Reserved Seats double booking

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by alistairstubbs, 26 Aug 2015.

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  1. alistairstubbs

    alistairstubbs Member

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    I have just been to London with my family for a few days, I booked my tickets 12 weeks in advance and got a good deal. We got on our booked train at Wolverhampton only to find someone else in our seats, they had a ticket with the same reservation. Coming back late last night the same thing happened. With computerised booking systems I can not understand how this can happen is it common?
     
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  3. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    I bet they didn't. I bet one of you was in the wrong seat of the wrong coach. People often misread their reservations.

    It happens all the time and is often, say, relating to coach A 34/Seat 34A. People read 34 A and head for seat 34 in coach A missing the fact the coach section of the reservation is separate.

    EDIT - was it Virgin?
     
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2015
  4. alistairstubbs

    alistairstubbs Member

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    The train manager checked in both circumstances and both times they were double booked. We were a group of 5 and both times the other groups were at least 6 people.

    Yes Virgin
     
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2015
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    well that does surprise me and seems most odd!
     
  6. dave87016

    dave87016 Established Member

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    Quite possibly because Virgin West Coast have just started to let people choose their own seats when booking their tickets online its possible that there may be a temporary flaw in the system
     
  7. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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    Was it a double Voyager? Maybe one of you was supposed to be in the other unit?
     
  8. Jonfun

    Jonfun Established Member

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    In the many of these disputes I've moderated over, I'm yet to see a single one where the seat has actually been double booked, so it isn't that common. It's generally where someone's booked a ticket for either the train before or the one after, or the same train a day either side. Occasionally it's folk misreading the coach letter, and the most out I've seen was the chap presenting a reservation for the right seat, on the right train, on the right day of the right month - but three years before.
     
  9. alistairstubbs

    alistairstubbs Member

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    On the way down it was 2 sets but both reservations had the same coach and seat numbers. I was definitely on the correct train. I didn't check that they were but the reservation on the train had their name on it. On the way back it was a single set and I checked their ticket and we were both on the correct train. The train manager said it was the second one he had had that day.
     
  10. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member Associate Staff Buses & Coaches

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    On virgin when they have a planned double voyager in service dont they carry on with the coach number instead of cutting of and starting it again.
    (if that makes sense)
    Sam
     
  11. Ediswan

    Ediswan Member

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    If not seat 34 in coach A, what does it mean ?
     
  12. causton

    causton Established Member

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    A for Airline seat (i.e. not Forward facing or Backwards facing!)
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    In a train with the traditional layout (e.g. the ATW 158s) with opposite seats at a table numbered the same it means A(irline) seat 34. The coach is shown separately.

    You also have F(acing) and B(ack) to direction of travel.
     
  14. Ediswan

    Ediswan Member

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    Still confused. The only letter is A, the only number is 34. So how can it mean something other than a seat in coach A with the number 34 on it ?
     
  15. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    I think that the person who asked the question meant that 34A in the "Seat" section of the ticket may confuse some people in thinking that it means Seat 34 in Coach Alpha, whereas on a closer visual inspection of both the "Coach" and "Seat" sections may be Coach Delta, Seat 34A.
     
  16. lyesbkz

    lyesbkz Member

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    Is it possible to get a refund if this happens? Normally I'd assume this applied where you chose not to travel as a result, but with seat reservations not being honoured how would you find out before you've started your journey?

     
  17. causton

    causton Established Member

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    Not quite. There would be a coach letter next to it.

    No example with A in at the moment but I'm sure you get the idea!
    Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 19.13.56.png
     
  18. Greenback

    Greenback Emeritus Moderator

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    The coach letter is normally shown separately from the seat numbers, just as in causton's example.

    I think it's very unlikely that a system would issue identical reservations for the same service. In my experience someone has always misread the information on their reservation coupon, or are simply on the wrong train.
     
