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

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Terrier

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It's worth remembering also that the trains are shortly going to begin a major internal refurb which will also mean not only a seat layout change but also changes to the designation of coaches & possible coach Lettering. It's going to take 3 years to fully refurb so if seat selector is introduced then we're going to have a situation where someone has booked a seat in a particular seat/coach and it's a refurbished unit that turns up and the seat won't exist. Can therefore see why it's going to take time as the final details of the Refurb are still being finalised and if they any sense they will have to block off the seats which are going to be gone
 

Bletchleyite

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It's worth remembering also that the trains are shortly going to begin a major internal refurb
which will also mean not only a seat layout change but also changes to the designation of coaches & possible coach Lettering.
No, Avanti have explicitly said it will not mean either of those things. The seat layout is not changing as changing the reservation displays around is seen as too complex.
 

Terrier

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No, Avanti have explicitly said it will not mean either of those things. The seat layout is not changing as changing the reservation displays around is seen as too complex.
Whilst the majority won't be changing they are removing some seats out of 4/5 coaches and replacing with luggage racks so there will have to be some renumbering take place. Coach G is to be converted into a Standard Coach to give a uniform 3 first class coaches as well. Also the seat configuration will be changing in First class/ Premier Class
 

Hadders

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They could incorporate those changes into a seat selector. It seems to me as though they just grossly under estimated the need for a seat selector and have been found wanting.
 

Terrier

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They could incorporate those changes into a seat selector. It seems to me as though they just grossly under estimated the need for a seat selector and have been found wanting.
I'm sure they will, my point was they'll have to do a Seat Selector but then could have the situation, as trains are refurbished, that the train doesn't match the seat selector.
Think in all honesty they did underestimate it as I believe only 2 other Tocs have the facility and none of these are First Group ones?
 

Bletchleyite

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Whilst the majority won't be changing they are removing some seats out of 4/5 coaches and replacing with luggage racks so there will have to be some renumbering take place. Coach G is to be converted into a Standard Coach to give a uniform 3 first class coaches as well. Also the seat configuration will be changing in First class/ Premier Class
Evidence? Avanti said themselves that none of those things would be taking place - have they changed their mind?

Removing seats and replacing with luggage racks does not require renumbering, by the way, you just block those seats from reservation, so if they're there they are available, if not they're a luggage rack.

In any case it's not a reason not to have a seat selector because the selector can deal with multiple configurations, it could up to the franchise change handle the 4 types of train available (9/11 Pendolino, 5/10 Voyager) also noting that coach F layout differs between the two Pendolino lengths.
 

jfollows

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Avanti did not consider the needs, expectations and requirements of its customers, is my interpretation.

Just because something had been provided by the previous operator did not mean that it had to be offered by Avanti, of course, but I think most of us who thought about this properly realised what an error it was not to offer the seat selector.

Avanti has carried on in the same vein, I fear, by its recent treatment of passengers booked to travel on a bad weather Sunday when it told them not to travel but to travel instead after mid-day on the Monday. Again, clearly to me, this was not going to meet the requirements and expectations of many of the people who had booked tickets.

I have yet to see a significant change in this mind-set from the new operator, they seem not to realise that Virgin's reputation was mainly founded on its customer service rather than its day-to-day operation. When things are working well, it's relatively easy to run a company. It's when things go wrong that inadequacies show up. To date the new West Coast operator has shown up poorly on this basis, I think.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Avanti did not consider the needs, expectations and requirements of its customers, is my interpretation.

Just because something had been provided by the previous operator did not mean that it had to be offered by Avanti, of course, but I think most of us who thought about this properly realised what an error it was not to offer the seat selector.

Avanti has carried on in the same vein, I fear, by its recent treatment of passengers booked to travel on a bad weather Sunday when it told them not to travel but to travel instead after mid-day on the Monday. Again, clearly to me, this was not going to meet the requirements and expectations of many of the people who had booked tickets.

I have yet to see a significant change in this mind-set from the new operator, they seem not to realise that Virgin's reputation was mainly founded on its customer service rather than its day-to-day operation. When things are working well, it's relatively easy to run a company. It's when things go wrong that inadequacies show up. To date the new West Coast operator has shown up poorly on this basis, I think.
What I find peculiar about this is that (a) as I understand it, Virgin's entire workforce was TUPE'd across, so we have the same people doing the same jobs as this time last year, and (b) First have substantial experience of running an intercity franchise in the UK (GWR) so you would think that anyone new to the West Coast would have knowledge (or at the very least have been recruited by people with knowledge) of the British intercity culture. And yet it has happened. So something else must have changed.
 

