New Virgin East Coast Website

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by csilke, 7 Jun 2017.

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  1. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    I am now getting the intensely irritating:

    almost every single time I buy a ticket or an eVoucher, despite having passed AmEx SafeKey and, apparently and unwittingly, being a 'trusted' purchaser on the West Coast site (and CrossCountry's, I have just discovered) so that I can use any card collect for their tickets.

    I am only using the East Coast site now when I feel that there's an absolutely overriding reason to do so, but even then it seems to conspire to drive me up the wall.
     
  2. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    While the ship was sinking this morning and the web team were having to sort out the fallout from a less than successful release, head of eCommerce at VTEC was speaking in Amsterdam at a conference. How the person responsible for this booking engine, the travel buddy 'app' and possibly the badly thought out partnership with Seatfrog gets to speak at these events so frequently I have no idea.

    All I know about it is in this Tweet: https://twitter.com/JerryAngrave/status/930774995957157890 (if you're on Twitter it would be nice to get a few more contributions to show how the site is considered in reality, it feels like they're living in a bubble and ignoring the tweets that are saying bad things)

    It's nice to see she took inspiration from my parody site when creating the slides (if you don't have anything to say stick some pictures of Branson up).

    But bringing the brand values to life? I don't think so, the changes are almost all universally hated. The attempts to be more 'Virgin' in their emails have not hit the mark. It feels like someone's granddad who's trying too hard to be cool.
     
  3. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    Turkey now advertising tickets for Christmas.
     

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  4. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Worrying when the people in charge don't even know how to use an apostrophe.

    https://twitter.com/kristalsmile/status/930137145792135168
     
  5. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Finding I can't access the site again. Another update?
     
  6. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Emeritus Moderator

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    I too had trouble with the website this morning - I wanted to check my bookings to get the collection code so I could collect my tickets for this weekend. I couldn't get that far, good job I didn't need them for pretty much immediate travel - I could get as far as the booking reference, but not the collection code. (On top of that there is a wifi code, 3 codes for one booking does complicate things!) I did tweet VT (and mentioned the old site was much more awesome :lol: ), their response was that it was also in my booking confirmation e-mail. That was true, but the only place I have access to e-mails from weeks ago is on my laptop at home and I was out....

    I did finally manage to gain access this afternoon and popped to the station for my tickets on the way home. Come back www.eastcoast.co.uk - which was much easier to remember too!
     
  7. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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  8. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    Excellent. A taxi from London to Leeds or Newcastle to London on Chistmas Day should cost them a decent amount !
     
  9. 43094

    43094 Member

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    Currently the same screens but for 26th December...
     
  10. philthetube

    philthetube Established Member

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    But it does disappear very quickly, ond I often don't recall spending it.
     
  11. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    Having had a quick web wander, it's perhaps interesting to note that the Head of eCommerce and Retail at VTEC would appear to be a specialist in Social Media, as much as anything else.

    From The Drum in 2014: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/07/14/twentysix-appoints-kristal-ireland-head-social

    And then two years on from Prolific North: https://www.prolificnorth.co.uk/dig...eland-lead-ecommerce-virgin-trains-east-coast

     
  12. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    Any evidence of working in eCommerce sites before, particularly high volume ones or rail industry experience? I have experiences of the former, but not the latter (although even though I never worked in the rail industry I'd have a good starting point due to my familiarity with the features and drawbacks of WebTIS).

    Perhaps she wanted a new challenge but it proved too much. Of course it may not be her or her team at fault here, the project was underway when she was hired so they may have turned around a bigger disaster. It's hard to know as we don't have any insider information. But the public facing actions certainly gives the impression that they've got their heads in the sand acting like they're doing brilliantly.
     
  13. IanD

    IanD Established Member

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    I used the new site to sign up for alerts when advances become available for some dates in April but I didn't receive a notification, despite the tickets being released for nearly a month now. I emailed to ask what was going on and got this unintelligible reply. Still no idea why no notification was sent.

     
  14. jsmith300

    jsmith300 Member

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    I've noticed that VTEC seem to be holding back some Friday evening peak services for advance tickets until nearer the date the weekend becomes on sale. For example, last weekend the 1930 KGX to DHM was showing as sold out for advance, however on Friday £20 advance tickets appeared.
     
  15. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    That reply is gibberish!
     
