Why has Avanti West Coast got rid of the seat selector?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by VT 390, 8 Dec 2019.

  1. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    13,648
    Joined:
    27 Jan 2014
    Location:
    West of Andover
    How long before some Train Managers start to enforce the "you must sit in your reserved seat" condition when you get a passenger such as those above who get given a seat they don't want.

    I can see coach C (and U) becoming even more popular with passengers ditching their reservation for a free pick, i.e. those wanting a table seat but got given an airline seat.
     
  2. Bungle965

    Bungle965 Established Member

    Messages:
    2,519
    Joined:
    2 Jul 2014
    Location:
    Blackley and Broughton/ Walsall South
    Allot already don't bother with their reserved seats.
    Sam
     
  3. airbusA346

    airbusA346 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    31 Dec 2019
    Location:
    Staffordshire
    I've just come to book my first ticket with Avanti since the changeover from Virgin. As a disabled traveller it makes my life harder that I can't chose my own seat. In the past I always tried to book in coach K or J at a push. Also meant I knew exactly where to stand on the platform for when the train arrived.
     
  4. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

    Messages:
    21,147
    Joined:
    16 Nov 2009
    Location:
    Redcar
    I'd suggest using www.trainsplit.com who do have a seat selector so you can still choose your own seat even though Avanti have removed this functionality.
     
  5. airbusA346

    airbusA346 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    31 Dec 2019
    Location:
    Staffordshire
    Thanks.

    I've managed to get the seat changed with Avanti via Facebook Messenger. They don't amend the physical seat reservation on the ticket though (so it still shows the original seat reservation). The bloke at Avanti has just sent me a screenshot of the seat booking and told me to use the new seat instead of the original one. Could be interesting when booking the return journey which I only do when I'm back at the station (after finding out the expensive way, not to book a return ticket when attending hospital appointments). He said advanced tickets automatically chose a seat for me, but open tickets will require me to chose a seat, but he couldn't tell me time wise when the ticket type changes.
     
  6. island

    island Established Member

    Messages:
    10,459
    Joined:
    30 Dec 2010
    Location:
    0036
    That’s bordering on farcical. How can a company get it so wrong?
     
  7. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    6,776
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    Avanti clearly have an issue. Seating preferences are ignored if you book through them. I've done a number of dummy bookings using the 11:03 service from Euston to Birmingham New Street on Wednesday 18th March. In each case I requested a forward facing window seat in the quiet coach.

    Trainsplit allows me to select a suitable seat. I can see that there are 42 seats available out of in Coach A which is the quiet coach on the service. There are plenty of suitable seats that match my preferences.

    - Transpennine Express website allocates me Coach A seat A25 which meets my preferences
    - Chiltern's website allocates Coach A seat 04
    - Greater Anglia gives me Coach A seat 25

    Avanti's website gives me Coach F Seat 71, ignoring completely ignoring all of my preferences.

    For completeness Thameslink's website allocated Coach F seat 72 and LNER inexplicably won't even allow you to search for a journey on 18th March saying that it is too far ahead!
     
  8. VT 390

    VT 390 Member

    Messages:
    1,140
    Joined:
    7 Dec 2018
    I think that is just if you are travelling with Chiltern not if you book through their website for another operators service.
     
  9. Hadders

    Hadders Established Member

    Messages:
    6,776
    Joined:
    27 Apr 2011
    That's right. Chiltern's own trains do not have seat reservations. They operate counted place reservations to allow them to offer Advance fares on their trains.

    If you book a journey on a service that offers proper seat reservations through Chiltern's website then you will get a seat reservation.
     
  10. Adam Williams

    Adam Williams Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    2 Jan 2018
    Location:
    Warks
    For those of you using Trainsplit's seat selector, since Sunday there is now functionality to tell you about Avanti Voyager & Pendolino seats which:
    • Have a poor view
    • Have a power socket available
    • Are marked as priority seats
    I know this functionality was requested from some folks via social media.
     
  11. ScottGallagher

    ScottGallagher Member

    Messages:
    90
    Joined:
    9 Dec 2012
    I had this response this morning on FB to my enquiry about the seat selector

    "We're looking to reinstate the seat picker in the near future "

    I imagine who made that decision to get rid of it has had some explaining to do
     
  12. trainophile

    trainophile Established Member

    Messages:
    3,975
    Joined:
    28 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Hereford, Southport or on a train trip
    I couldn't understand how Trainsplit has access to the seat selector, and the functionality to change your allocated seats, while Avanti, whose trains they actually are, seemed unable to provide this. Some software programming glitch at their end I expect.
     
  13. Adam Williams

    Adam Williams Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    2 Jan 2018
    Location:
    Warks
    TrainSplit have invested in having their own seat selector application built.

    Whilst the old VTWC solution and TrainSplit's seat selector would both talk to NRS (the National Reservation System) at the lowest level to e.g. actually update the reserved seats, there's still a substantial amount of effort in building the frontend and systems that sit above this. For whatever reason, I guess Avanti didn't license the original Virgin seat selector and haven't commissioned their own system either.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    45,653
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    An advantage for me of it being missing is that Coach A seat 45 (extra legroom) is back to being easily available for walk up use :). Indeed I'm sat there right now.

