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

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

  1. paddy1

    paddy1 Member

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    Got this reply from Avanti West Coast the other day regarding non availability of seat selector (and other query about complimentary alcohol in first class). Doesn't sound like the re-introduction of the seat selector is a definite or going to happen anytime soon:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thank you for getting in touch with us in relation to your experience on the Avanti West Coast website.

    I am sorry to hear that the details on our website do not stipulate if the drinks are complimentary. I can confirm alcoholic beverages are served on upon request between 10.00 and 11.00, then served from the drinks cart after 11.00. This is subject to availability.

    Furthermore, I am sorry that we are unable to offer the Seat Picker service currently, this is something that may be reintroduced in the future. We have a interim process where customers can email us for any seat reservation queries. The email address is: seat.reservations@avantiwestcoast.co.uk. You can use this email to make, amend or update any seat reservations with us.

    Please be assured that your comments have been passed on to our Website Management team, who will look into these as part of their next review.

    Thanks for your comments. Your feedback on our services is very much appreciated.

    Yours sincerely
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  2. Adam Williams

    Adam Williams Member

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    I can't reproduce this, can you provide some more detail about what you've tried?

    Screenshot_20200118-095952~2.png
     
  3. williamn

    williamn Member

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    Thanks, got it to work now! Think may have been because I was adding Network Railcard, not sure.
     
  4. Peter-FTT

    Peter-FTT New Member

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    Excellent thread - Been using the AvantiWC mobile app so hadn't noticed seat selector had gone with VT. Mobile app is a duplicate of VT mobile app. With the same bugs :) - Used Trainsplit instead, it selected me initially a rubbish pair of tickets that weren't even together (J14 and J21) but with "Choose my seat" with nice graphics I happily selected a new pair.

    What's the reason to use Trainscanbecheaper rather than Trainsplit?

    I have still never found a cheaper price with trainssplit than I have guessed myself, but one day. Usually travelling from London. Thought previously you could split a ticket on a train that passed through the station rather than stopping at that station, but it seems the regulations say the train must stop at the split. Hence for me it's always split and stay on at Crewe. :)
     
  5. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

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    No, that's only ever been the case with season tickets. Otherwise the train must stop at the splitting station(s).
     
  6. WGWarburton

    WGWarburton Member

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    Hi,
    I'm struggling with Avanti, too. At least I think that's where the problem lies! If anyone can advise how best to do/book the following journey, I'd appreciate it!

    I'm aiming to travel from Dunblane to London for the day: journey is seated sleeper (roughing it, I know but, happily, I can sleep pretty much anywhere), so 00:02 from DBL to EUS; then the best value return seems to be 17:30 EUS to CAR, CAR to EDB and back to DBL: the EUS departure means I don't get hit with a peak fare from KGX but I can be home by midnight.
    If I book this journey through Trainsplit, I get the seat reservation for the sleeper but not for the return leg (attempting to select seats produces an error about invalid train codes). I can't book the sleeper through Avanti and I can't book the Avanti through Caledonian Sleepers...
    If I try through the National Rail website, it wants to route me through Glasgow but I still get "Reservation not possible" if I try to buy through ScotRail, No trains available if I try through Avanti and fare not found through LNER...

    Is there some way to book this journey, or am I trying to do something that's not allowed for some reason?

    Thanks for your input!

    Cheers,
    W.
     
  7. island

    island Established Member

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    Unless you need an online-only fare such as SVH, why not just pop to your local staffed station?
     
  8. WGWarburton

    WGWarburton Member

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    The fare I used was online-only but the main problem is that my local staffed station is some distance away and only open part time, so a bit of a pain to access... are they likely to be help with this? I had assumed that they would just have access to the Scotrail booking system that doesn't seem to be able to arrange Avanti seat reservations...

    Thanks,
    W.
     
  9. Vespa

    Vespa Member

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    Just recently tried to book a train for Londin today....
    Was going to go first class, still no seat selector, I've abandoned my booking before the payment section.
    If the carry on like this I'm going to choose another company.
     
  10. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Just book on trainsplit.com and use the selector there :)
     
  11. Howardh

    Howardh Established Member

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    ...as long as Avanti accept the ticket!!
    I want to go down to London next month but I'm trying to avoid Avanti; might fly or try Manchester/Crewe/Euston and back if it's a different TOC from Crewe.
     
  12. HSP 2

    HSP 2 On Moderation

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    Yes you can do that it depends at what time you want to travel and when you want to come back.
    Try this http://www.fastjp.com/#new
     
  13. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Why wouldn't they? It would be exactly the same ticket as their website would sell...
     
