definitely either a glitch in the system somewhere, or a calculated move to withhold the cheapest tickets until those waiting impatiently, anxious for Advances to appear for their travel dates, have jumped in and bought at the higher rate.
 

HowMuch?

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I've started to see if I can find who is sticking to the line that the cheapest tickets go on sale first.

Results so far. These quotes are from sites where tickets are actually sold, so the words surely must count as some kind of promise, and not be dismissed as 'mere marketing twaddle' with no legal consequence. Not that I'm in favour of allowing companies to get away with misleading words, even when some people would disregard them twaddle-wise.

- East Coast website (Travel Information/General Ticket Information)
"For the best deals, and the widest choice, it pays to buy your ticket as far ahead of travelling as possible"
Wrong on two counts (not just an Advances-tier issue here). Do they really mean to encourage people to buy OffPeak or Anytime tickets before Advances go on sale. Surely a cock-up rather than a conspiracy, though.

-Virgin website (Ticket Offers/Ways to Save)
"The further in advance you book, the more you save (up to 3 months)."
At least they are limiting the promise to Advances.

-CrossCountry website (Tickets and Timetables/How to find cheap fares)
"As a general rule the more you plan and book in advance, the more you'll save. Advance tickets go quickly though, so to ensure you get the best deal on train tickets make sure you buy 12 weeks in advance of your departure date as this is when most new tickets are released."
Apart from the weasel-word 'general' this at least appears to be intended to refer just to Advances.


Any contributions from other TOC sites?


Before the usual fanboys:) say that at least some companies release all Tier 1 tickets first and are therefore justified in saying "Book ASAP", remember that TOC sites sell tickets for all TOCs. The ones above (at least) don't limit the "buy early" message to their own tickets.
 

Skymonster

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Some TOCs not releasing their cheapest Advance fares first suggests to me that maybe they are beginning to move towards a level of sophistication in revenue management that hasn't been noticable in the industry up to now. Releasing a fare that they think will sell, and then later introducing a lower fare if the previous higher fare not be selling as well as expected, is a tactic sometimes employed by the airline industry.

I have no direct information to suggest that this is actually what some TOCs have started to do, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were doing so. Moving from a simplistic tier 1 allocation, tier 2 allocation, etc to more dynamic demand-based pricing wouldn't be a bad thing for the TOCs, but would introduce a new level of complexity for customers used to the existing simplistic model rather than airline-style dynamic pricing.
As long as the TOCs are not misleadingly advising passengers that the cheapest fares are always available first, I see nothing wrong and it'd be a logical step towards more optimised revenue management / maximisation.

Andy
 

lemonic

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Some TOCs not releasing their cheapest Advance fares first suggests to me that maybe they are beginning to move towards a level of sophistication in revenue management that hasn't been noticable in the industry up to now. Releasing a fare that they think will sell, and then later introducing a lower fare if the previous higher fare not be selling as well as expected, is a tactic sometimes employed by the airline industry.

I have no direct information to suggest that this is actually what some TOCs have started to do, but it wouldn't surprise me if they were doing so. Moving from a simplistic tier 1 allocation, tier 2 allocation, etc to more dynamic demand-based pricing wouldn't be a bad thing for the TOCs, but would introduce a new level of complexity for customers used to the existing simplistic model rather than airline-style dynamic pricing.
As long as the TOCs are not misleadingly advising passengers that the cheapest fares are always available first, I see nothing wrong and it'd be a logical step towards more optimised revenue management / maximisation.

Andy
I personally disagree with it. Currently if you book when Advance tickets come on sale you are theoretically going to get the cheapest price. I think most people would find it rather annoying if the price then went down a month later.

With airlines, tickets generally go on sale many months in advance so customers probably aren't ready to book as soon as tickets go on sale so they won't know if they have the cheapest price or not. With train tickets, many customers are ready to book when tickets go on sale, so there are differences.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Some TOCs not releasing their cheapest Advance fares first suggests to me that maybe they are beginning to move towards a level of sophistication in revenue management that hasn't been noticable in the industry up to now. . . .
That is my understanding.

