Buying tickets for someone on VWC

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daniel3982

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I want to buy some tickets for my friend who lives in Germany to travel from London to Manchester. Is there anyway I can do this for them from the comfort of my laptop without having to post them anything?

I'm thinking e-tickets... However in my experience some companies require you to have the booking credit card with you when using them (not all though). What is Virgin's policy?
 
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richw

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no way of doing it without posting them, require your booking debit/ credit card to collect tickets booked online.
 

yorkie

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Virgin Trains website said:
e-ticket (self-print)
  • e-tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
  • Must travel with lead passenger.
  • Must bring payment card used and printed e-ticket or you will be charged the full fare for a new ticket to travel.
  • e-tickets will be e-mailed to you as a PDF for you to print 2 hours after booking.
(From https://www.buytickets.virgintrains.co.uk/deliveryoption.aspx when you have a ticket in your basket; the link won't work if you don't)
 

daniel3982

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So, why doesn't the "friend who lives in Germany" buy the ticket using their own credit card? Then they can collect the ticket in London from a machine.
Their German card didn't work last time they came up so I bought it for them and they gave me the money back when they got here.

Seems Virgin are missing a trick not having a way to enable you to buy tickets for other people, thinking about all those students who are skint and need parent's help to get home!

I remember once missing my train back from London as a young teenager and not having any money, my Mum went down to the station to try and pay for a ticket for me to get back but was no way to do it! Was stuck in London & in the end had to fly as it was the only way I could go without buying the ticket myself (pre-megabus).
 

Brucey

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I remember once missing my train back from London as a young teenager and not having any money, my Mum went down to the station to try and pay for a ticket for me to get back but was no way to do it! Was stuck in London & in the end had to fly as it was the only way I could go without buying the ticket myself (pre-megabus).
First Great Western offer a stranded passenger service, which is subject to an administration fee. As far as I can tell, this is simply a normal ToD ticket but with the collection marker set to allow collection from a ticket office with no card.
 

calc7

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Assuming their trip isn't imminent, could you book and collect then post them? They're only pieces of card so can't imagine the postage being extortionate.
 

island

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So, why doesn't the "friend who lives in Germany" buy the ticket using their own credit card? Then they can collect the ticket in London from a machine.
Credit cards are not very common in Germany. Most online payments use Elektronischeslastschriftverfahren, similar to direct debit, but that's not international, and most German debit cards are Maestro, which don't really work abroad very well.
First Great Western offer a stranded passenger service, which is subject to an administration fee. As far as I can tell, this is simply a normal ToD ticket but with the collection marker set to allow collection from a ticket office with no card.
This should be offered by all TOCs and is called a SILK (Stranded Individual Location Known). There is a £10 admin fee and only Anytime tickets can be purchased this way. In most cases the purchaser needs to attend in person at a booking office, but I think a few TOCs will allow it to be done over the phone.
 

MarkyMarkD

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SILK is a rather expensive way to do it.

I would strongly suggest they try booking from Germany, with a credit/debit card. If they haven't got one, they can get a travel type credit card relatively cheaply - certainly far cheaper than buying an anytime ticket with a £10 SILK admin fee on top - and book the ticket using that, from Germany, so that they know it will be available on arrival in London.
 

island

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Yes, quite. I didn't mean to suggest that a SILK be done; Virgin Anytime tickets are rather pricey!
 

MarkyMarkD

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Always good to remind people that SILK exists, though - it is scarcely publicised and I am sure that there are many people who might find it a helpful service if "caught short" (of money, that is).

Incidentally, it is rather unfair that SILK does require Anytime tickets to be paid for. The admin fee should cover the cost of providing the service, surely, rather than a variable (in some cases, zero, in other cases, a laughably large amount) premium over the cheapest relevant walk-up fare.
 
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