Avanti West Coast: Standard Premium

jfollows

Member
Joined
26 Feb 2011
Messages
904
Location
Wilmslow
I am still a Civil Servant. They are increasingly pushing hard on the use of Advanced tickets (at least one way if the time of end of business is uncertain).
Good luck.
My finding was that there was little saving to be made on an advance ticket on the up 06:59 from Wilmslow to London anyway, and I wasn't prepared to hang around until the down 19:40 return on an advance ticket for the journey home to save money. But doubtless someone has been given an "incentive" to save money and spotted an opportunity here.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
1,124
MPs are allowed to travel first class if it's cheaper than Standard (not quite sure what, if any, restrictions on ticket types apply). Civil Servants are not. Do as we say, not as we do....

Yes. I had a lengthy email exchange with IPSO about it, where their view was “anything up to the cost of a standard class open ticket” and mine was “the cheapest ticket you can buy for your journey as it’s our money your spending”. Needless to say, they refused to entertain my point of view.

Oddly enough, it’s another example of the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, which seems to be flavour of the month at the moment
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
61,371
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Yes. I had a lengthy email exchange with IPSO about it, where their view was “anything up to the cost of a standard class open ticket” and mine was “the cheapest ticket you can buy for your journey as it’s our money your spending”. Needless to say, they refused to entertain my point of view.

Oddly enough, it’s another example of the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, which seems to be flavour of the month at the moment

It sort-of is - my experience is that "the cheapest available ticket on the required trains" is now specified in many cases, sometimes even requiring a specific window either side.
 

jfollows

Member
Joined
26 Feb 2011
Messages
904
Location
Wilmslow
Yes. I had a lengthy email exchange with IPSO about it, where their view was “anything up to the cost of a standard class open ticket” and mine was “the cheapest ticket you can buy for your journey as it’s our money your spending”. Needless to say, they refused to entertain my point of view.

Oddly enough, it’s another example of the letter of the law vs the spirit of the law, which seems to be flavour of the month at the moment
I don't disagree with you, but it's never quite that clear is it?

I was always conscious of the fact that I was spending taxpayers' money.

I ran a procurement for £37.5 million, nothing special, many people did likewise. I tried to ensure that I got the best result for the taxpayer.

But if I'd been annoyed into "saving" £50 on a train fare in the process, failed to prepare for a meeting properly, and so on, maybe this could have been a false saving? It didn't happen, and it wasn't, but who knows?
 

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
2,477
I don't disagree with you, but it's never quite that clear is it?

I was always conscious of the fact that I was spending taxpayers' money.

I ran a procurement for £37.5 million, nothing special, many people did likewise. I tried to ensure that I got the best result for the taxpayer.

But if I'd been annoyed into "saving" £50 on a train fare in the process, failed to prepare for a meeting properly, and so on, maybe this could have been a false saving? It didn't happen, and it wasn't, but who knows?
I know of cases where they tried to nickle and dime on flights for overseas trips and the UK ended up without representation because our world-class expert quite rightly told them to shove it....
 

Skie

Member
Joined
22 Dec 2008
Messages
437
Depends on the department. Ours takes great pains to get you to use the cheapest possible tickets but doesn’t explicitly say you must, and we’ve been able to justify 1st when it occasionally works out cheaper than Standard. Best instance was when 1st worked out about £1,500 cheaper for a group (before considering the saving on subsistence costs for 3 meals), which was a no-brainier to get approved.

But the best way to save money would be for there to be a CS wide platform that aggregates bookings across departments and does a group booking on their behalf. Can’t count the times I’ve been on a train and seen 5+ recognisable faces, never mind people from other departments.
 

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
2,477
Depends on the department. Ours takes great pains to get you to use the cheapest possible tickets but doesn’t explicitly say you must, and we’ve been able to justify 1st when it occasionally works out cheaper than Standard. Best instance was when 1st worked out about £1,500 cheaper for a group (before considering the saving on subsistence costs for 3 meals), which was a no-brainier to get approved.

But the best way to save money would be for there to be a CS wide platform that aggregates bookings across departments and does a group booking on their behalf. Can’t count the times I’ve been on a train and seen 5+ recognisable faces, never mind people from other departments.
I've worked in several depts which have all, after Francis Maude got to work, had similarly half-assed policies.
 

Mogz

Member
Joined
20 May 2019
Messages
319
Here’s a radical alternative.

You have Standard Class and First Class. The fares do not include any extra food or drink.

This would therefore standardise the offer across operators, which currently vary.

THEN

In between First and Standard Class you have an additional carriage for those who want a meal, set out in a First Class seating arrangement.

You could call it a “Restaurant Car”.

Those with First Class tickets would be welcome to stay for the journey if they so wish. Those with Standard Class tickets would be required to return to Standard when they have finished eating.

Oops- just remembered... GNER used to do this.