  19. Ediswan

    Ediswan Member

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    A full example often works wonders :D

    Speaking with some IT experience, it would be an odd design decision to allow a duplicate to exist. A simple one-to-one seat-to-reservation arrangement is as simple as they come. Can a reservation be cancelled and replaced with another ? That would complicate things considerably.
     
  20. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    This also happened to me last year on a packed virgin train (can't remember if it was a voyager or Pendolino). Made my way to my allocated seat which was occupied by someone else. I engaged in the usual awkward conversation about me having reserved the seat. The other passenger also claims to have reservation for said seat and duly produces ticket. The guard then intervenes, checks out both tickets to find we are indeed double booked on the same train and in the same seat. "I'm very sorry sir, this thing happens all the time; come this way and we'll find you somewhere to sit". Not complaining of course... I got a free upgrade to first class out of it:)

    Does make you wonder how it happens though. Perhaps if the seat is booked at precisely the same time?

    (and no, fortunately virgin don't operate the ridiculous A/B/F system)
     
  21. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    It happened to me and some friends back in 2004 on the east coast line up to Bewick upon Tweed.
     
  22. causton

    causton Established Member

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    The only thing is that when we cancel reservations, we type in the reservation number. This is two letters followed by 6 digits, not the same as a collection reference but the record of the seat reservations only in the system. To cancel the reservations on my system, you just type in this number, it then says "All of the reservations under this reference will be cancelled, do you want to proceed?" or similar, without telling you what the actual reservation was, to see if it was the correct one. If someone cancelled another reservation by accident, or someone was bored/mean and sat there all day cancelling random ones by typing in random numbers... the probability is very small but could happen!
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It isn't ridiculous. While it does cause a little confusion, it has the advantage of guaranteeing the direction of travel for those who want that on trains that often end up facing in different directions.

    Doesn't apply to VWC services unless there are engineering works causing odd routeings through Brum, but does apply to others.
     
  24. lordbusiness

    lordbusiness Member

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    What really gets me is when someone uses their reserved seat for their bag and sits in the adjoining seat thus avoiding having to sit next to someone. Grrrr
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Tell them to move the bag or move themselves. A seat with "reserved" on it is only not fair game if the reserver is sitting in it. Not if they have their bag in it. Each passenger is only entitled to one seat, regardless of what they might have reserved.
     
  26. Qwerty133

    Qwerty133 Established Member

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    Each passenger is 'entitled' to no seats...
    Seats are complimentary and subject to availability.
     
  27. najaB

    najaB Veteran Member

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    A reservation, however, entitles you to a seat - that's the point of the reservation system.
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    However, seats are only to be occupied by human backsides (one human per seat, nobody gets two), not luggage nor animals. If there are humans not sitting down, luggage and animals are to be removed, and such seats are to be made available.
     
  29. alistairstubbs

    alistairstubbs Member

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    This could be a possibility, On my first train the people who were in our seats had had their reservation changed at the station as they were not sat together. I wonder if my reservation was cancelled by mistake. Would this of also cancelled my return Journey?
     
  30. crehld

    crehld Established Member Associate Staff Senior Fares Advisor

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    Perhaps I'm dismissive of it because I really don't care what way I travel. However, based on my observations it seems to offer far more confusion to passengers than convenience.

    It is perfectly possible on most services to number seats sequentially and specify on the reservation system whether that seat will be forward or rear facing. Indeed it already happens. I do get that trains end up facing the wrong way. However this is either because there are diversions in place as you say, so will only affect a relatively small number of services (and some TOCs such as FGW go to the effort of putting the train back round the right way). Or it's because a train reverses direction of travel en route (e.g. XC at Reading or TPE at Manchester Piccadilly), so specifying what direction you want to travel in seems a bit pointless anyway.

    Perhaps this would be a better solution? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezyazUnueFI
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Back on topic, do online booking systems have a direct interface with the reservation system, or is there some sort of 'back office' process where reservations are processed pushed through to the system in batches every couple of minutes or so?
     
  31. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    For WebTIS it's the former, for Trainline it's the latter.
     
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