Avanti Family Return

ys123

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Hi everyone

Are Avanti family tickets always available for any Avanti Manchester to London train, or is there limited availability per train?

Thanks
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Not seen this product. What is it exactly and how does it work?

Advance (return?) tickets for 2 x adults + 2 x children on certain Avanti trains?
 

CyrusWuff

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The Family ticket has been around for a while and is valid for a minimum of 1 Adult and 1 Child up to 2 Adults and 4 Children, with both Standard and First Class options being available.

Has to be booked by 23:59 the day before travel, with the outward journey being restricted to the booked train. For the return, you can opt for a specific train or, for a slight premium, a return that's open for a month with no time restrictions.

Quotas appear to be vanishingly small at present, however, as I just looked at a midweek Manchester to Euston journey for later this month and was only getting normal Advances and Off-Peak Returns.
 

ys123

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13 Dec 2015
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Manchester
Quotas appear to be vanishingly small at present, however, as I just looked at a midweek Manchester to Euston journey for later this month and was only getting normal Advances and Off-Peak Returns.
Same here, so that's why I was asking whether that is the case, or I wasnt searching correctly.

Thanks for the answer

Not seen this product. What is it exactly and how does it work?

Advance (return?) tickets for 2 x adults + 2 x children on certain Avanti trains?
 
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Mcr Warrior

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So are the prices supposedly the same for a given journey irrespective of whether there are two in the family group or six?
 

Deafdoggie

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I managed to use it once in Virgin Trains days, but it's all but impossible to find availability most of the time. Allegedly there's more availability in school holidays, but I've yet to find it.
 

Merseysider

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On a slight tangent... I notice alongside “AWC FAM RTN” on brfares, there are two fares entitled “THE BIG EASY” and “ON THE MOVE”, anyone got any idea what on earth these two are?
 

Mcr Warrior

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On a slight tangent... I notice alongside “AWC FAM RTN” on brfares, there are two fares entitled “THE BIG EASY” and “ON THE MOVE”, anyone got any idea what on earth these two are?
Call yourself a Fares Advisor?! :lol:

The "On the Move" product (assuming it's still available) looks to be a Standard Advance outward/Open return combi, presumably aimed at Business travellers, who might not know exactly when their return journey might be.

Anyone help with the other one. Presumably the "Big Easy" is nothing to do with New Orleans!

Simple ticketing, eh?
 

tspaul26

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On a slight tangent... I notice alongside “AWC FAM RTN” on brfares, there are two fares entitled “THE BIG EASY” and “ON THE MOVE”, anyone got any idea what on earth these two are?

Anyone help with the other one. Presumably the "Big Easy" is nothing to do with New Orleans!

‘The Big Easy’ is a corporate product. It shows up on our travel agency booking engine at work.

I believe it is issued (nominally) as a Standard Class return, but reservations are booked into First Class. Reservations are compulsory for the outward leg i.e. it’s like a combination of an Advance and the return portion of an Anytime Return.

@Bletchleyite normally detests such products!
 

Mcr Warrior

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Is this product some roundabout means of enabling business travellers to effectively travel in first class when their corporate expenses reimbursement policy would normally only allow standard class travel? :?:
 

tspaul26

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Is this product some roundabout means of enabling business travellers to effectively travel in first class when their corporate expenses reimbursement policy would normally only allow standard class travel? :?:
Yes and no.

It was generally quite competitive (and actually cheaper) for a lot of the journeys that I make up to London where I know which morning train I am catching, but not the return time.

When travelling on my own business then I can reduce costs more by various means, but I’d have a devil of a time trying to put those through expenses!
 

Bletchleyite

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‘The Big Easy’ is a corporate product. It shows up on our travel agency booking engine at work.

I believe it is issued (nominally) as a Standard Class return, but reservations are booked into First Class. Reservations are compulsory for the outward leg i.e. it’s like a combination of an Advance and the return portion of an Anytime Return.

@Bletchleyite normally detests such products!

I certainly do, it's called "expenses fraud", as it is a First Class ticket designed to be hidden as a Standard Class one so people can sneak it through no-First-Class expenses policies.

It's increasingly less viable to do this, though, as more and more companies have "cheapest fare on the required trains" policies which always catch this sort of thing out. You could argue that if an employer is so bad at writing policies they deserve this, but equally employment has to be a relationship of trust, and this sort of thing breaches that trust.

Obviously there are exceptions, like those odd times when a First Advance is cheaper than the Standard Anytime and there are no Standard Advances at the required time.
 

tspaul26

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It's increasingly less viable to do this, though, as more and more companies have "cheapest fare on the required trains" policies which always catch this sort of thing out.
Indeed.

Although my experience has been that these corporate products will often be cheaper than a STD Advance outbound plus a flexible STD (Anytime or Off-Peak) single on the return leg. In those circumstances, I don’t think there’s too much harm in them as they do save the company money overall (and would do so regardless of the First Class reservations fiddle).

My employer’s Head of Business Travel actually encourages us to use them even if cheaper fares could be had! She doesn’t like anything creative…

I agree that comparing the price of these tickets to a STD Anytime Return is not generally appropriate for most business travel.

Interestingly, I believe that they qualify for railcard discounts as they are not (on a technical level) First Class products.
 

Haywain

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I certainly do, it's called "expenses fraud", as it is a First Class ticket designed to be hidden as a Standard Class one so people can sneak it through no-First-Class expenses policies
When LNER sold something similar it was a standard class ticket with a complimentary upgrade to first class. The ticket showed it was a standard class ticket.
 

35B

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I certainly do, it's called "expenses fraud", as it is a First Class ticket designed to be hidden as a Standard Class one so people can sneak it through no-First-Class expenses policies.

It's increasingly less viable to do this, though, as more and more companies have "cheapest fare on the required trains" policies which always catch this sort of thing out. You could argue that if an employer is so bad at writing policies they deserve this, but equally employment has to be a relationship of trust, and this sort of thing breaches that trust.

Obviously there are exceptions, like those odd times when a First Advance is cheaper than the Standard Anytime and there are no Standard Advances at the required time.
Excessively tight policies fray that trust to breaking point in the first place, and I've certainly known circumstances where managers have authorised "off policy" use of first class travel but been very happy to have a ticket like this that avoids the need to involve the expenses department in the discussion.
 

Bletchleyite

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Excessively tight policies fray that trust to breaking point in the first place, and I've certainly known circumstances where managers have authorised "off policy" use of first class travel but been very happy to have a ticket like this that avoids the need to involve the expenses department in the discussion.

I don't think "no First Class unless it's cheaper than the Standard fare applicable to the trains you need" is excessively tight.

(note: I think buying a First Advance on the pretext that it's cheaper than a Standard Anytime when Standard Advances exist is very sharp practice - if you need flexibility only the flexible fares are relevant)
 

jfollows

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(note: I think buying a First Advance on the pretext that it's cheaper than a Standard Anytime when Standard Advances exist is very sharp practice - if you need flexibility only the flexible fares are relevant)
Off-topic a bit, I know ... but I agree with you.
I went through a phase with my last employer of buying First Advance tickets and printing off and claiming the Standard Advance fare available at the time of booking my ticket. It just seemed the reasonable thing to do at the time. I didn't get any complaints from them at the time either.

PS I only stopped doing this because my employer changed its policies for other reasons, and it became too complicated to do what I'd been doing under the new rules. I generally changed to using and claiming standard open return tickets and paying to upgrade to first class myself.
 
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