It must have not worked for some reason....
 

Kite159

Veteran Member
Joined
27 Jan 2014
Messages
14,241
Location
West of Andover
Here’s a radical alternative.

You have Standard Class and First Class. The fares do not include any extra food or drink.

This would therefore standardise the offer across operators, which currently vary.

THEN

In between First and Standard Class you have an additional carriage for those who want a meal, set out in a First Class seating arrangement.

You could call it a “Restaurant Car”.

Those with First Class tickets would be welcome to stay for the journey if they so wish. Those with Standard Class tickets would be required to return to Standard when they have finished eating.

Oops- just remembered... GNER used to do this.

It must have not worked for some reason....

Sounds a bit like the Pullman offering on GWR. (In a pre Covid world)
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
7,598
I would prefer paying for a decent meal onboard. I've not tried the GWR Pullman but seems popular.
 

Journeyman

Established Member
Joined
16 Apr 2014
Messages
4,380
I would prefer paying for a decent meal onboard. I've not tried the GWR Pullman but seems popular.
National Express messed a lot up when they ran East Coast, but during their tenure I did a full length trip from Inverness to London in First, and they did a very nice range of paid for at-seat meals at the time. Given the length of the journey, I had both breakfast and lunch, and they were both really good. I'd love something like that back. LNER's complimentary offering is very mean in comparison, only the breakfast is any good.
 

voyagerdude220

Established Member
Joined
13 Oct 2005
Messages
2,648
LNER's complimentary offering is very mean in comparison, only the breakfast is any good.

That's just how I feel about Avanti's First Class offer. (pre-Covid)

I really like their cooked breakfasts (although I remember having smoked salmon and scrambled egg a while ago and being particularly disappointed by the tiny volume of smoked salmon offered.)

But their hot evening meals are very poor in my opinion.
 

30907

Established Member
Joined
30 Sep 2012
Messages
10,050
Location
Airedale
Here’s a radical alternative.

You have Standard Class and First Class. The fares do not include any extra food or drink.

This would therefore standardise the offer across operators, which currently vary.

THEN

In between First and Standard Class you have an additional carriage for those who want a meal, set out in a First Class seating arrangement.

You could call it a “Restaurant Car”.

Those with First Class tickets would be welcome to stay for the journey if they so wish. Those with Standard Class tickets would be required to return to Standard when they have finished eating.

Oops- just remembered... GNER used to do this.

It must have not worked for some reason....
It required 17 (IIRC) seats set aside for the purpose which couldn't be reserved, with implications for revenue (especially as catering doesn't make a profit AFAIK).
I'd love something like that back. LNER's complimentary offering is very mean in comparison, only the breakfast is any good.
I would rate LNER's all-day offering as decent and dinner as good - but this is OT.
 

Vespa

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
483
Location
Merseyside
I would prefer paying for a decent meal onboard. I've not tried the GWR Pullman but seems popular.
I have and it's very good, its also pricey but worth it, I did it more for my bucket list experiences. If I recall with starter, main, sweets and 2 wine it set me back by £55 ish for the meal alone, my first class ticket was separate.

A first class coach was set aside for it.

If I do Avanti first class with meals, it would be a lot cheaper as I can he my railcard discount.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
61,371
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
That's just how I feel about Avanti's First Class offer. (pre-Covid)

I really like their cooked breakfasts (although I remember having smoked salmon and scrambled egg a while ago and being particularly disappointed by the tiny volume of smoked salmon offered.)

But their hot evening meals are very poor in my opinion.

I find most of them are like a taster menu and I'd need to take something on to go with it. I'd rather pay for a full-sized meal (or have nowt and a cheaper ticket) - though I find the quality fine and have no issue with the "microwave meal on a proper plate" idea DB use in their Bistro.

The old weekend snack boxes were even more pointless.
 

Butts

Established Member
Joined
16 Jan 2011
Messages
9,409
I find most of them are like a taster menu and I'd need to take something on to go with it. I'd rather pay for a full-sized meal (or have nowt and a cheaper ticket) - though I find the quality fine and have no issue with the "microwave meal on a proper plate" idea DB use in their Bistro.

The old weekend snack boxes were even more pointless.

To me the biggest attraction was the Complimentary Spirits , three or four of them each way can knock a fair wedge off the perceived cost of the ticket.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
61,371
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
To me the biggest attraction was the Complimentary Spirits , three or four of them each way can knock a fair wedge off the perceived cost of the ticket.