    Does any site do preferences in a way that works? I booked a journey with a non Avanti site (forget which) last week and they appear to have been ignored entirely.

    (Edit: I specifically wanted[1] an Advance out and an Off Peak Single Online back - it was a bit hard to see on Trainsplit if I was getting that, and you can't set it to do Advance out and flexible back, so I used another site to get that).

    [1] Unusual for me, but the Advance was very, very cheap due to the train being near-empty - MKC to Lancaster for under 20 quid - and was the only practical train to take for what I intended to do anyway.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2020
  15. Skie

    Skie Member

    Messages:
    317
    Joined:
    22 Dec 2008
    Virgins very old one is much better if you need to see priority seats/view information: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/11747649/seating-plan-virgin-trains
    The Avanti pdf is the updated (made-worse) one Virgin started using a few years ago, and it looks like they've done nothing to fix the issues with it.

    Also dont expect the interim process to be much use. They slapped a large group who'd specified tables into limited view airline seats and then were unable to fix it themselves with their own tools, a colleague had to use the trainsplit seat selector to list the free tables for them!

    Should also ironically say that had this not been a group, he could have just booked tables using the Evolvi system which lets you specify coach/seat numbers.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2020
  16. mancunian lady

    mancunian lady New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    13 Jan 2020
    Location:
    Manchester
    Train split has worked very well for me, allowing me to select specific seats, but I see that they've now introduced a £1 booking charge, whereas the tickets I booked with them a fortnight ago incurred no booking charge. Perhaps they've had so much extra custom with the Avanti lost seat selection facility, that they're now trying to cash in on it.
     
  17. Adam Williams

    Adam Williams Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    2 Jan 2018
    Location:
    Warks
    No?
    Screenshot_20200113-172310~2.png

    Screenshot of checkout page showing booking fee of "£FREE"

    This is on trainsplit.com - not an affiliate site.
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2020
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    45,653
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    I had a play and couldn't see a booking fee?
     
  19. mancunian lady

    mancunian lady New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    13 Jan 2020
    Location:
    Manchester
    Yes - you're right, Blechleyite and Adam Williams. Have just gone to the website you identified and booked, selected a specific seat and was charged no booking fee! Many thanks. I don't know where I ended up earlier, but it specifically said, 'You will be charged £1 booking fee' - most peculiar, because it looked just the same as the site you directed me to. Anyway, thanks again for clarifying. That's a relief.
     
  20. jfollows

    jfollows Member

    Messages:
    351
    Joined:
    26 Feb 2011
    Location:
    Wilmslow
    Per my earlier posts #52 and #66, I likewise wanted to book an advance ticket to London and and off-peak single back, but I ended up only able to book advance tickets in both directions. For this trip, it didn't matter. For future trips it will. The seat "preferences" gave silly seat bookings but I was able to amend them to specific seats which were honoured when I travelled; fortunately on a Sunday because both the 12:37 and (the one I chose) 13:37 departures from Euston have been busy in First Class when I've used them.
     
  21. petter2

    petter2 Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    26 Jul 2015
    Transplit doesn't show the 1857 Euston-Manchester on the 21st of February, why is that? Even when I force only trains via Crewe with no changes it dosn't come up
     
  22. STEVIEBOY1

    STEVIEBOY1 Established Member

    Messages:
    3,029
    Joined:
    31 Jul 2010
    Is Trainsplit.com, the correct website address for trainsplit?
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    45,653
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    Yes, it is.
     
  24. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    45,355
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    It works if you specify avoid: SOT

    I think there might be a bug here, as via: Crewe should work, so I will bring this to their attention :)
     
  25. route101

    route101 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,348
    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Seen it at Euston people making a beeline for tables in U. Some people of course dont care where they sit.
     
  26. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

    Messages:
    354
    Joined:
    11 Jul 2018
    Another issue with Avanti reservations (apologies if it’s been mentioned before)......their website has the option to reserve a bike space when making a booking, which is pretty straightforward you’d think. But if the journey involves a leg where bike reservations can’t be made, it removes the option to make them for the leg where they’re mandatory.

    And according to their phone support people the only option is to buy a ticket and then ring and see if there’s a bike space available......but if there aren’t and it’s an advance ticket then no dice and no refund.

    Madness
     
  27. yorkie

    yorkie Forum Staff Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    45,355
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    The Advance FAQs state:
    Under the spirit of the rules, then given the situation described, I'd say a refund without admin fee should be made in these specific circumstances.
     
  28. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

    Messages:
    354
    Joined:
    11 Jul 2018
    Interesting, and thanks for that, but they were very clear on the phone that they wouldn’t refund. I’ll raise a complaint and see what happens. It’ll be cathartic if nothing else :D
     
  29. williamn

    williamn Member

    Messages:
    483
    Joined:
    22 May 2008
    Any idea why Trainspit isn't showing the best fares for 26 March? Avanti has advance fares for £25 from London to Manchester but I can't get Trainsplit to show them.
     
  30. IrishDave

    IrishDave Member

    Messages:
    343
    Joined:
    30 Jun 2009
    Location:
    Brighton
    The 1857 from Euston stops at Crewe to set down only - could that be why "via Crewe" isn't working? Should it work in such circumstances?
     

Share This Page