  14. Vespa

    Vespa Member

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    Can they do eTickets that I can print off ?
    Had a go once I got used to it.
    My original plan was to go Monday return Friday 1st class, got quoted £99 considerung the meals is not exactly top notch anyway.

    Booked Sunday to Sunday and paid £51 instead
     
  15. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Yes. My only complaint with Trainsplit e-tickets is the lack of app integration. They otherwise send you a pdf to show on a screen or print.
     
  16. ScottGallagher

    ScottGallagher Member

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    Has this been reinstated yet? If not is there any prospect of it or were they just weathering the initial storm of complaints and hope the issue just fades away !!!
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Yes, I do like having them in the app, though I suppose that app can be Adobe Reader! :D
     
  18. Trackman

    Trackman Member

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    Anyone who watched the AskAvanti webcast today, it was the top moan by the sounds of things.
    They have confirmed it will be coming back in the Autumn.
     
  19. Vespa

    Vespa Member

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    Going to be a long wait, why they got rid of it in the first place is incomprehensible.
     
  20. VT 390

    VT 390 Established Member

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    Any ideas why it will take so long to bring it back on their website?
     
  21. Fawkes Cat

    Fawkes Cat Member

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    Presumably because (if I have understood things properly) it's not something that First Group have previously offered on any of their franchises' websites. So the code will have to be written or bought in, and then tested to make sure that it works properly. And that's just the technical side: someone is going to have to pay for the work to be done, and if the work isn't being done in-house then there will be negotiation with whoever will do the work. All these things take time.
     
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I suspect it was probably a piece of tech developed by Virgin Rail Group who took it with them (booking websites seem generally not to move with the franchise), and First/TI didn't think it important/urgent enough to commission a replacement in time for "go live".

    If VRG won't sell it for a reasonable price (and why would they, given that they have a competitive Open Access proposal in the planning for which it would be a nice sales point?) then they have to have their own built from scratch.
     
  23. VinnieManc

    VinnieManc Member

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    and that there is the correct answer as to why Avanti do not offer seat selection. Whats more irritating is Avanti dont just say "Virgin own the software and wouldnt share, bear with us we're sorting it out"

    much better PR
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I agree. The TOC's persona was from day one, and still is, quite arrogant and abrasive towards customers. They definitely started as they meant to go on. The Twitterers have gone from warm and friendly to rude, aggressive and disparaging in a stroke, and I'm by no means the only one to notice this.

    From day one they should have anticipated this and the replies should have been "really sorry, for contractual reasons we couldn't carry it over, but here's the timescale for reinstating it, and by the way if you're really unhappy with your seat give us a DM and we'll try to find another suitable one for you". I don't think they would have drawn the hate if they had. It was the "why on earth would you want that?" type Twitter responses that really got them off on the wrong foot.

    I just don't get where this attitude has come from - it isn't a FirstGroup thing - the GWR Tweeters don't "massage" things like the VT approach did, but they aren't downright rude despite the long-running onslaughts from the Reading commuters.
     
  25. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    I'm not sure Virgin owned the software for the seat selector.

    Virgin used Trainline for their booking engine and had a seat selector
    XC also use Trainline and they have a seat selector (introduced after Virgin stopped operating XC)
    Avanti also use Trainline

    I'm sure there are some development costs as I'm guessing that Avanti have contracted to use a slimmed down version of Trainline rather than a full fat version that incorporates the seat selector. This will be unbudgeted spend for Avanti which might explain some of the delay.
     
  26. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    I am under the impression that Trainline consider a seat selector to be a premium product and so charge accordingly to use it and that potentially Virgin had an exclusivity deal with Trainline as well regarding the seat selector hence why Avanti are having to come up with a new solution. But that's mostly hearsay!
     
  27. ScottGallagher

    ScottGallagher Member

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    I too watched the webcast and the impression given was they had to build a website from scratch and seat picker wasn't part of it so it sounds like a deliberate choice not to include it rather than Virgin taking their football away. In the first few weeks Avanti were adamant it wasn't coming back, however there must have been one hell of a backlash in complaints to change their minds, people power does work sometimes!
     
  28. Hadders

    Hadders Fares Advisor

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    Building a website from scratch? From a ticket selling point of view they’re using the same version of Trainline that many other TOCs use.

    They just didn’t want to pay Trainline the extra to have seat selector functionality and thought they’d get away with it.

    Clearly not.
     
  29. ScottGallagher

    ScottGallagher Member

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    My thoughts exactly they chanced their arm to save a few pennies short term and failed miserably and now trying to spin it like they are listening to pasengers concerns.
     
  30. DaveB10780

    DaveB10780 Member

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    Yes indeed, and what happened to my favourite journeys, that seems to have vanished as well. Unfortunately for work I have to use them to pay by Amex,
     

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