Avanti with a bike

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
591
Booked Preston to Glasgow in early October, taking my bike. Booked online with no issues at all, and got the confirmation email with everything correct - tickets, seat reservations, bike place reserved.

Went to collect the tickets from my local station and the machine said there were 3 tickets to print, and it duly printed 1 of 3, 2 of 3, and 3 of 3. When I checked them, they’re outbound return and collection receipt and none of them mention the bike reservation

When I got home I checked their website and it specifically says you need “a ticket” to take a bike, so I used their live chat to try and see if they could sort it, or if they’d confirm the confirmation email would suffice.

The live chat chap confirmed that I would need a physical ticket, and as it hadn’t printed properly I should go to the ticket office at the station where I printed them, as it was clearly a fault of the machine. The fact that it printed the 3 tickets it said it would made no difference.

When I said the station where I’d printed the tickets was unmanned, he said my only option would be to go to one of their stations, but I should do that before the date of travel in case there were any issues. I pointed out this was an hour’s travel each way and I’d need to spend about £20 to get to an Aventi station and he said that wasn’t their fault and there is no other option, and they wouldn’t refund me the cost

Two questions:

1 - is their response reasonable?

2 - will the confirmation email be enough?
 
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CyrusWuff

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20 May 2013
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Whilst the response was technically correct, the advice to go to one of their stations was unnecessary. At present, Avanti are only offering reservations up to 3rd July and opening them up roughly a week at a time, so you don't have any reservations as things currently stand.

Keep an eye on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/44703.aspx for updated booking horizons.

Once they're released for your date of travel any Ticket Office SHOULD be able to issue you bike (and seat, if desired) reservations for your chosen train(s).
 

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
591
Whilst the response was technically correct, the advice to go to one of their stations was unnecessary. At present, Avanti are only offering reservations up to 3rd July and opening them up roughly a week at a time, so you don't have any reservations as things currently stand.

Keep an eye on https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/44703.aspx for updated booking horizons.

Once they're released for your date of travel any Ticket Office SHOULD be able to issue you bike (and seat, if desired) reservations for your chosen train(s).
Thanks - but now I’m really confused! Avanti’s website has sold me tickets for specific seats on specific trains in early October, and the tickets that were printed correctly include those details. Should this not have happened?
 

yorkie

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Just bring the booking confirmation and show that to station staff, who should unlock the bike area for you.

There is no requirement to make a separate journey!

It is not surprising to hear such poor advice being issued though; the rail industry generally offers a poor level of training for customer service staff.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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7 Oct 2017
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6,006
Thanks - but now I’m really confused! Avanti’s website has sold me tickets for specific seats on specific trains in early October, and the tickets that were printed correctly include those details. Should this not have happened?
The rail industry is in the habit of selling tickets for trains that they know (or ought to know) won't run. Such trains often aren't removed from the data until the timetable is finalised, and it can take some hours or even days between when that change is made and when it updates on journey planners.
 

erk

Member
Joined
21 Nov 2012
Messages
69
I had a rather similar experience. I had booked tickets and bike spaces on TPE. When I collected them (from the Northern TVM at Urmston) the machine produced tickets in the new format with seat reservations. There were no bike reservations, and the number of coupons matched what the machine said it would print, and what was stated on the tickets.

TPE's web support confirmed that their system showed I had a bike reservation. They said that the guard would know that bike spaces were reserved, and there'd be no problem. I was sceptical, but printed off the confirmation email as backup.

In the event Covid-19 intervened and I didn't travel (still waiting for the refund...). However I'm suspicious that these Northern TVMs can't print bike reservations and silently ignore them. I may try an experiment (for a journey where I'm not actually taking a bike).
 
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CyrusWuff

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20 May 2013
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2,299
Having just checked for a random date in October for the same journey at work, I can only get reservations on TransPennine Express services. West Coast services are showing "No fares available", suggesting it is indeed the case that reservations are not yet available.
 

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
591
Having just checked for a random date in October for the same journey at work, I can only get reservations on TransPennine Express services. West Coast services are showing "No fares available", suggesting it is indeed the case that reservations are not yet available.
This is what I bought, from Avanti’s website, last Saturday. I’m genuinely baffled by all this

9D7F838E-478B-4F9D-AAD3-B7E5D0B7D0F9.png
 

CyrusWuff

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Joined
20 May 2013
Messages
2,299
That's odd...I can replicate that on Avanti's website and other Trainline-powered sites, but most other booking engines will only let you book dates up to September at present. I'll have to check at work tomorrow for those specific dates and see what that gives me. (And see if it'll let me setup a bike reservation for TOD).
 

SteveM70

Member
Joined
11 Jul 2018
Messages
591
Update - just had a phone call from a really nice bloke from Avanti in response to the woeful livechat experience. He reassured me all parts of the booking existed in their system (ticket, seat and bike) and said the non-printing of the bike reservation was not a new issue. He’s promised to email me a confirmation later today that I can use in place of the reservation, so all’s we’ll that ends well. And he also said he’d feedback my comments about the livechat experience
 

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