It is probably a much more effective strategy for managing over-crowding and under-utilised capacity than the traditional 'released all in one go' method of releasing Advance tickets, and which has simply been overlooked until recently.
There is certainly no reason why TOCs cannot and should not offer seats in this way.

I expect passengers quickly may become accustomed to the technique too, with some cheaper fares becoming available at shorter notice than hitherto, while the '12 weeks in advance' booking horizon will become less crucial in diary planning. In fact, its noticable how many 'new' posters on here never realised that the established '12-week booking horizon' even existed.

The legacy of Advertising announcements which entrench the "all at once" approach to the release of tickets will have to change, though. And soon as such claims can claerly be seen to be innacurate.

I personally disagree with it.
Its not at all clear what you are personally disagreeing with. The rest of your post refers to other people' annoyance and to airline tickets. I'm also unclear what is annoying about finding cheaper tickets closer to the date of travel than at present (unless of course you had convinced yourself that they wouldn't become available closer to the date of travel).

I'll have to add, that I do look forward to opportunities to find low-priced tickets which may become available for journeys booked nearer to the date of travel, and I'd happier if TOCs were doing more to fill some more of their unused capacity.
 
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Failed Unit

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The recent east coast web session did state that with the exceptions of promotions the cheapest tickets are always sold first. I got caught out recently when I booked the cheapest Edinburgh - London ticket in 1st when the bookings open the the £25 offer came along but that's life.

I did have a game of cat and mouse on TPE once, where a cheaper train appeared on my second viewing, but that would make sense that someone had it in thier basket.

I don't think I have personally experienced anything to suggest that prices get cheaper (at least on east coast) I have often had to split when a connecting operators quota had gone. Not sure if Scotrail only have X east coast and connection space on thier reservable services.
 

island

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At least the list of possible fares is public knowledge for any given flow so you can know if the fare you're being offered is the lowest possible tier for that journey.
 

calc7

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At least the list of possible fares is public knowledge for any given flow so you can know if the fare you're being offered is the lowest possible tier for that journey.
Agreed, but still doesn't help when being offered Tier 3 continually then a Tier 2 somehow appears days later!
 

Failed Unit

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At least the list of possible fares is public knowledge for any given flow so you can know if the fare you're being offered is the lowest possible tier for that journey.
They sort of do, on the east coast booking engine it give fares between x and y. The trainline based engines used to with no option to click on if it was not available. This was removed following customer feedback. People didn't want to see a £5 far was available if they can't use it!
 

lemonic

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Its not at all clear what you are personally disagreeing with. The rest of your post refers to other people' annoyance and to airline tickets. I'm also unclear what is annoying about finding cheaper tickets closer to the date of travel than at present (unless of course you had convinced yourself that they wouldn't become available closer to the date of travel).

I'll have to add, that I do look forward to opportunities to find low-priced tickets which may become available for journeys booked nearer to the date of travel, and I'd happier if TOCs were doing more to fill some more of their unused capacity.
Say I am ready to book tickets 2 months in advance and tickets are available at Tier 3. (Assume Tier 4 is more expensive than Tier 3 which is more expensive than Tier 2.) Do I book tickets at Tier 3 now? A week later more tickets could have been sold and the price could have increased to Tier 4; conversely the price could have decreased to Tier 2. This could be a common dilemma if it becomes the norm for prices to decrease after tickets come on sale.

If the same number of tickets are available at the same tiers as now then adding more tickets to lower tiers at a later date due to low sales is no bad thing. However, what I suspect is more likely is that less tickets (possibly none from the lowest tiers) will be available from the lower tiers in the first place and then tickets only added to these tiers if some trains have unusually few tickets sold on them. This is what I object to.
 
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