If you have a reserved seat, do you have sit in that seat?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by philosopher, 14 Mar 2020.

  1. philosopher

    philosopher Member

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    I am currently travelling to Durham from London with reserved seats both ways. The train I am on is about 50% full at the moment so there are plenty of sets of seats that are empty, however my reserved seat meant I was sitting next to someone. Given the current concerns regarding Coronavirus COVID-19, I would rather not be sitting next to someone. Therefore my question is do I have to use my reserved seat, or can I sit in any standard class seat?
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    According to the rules yes.

    However, just about no guards enforce it unless the train is very busy in which case you'll be sat next to someone anyway. I suspect however the railway will be rather quiet today. I'm making a long distance journey on LNR later today, and am rather looking forward to some quiet 350s.

    Note that any "enforcement" just means moving back to your seat, you won't get a PF or prosecution or whatever. It would be laughed out of Court.
     
    Last edited: 14 Mar 2020
  4. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    Just sit in any available seat. No-one's going to query it.
     
  5. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    If its busy and i join en route yes.

    I will move if i have someone next to me and there is plenty of empty seats around. Gives space for both people.

    Often i will take a a seat if its free , often i go and look at my reserved seat to see if anyone is in it . Often there is and they look comfy
     
  6. plugwash

    plugwash Member

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    As I understand it. If you have an off-peak or anytime ticket there is no compulsion to have a reserved seat, or use it if you have one.

    On the other hand if you have an advance ticket you are supposed to sit in your reserved seat (though this is rarely enforced)
     
  7. sefton

    sefton Member

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    No idea what the rules are, but I almost never sit in my reserved seat due the stupid way the seating allocations are done.

    I have lost count of the number of times I have walked into an almost empty carriage to see all the booked seats squashed up together in one corner, so you have to behave like someone with no interpersonal skills and sit next to someone rather than in one of the dozens of nearby empty seats.

    So when the train company's buy a sensible allocation system I will sit in my seat, otherwise, nope.
     
  8. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That is a sensible allocation mechanism because it keeps pairs of seats free for later bookings of two people together.
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

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    In practise, no.

    It's in the T&Cs but it's never really been truly enforceable, and especially not in the current climate.
     
  10. sefton

    sefton Member

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    It isn't, because if those pairs are not booked then it means that you end up with a booked seat which I am not sat in because I have interpersonal skills and am not going to sit next to a stranger whilst other seats are free, but many other people are not going to sit in even if the train becomes full and standing later in the journey because people don't sit in booked seats.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    How else do you propose to solve it other than by way of airline style "check-in" so seats are allocated on the day based on loadings?
     
  12. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    Right now and for the foreseeable future just sit wherever you want to (other than in someone else’s reserved seat, or in first if you have a standard class ticket). There really are more important things and no one is going to be bothered.
     
  13. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Normally, if a train is busy I'll sit in my reserved seat, but if the train is quiet then it's not worth bothering with - there's usually better seats on offer.

    Of course, in the current climate, doing the latter is much more desirable.
     
  14. sefton

    sefton Member

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    By allocating the seats so that a new 'single person' booking is only put next to a seat booked by someone else when there is no option.

    If people want to travel sitting next to each other, then they need to book early. I don't see why I should suffer so they can book late.
     
  15. 35B

    35B Member

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    And why should the operator be deprived of bookings by people disgruntled when they can’t get seats together (which may actually mean facing)?

    There’s a genuine issue with reservation algorithms that don’t respect bookers’ preferences when seats are available, but I think this is a bit harsh on operators. And if it’s a real issue, book with an operator that allows you to select your seat so you can actually choose properly.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    FWIW this is why I think seat selectors should be chargeable. Not at a whacking sum, a couple of quid per leg would be enough. That way if it's really important to you to pick you can (it is to me for legroom purposes and I am happy to pay), but otherwise reservations can be allocated in the most efficient manner in terms of e.g. keeping tables of 4 for groups of 4 etc.
     
  17. 35B

    35B Member

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    I would challenge that; reservation algorithms have ignored reasonable requests of mine in the past for no good reason, when relevant seats have been available on checking the seat selector. More generally, my opinion and that of most I've ever spoken with, is that extra charges like this are part of an attempt by vendors to misrepresent their prices to the customer. Whether it's airline luggage or priority booking charges, theatre booking fees, or something like this, the approach is inherently anti-customer and should never be supported.
     
  18. Brissle Girl

    Brissle Girl Member

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    I’d disagree in respect of a service where you are perfectly entitled to walk up and find a seat. So it is a real option, not something you are forced to do, as for example theatre booking fees.

    And there are lots of drawbacks with booking seats on trains which make multiple calls. For example, not being able to book a table for 4 from Plymouth to Newcastle because one person has one seat booked between Bristol Parkway and Cheltenham.
     
  19. 35B

    35B Member

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    An entitlement that, on normal traffic volumes, is somewhat theoretical. And, yes, I agree that there are issues with how you manage potentially overlapping journeys.
     
  20. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    I can agree where the case is something like booking fees that are applied to every ticket regardless, but airline luggage charges are optional and are clearly designed to discourage the use of luggage and reduce costs in handling luggage. As someone who is happy to travel with hand luggage only, even for a lengthy holiday, I have no problem with luggage charges. As for railways, seat reservations are free so a charge for using a seat selector would simply be a case of paying if you were not prepared to accept what was allocated to start with - so wanting an additional service.
     
  21. westv

    westv Established Member

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    I'm very curious as to how you deal with having only hand luggage when going on a 1 week or more holiday.
     
  22. Haywain

    Haywain Established Member

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    By not taking too much. I can do a 3 week holiday with a 20 litre rucksack.
     
  23. Wallsendmag

    Wallsendmag Established Member

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    Whereas Haywain can't believe how much I bring to work with me each day.
     
  24. sefton

    sefton Member

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    Andy why should I be penalised by being forced to sit next to someone I don't want to, in order to drive up the profits of the train company who want to encourage couples booking last minute?

    If they want to sit together then book early.
     
  25. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I'm not so sure. If the aim is to keep pairs of seats available, all that's necessary to achieve that is to place new single-person reservations next to existing reservations: There's no need to bunch all the reservations up at one end of the carriage - you'll achieve the same effect by spreading the reservations around the entire carriage - as long as you are still putting them in pairs next to each other.

    Also, and even with that proviso, it's only a sensible allocation if you are expecting that carriage to become fairly full - and that's going to be approximately predictable for most services. If you're expecting the carriage to be only 10% or 20% full, then bunching reservations together doesn't really make sense - since it's unlikely to be of any benefit, and will make most passengers' journeys less pleasant.
     
  26. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Do couples and families know they want to travel earlier than other people?
     
  27. NoMorePacers

    NoMorePacers Member

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    Can we not have an option for Advance ticket holders to simply not reserve a seat? It would probably help to solve a few potential conflicts and save some paper with wasted reservation labels (since people who don't sit in their reserved seats probably only have a reservation because they're required to when purchasing).
     
  28. sefton

    sefton Member

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    No idea. But I don't see why they should be given preferential treatment when they book after I do.
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Because it's public transport and that means it's a shared space, so we all have to think about others while using it.
     
  30. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Considering the number of threads that have been created over time on the subject of seat reservations I am surprised a sub forum hasn't been created! :D
     
  31. Kilopylae

    Kilopylae Member

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    Honestly, whatever the rules say, it's a real dick move not to sit in your reserved seat unless the train is almost entirely empty. You're essentially taking up two seats.
     

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