Virgin Trains (West Coast) introduces a less-than-perfect 'seat selector'

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by All Line Rover, 26 Aug 2015.

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  1. All Line Rover

    All Line Rover Established Member

    17 Feb 2011
    Virgin Trains (West Coast) has, finally, introduced a seat selector. It's the same as the one on the CrossCountry website, which has had a seat selector for years, so you have to wonder why Virgin has obstinately refused to introduce one until now. Maybe it wasn't willing to spend the few thousand pounds needed to make the minor modifications to its website to support the facility.

    The facility works as intended, but a couple of observations include:
    • Coaches U and G are not displayed, so it is still not possible to identify which Pendolinos are 11-car and which are not. I would not expect Coach U to be displayed as it is the unreserved coach, but Coach G will continue to have tumble weed blowing through it on most off peak (non-business) trains until reservations are possible (they are not available over the phone or at the station, either).
    • Coach K, the 'staff coach', is displayed but completely blocked out. Surprise, surprise!
    • Almost half of the seats in Coach E (1ST) on the Voyagers are not available to select. This means your only option is to sit in the center of the carriage. If you wish to sit at either end of the carriage (where it will be quieter), then even though your ticket cost over £200 single, tough! CrossCountry, with the same trains, does not have this problem. It allows passengers to select any seat in the first class carriage.
    • The seat selector does identify when Coach D on the Voyagers is first class, and offers seat reservations in this carriage for first class tickets where this is the case. I have heard, however, that Coach D will never be first class from next month (which is not going to go down well with passengers on, e.g. the 17:10 EUS to WRX/HHD, where Coach D in the WRX portion is first class to cater to the high demand from Chester passengers) and that Virgin is planning to rip out the comfortable table seats and replace them with the usual high density standard class seating. Another waste of money, like spending millions (!) of pounds converting Coach G to annoy customers in first class when the money would have been better spent acquiring additional standard class carriages.
    • The seat selector does not allow you to select a seat in either portion of a 10-car Voyager. The portion it issues a reservation in by default is the only portion in which a seat can be selected.
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  3. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

    12 Sep 2013
    Isle of Man
    Not all trains have a coach G, and therefore where it exists it is the unreservable coach in first class. So I wouldn't expect you to be able to reserve a seat in it.

    I would imagine that similar restrictions apply on coach E on the Voyagers, as they will need to keep a certain amount of seats unreserved for walk-up passengers. That makes sense. You see the same thing with coach H in standard on VTEC, as well as the very end of coach B.
  4. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

    22 Feb 2011
    Mold, Clwyd
    You don't like Virgin, do you?
    Has it not occurred to you that the Coach D thing is like Coach G on 9-car Pendolinos - a franchise demand by DfT to increase standard seats at the expense of 1st?
    You must also know that DfT will not contemplate any new capacity for Virgin in the current short franchise.
    I like the current Coach D (off-peak) too, but it's not much fun for people without seats in standard wondering why there are only 3 coaches for them on some trains.
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2015
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