  16. IanD

    IanD Established Member

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    Took me a while to decipher it and work out that it wasn't even trying to answer my query.
     
  17. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    If that was the answer then what do you suppose the question actually was?
     
  18. Starmill

    Starmill Veteran Member Associate Staff Events Co-ordinator

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    TransPennine Express' accountants don't seem to have any anxiety about selling vouchers that expire in 9999.
     
  19. IanD

    IanD Established Member

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    I know what the question actually was because I asked it :p

    I suspect they just skimmed, saw the phrase Early Bird Alert and tried to explain what they are, how to sign up for them and why some dates might still be unavailable.
     
  20. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

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    Apologise in advance? Surely they could just stop it before it happens in that case...!!
     
  21. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    To clarify: if they weren't attempting to answer your question, what question were they trying (and failing!) to answer instead?

    [I speak very much in jest.]
     
  22. tspaul26

    tspaul26 Member

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    If you read it closely they don't actually apologise at all:

     
  23. IanXC

    IanXC Emeritus Moderator

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    At times like this I am always inclined to reply to companies stating that there must have been some kind of administrative error as the response provided has no connection with my query and requesting they check their records and send the relevant response to my original letter.
     
  24. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    That’s a good idea. I had hoped when VTEC took customer relations back in house things would improve but they’ve not got back to GNER style service.
     
  25. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

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    I tried to use the new website for the first time today to book a journey. Immensely irritating, I selected a journey and got a seat reservation (C10). I had a look at the seating plan and managed to choose the last of my favourite type of seat (C65). The return train was busy, so I pressed the back button (on the webpage, not on the browser), went back to the search screen and chose a different train.

    The seat reservation for the outward leg was now automatically chosen as C11, with both C10 and C65 now blocked up from my previous attempt... The other return train I'd looked at wasn't any better, so I went back to choose the previous train. By this point, all the advances in the tier had been taken up by me so it wanted to charge me more! Why can't it discard the booking? After waiting a couple of hours it all reset and I got what I wanted in the first place.
     
  26. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    This can be particularly bad when there's a sale on (like now). An example on Twitter. Someone found a bargain fare, when they tried to pay there was a server error. The next time they went back to this page the fare was higher, the person on VTEC Twitter suggested clearing cookies and cache and that didn't bring back the cheaper fare so he suggested web support. By the time they got through to web support with the stock 'fare must have sold out' the fare had increased once more. I'm guessing it's a combo of the website holding onto bookings and other people booking the same route.
     
  27. skyhigh

    skyhigh Member

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    It's crazy I managed to end up blocking 7 tickets/seats for two hours trying to book a simple journey from Leeds to King's Cross by following the instructions. I'd seen the comments on this thread, but hadn't realised it was that bad!
     
  28. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    Potentially one for the unwary, here.

    I clicked on the promotion link, and then later on went back to book some tickets (for non-promotion dates) using the homepage search box. The tickets are for four passengers travelling together, on Virgin Trains East Coast services, and they are eligible for the Small Group Discount. However, the 'Discounted' icon wasn't appearing in the fares matrix.

    Opening another browser of a different type, the same search brought up the correct Small Group Discount fares.

    Checking promotional fares would therefore appear to be blocking out discounts such as Small Group on other searches.

    I've attached the simultaneous screenshots to show how the unwary could have potentially overpaid by £108 in total.
     

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  29. Merseysider

    Merseysider Established Member Fares Advisor

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    The website is crap!

    Was booking an Inverness - Kings X journey for Feb, price comes up as £37.50 for 1st, great, put it in the basket and reserve seats.

    I open a new tab to check Cally Sleeper prices for the Friday night, reserve a bed and am presented with the payment options.

    Meanwhile, the VTEC website has decided to time out and forces me back to the search page. Nothing in my basket. And no £37.50 fares are showing either - the cheapest is now £86.

    Facepalm. Refresh. Nothing changes. I close the browser and try searching again. Nothing.

    Quickly load up my history and go back to the 'Reserve Seats' page listed from ten minutes ago. Bingo! The ticket has now magically appeared again, with the same seats reserved, but it's still not in my basket :lol:

    Utter crap.
     
  30. SaveECRewards

    SaveECRewards Member

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    It also removes the 50% off online only price for the super off-peak singles.

    This site really is a joke
     
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