I tended to find West Coast crews to be a bit stingy. East Coast, on the other hand, I've had stewards who seemed to be trying to get me drunk...sure you don't want another one, sir, you can have two if you want? :D
 

takno

Established Member
Joined
9 Jul 2016
Messages
2,661
To me the biggest attraction was the Complimentary Spirits , three or four of them each way can knock a fair wedge off the perceived cost of the ticket.
Last time I did that I flew back hand-luggage only and had to donate my expensively acquired miniatures to my brother who I was staying with
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
7,598
That's just how I feel about Avanti's First Class offer. (pre-Covid)

I really like their cooked breakfasts (although I remember having smoked salmon and scrambled egg a while ago and being particularly disappointed by the tiny volume of smoked salmon offered.)

But their hot evening meals are very poor in my opinion.
I have found the breakfasts have shrunk on both LNER and Avanti. One has dropped Black pudding too. Not end of the world as most important thing is getting there.
 

philosopher

Member
Joined
23 Sep 2015
Messages
352
I have found the breakfasts have shrunk on both LNER and Avanti. One has dropped Black pudding too. Not end of the world as most important thing is getting there.
Avanti‘s breakfast is definitely better than GWR which was just small snack like a croissant, tea or coffee and an orange juice. Admittedly for GWR this was some years ago.
 

YorksLad12

Member
Joined
5 Feb 2020
Messages
475
Location
Leeds
I tended to find West Coast crews to be a bit stingy. East Coast, on the other hand, I've had stewards who seemed to be trying to get me drunk...sure you don't want another one, sir, you can have two if you want? :D
Happy days of being given (not offered, given) an extra can of Magners on the way home (slipped into my bag for later enjoyment). Or being cajoled into a glass of wine with my lunch... an LNER lunch, which is basically a sandwich and bag of crisps!

I think a UK-wide First Class taste test is in order once we are allowed to travel 'properly' again, and it would be interesting to see how different operators do First rather than me just assuming it should all be like LNER or all like XC.
 

Vespa

Member
Joined
20 Dec 2019
Messages
483
Location
Merseyside
I think a UK-wide First Class taste test is in order once we are allowed to travel 'properly' again, and it would be interesting to see how different operators do First rather than me just assuming it should all be like LNER or all like XC.

There was one such website doing just that, it needs to be updated as some franchises has changed ownership since like Virgin to Avanti for example.

Heres the link, it's an interesting read :)
 

riceuten

Member
Joined
23 May 2018
Messages
105
In the dying days of BR and possibly the early days of VTWC, there was Silver Standard, which was introduced on 1st February 1988 on eight key business trains on the London - Liverpool route. All passengers paying for a full price Standard Class ticket were eligible for “Silver Standard Service”. This included: "exclusive" carriages, special menus, at seat service, seat reservation and complimentary light breakfast or afternoon tea. (and a "Silver Standard" paper antimaccassar - woo, and indeed hoo).

The similar new mid market offering is probably aimed at a swiftly disappearing clientele. I'd be suprised if it lasts.

1610897979616.png
 

Trackman

Established Member
Joined
28 Feb 2013
Messages
1,223
Location
Lewisham
I tended to find West Coast crews to be a bit stingy. East Coast, on the other hand, I've had stewards who seemed to be trying to get me drunk...sure you don't want another one, sir, you can have two if you want? :D
It's just gone slowly down hill on the west coast, Avanti are really being stingy, well the last time I travelled pre-covid.
I remember when VT took over, it was free booze at weekends on a upgrade! The steward told me it was a short term measure as they wanted to get rid of the 'West Coast' booze they had inherited. It really was a free-for-all. He even offered me a full 70cl bottle of wine to take home!
 

vlad

Member
Joined
13 May 2018
Messages
594
That's just how I feel about Avanti's First Class offer. (pre-Covid)

I really like their cooked breakfasts (although I remember having smoked salmon and scrambled egg a while ago and being particularly disappointed by the tiny volume of smoked salmon offered.)

But their hot evening meals are very poor in my opinion.

No change from Virgin, then!
 
Joined
1 Feb 2017
Messages
950
It's just gone slowly down hill on the west coast, Avanti are really being stingy, well the last time I travelled pre-covid.
I remember when VT took over, it was free booze at weekends on a upgrade! The steward told me it was a short term measure as they wanted to get rid of the 'West Coast' booze they had inherited. It really was a free-for-all. He even offered me a full 70cl bottle of wine to take home!

It has been known that the Scottish crews are probably the best when it comes to the at seat service, they aren’t very stingy at all.

I did once get a bit merry on a London - Birmingham in first class, where one of the catering hosts (she was rather grumpy) gave me a few glasses of some very strong red wine.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
61,371
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
It has been known that the Scottish crews are probably the best when it comes to the at seat service, they aren’t very stingy at all.

I did once get a bit merry on a London - Birmingham in first class, where one of the catering hosts (she was rather grumpy) gave me a few glasses of some very strong red wine.

Booze aside, I've long wondered why they don't invest in some teapots and cafetieres, which would mean you get more tea/coffee and it's easier to serve it so probably cheaper in staff-utilisation terms (and dead classy, too).
 

Top