jfollows

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What I find peculiar about this is that (a) as I understand it, Virgin's entire workforce was TUPE'd across, so we have the same people doing the same jobs as this time last year, and (b) First have substantial experience of running an intercity franchise in the UK (GWR) so you would think that anyone new to the West Coast would have knowledge (or at the very least have been recruited by people with knowledge) of the British intercity culture. And yet it has happened. So something else must have changed.
I completely agree with your first observation; I'm not experienced enough with (b) to comment but it sounds reasonable. On the first one, I can say that the on-board service with the new franchise has been pretty much unchanged from the previous one - no better, no worse - and that'd be expected given that it's the same people providing it. So on the "what's changed" it looks like the people who operate the trains, and it looks like they're operating under a completely different perspective. I'd say that it's as if they're looking primarily at the outputs of the operation in terms of money coming out versus costs of money going in, and looking to maximise their profit. Well, clearly without profit it's hard to run a company, and all businesses need to do this, but if it's now hard for them to understand what their paying customers expect and require, then that's a recipe for failure in the long term. But, as you say, a little perplexing if it's the same people now operating in a different way.
 

Bletchleyite

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What I find peculiar about this is that (a) as I understand it, Virgin's entire workforce was TUPE'd across, so we have the same people doing the same jobs as this time last year, and (b) First have substantial experience of running an intercity franchise in the UK (GWR) so you would think that anyone new to the West Coast would have knowledge (or at the very least have been recruited by people with knowledge) of the British intercity culture. And yet it has happened. So something else must have changed.
With Twitter it's most remarkable - they are the same people, yet overnight they went from friendly, helpful and approachable to snarky and sarcastic, and I am not the only one to notice that. So why is that? Have First told them to change their attitude, or do they just hate their job now because either (a) it's First, or (b) something they've done to how they are treated?

(a) shouldn't really be true, as the GWR Tweeters are good in my experience.
 

Howardh

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With Twitter it's most remarkable - they are the same people, yet overnight they went from friendly, helpful and approachable to snarky and sarcastic, and I am not the only one to notice that. So why is that? Have First told them to change their attitude, or do they just hate their job now because either (a) it's First, or (b) something they've done to how they are treated?
I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel that. Twice (return so four times) I've been in first class, and twice I've arrived totally unimpressed, the on-board service has been sullen at best. So much so that I now actively avoid them, ie my next trip instead of a train to London or the south, I'm flying to Schipol with FlyBe for about the same as a 1st class Avanti ticket.
 

Fawkes Cat

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I suppose that the new owners may have launched internally with a slogan something like 'new company, new attitude' - but I would have expected this to have something behind it (however platitudinous - 'our customers are our business' lifeblood, so we must aim to delight them' - we all know the sort of thing). As it stands, the slogan (if there was a slogan) seems to only be backed up with 'we're new, so don't do it like Virgin. It doesn't matter if it's worse - just do it different.'

I'm really hoping my analysis is wrong.
Because if I am right, it doesn't suggest ownership with a grasp of what they are doing.
 

Fawkes Cat

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Twice (return so four times) I've been in first class, and twice I've arrived totally unimpressed, the on-board service has been sullen at best
Picking up on this particular point, my (also two return journeys) first class experience from the staff has been much the same as ever. But we did have a weekend trip down to London where we happened to be booked in the same seats out on Friday and back again on the Monday. On the outward journey, I wasn't greatly impressed with the housekeeping in that there was a sachet of pepper in the middle of the corridor. On the way back, we must have happened to get the same set back - in that our friend Mr Pepper-Sachet was still stuck to the floor. Again, this doesn't say much for cleaning the stock.
 

VT 390

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I'm sure they will, my point was they'll have to do a Seat Selector but then could have the situation, as trains are refurbished, that the train doesn't match the seat selector.
Think in all honesty they did underestimate it as I believe only 2 other Tocs have the facility and none of these are First Group ones?
I thought that TransPennine Express had a seat selector, is this no longer the case?
 

Trackman

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Whilst the majority won't be changing they are removing some seats out of 4/5 coaches and replacing with luggage racks so there will have to be some renumbering take place. Coach G is to be converted into a Standard Coach to give a uniform 3 first class coaches as well. Also the seat configuration will be changing in First class/ Premier Class
This is what Avanti confirmed last week:
First Class is not changing (as the demand is there) , it will have a makeover and the seats will be re-upholstered. I imagine they can lock out the so-called 'Premier class' on busy first class services, but that's me speaking and for another thread.
Standard class: The seats are being ripped out and being replaced with new ergonomic ones with a bigger headrest and extra leg room. Also no promise of extra standard seats, but they are looking into it ( I take that as a no!).

All seats will have and quote 'Cool technology' to suss out if you are sitting in your seat.
If you don't sit in your reserved seat it will free it up.
Also if you are sitting in your reserved seat and want to move, you can use an on-the-fly seat selector to change seats.
It's going to be trialled at first.
 

Bletchleyite

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I believe the "Premier Class" is just Eurostar (or BR Weekend First) style - one of the 1st coaches will be sold as that, and it'll be 1st seats without freebies. So nothing to "lock out" but I expect it may well only be offered off-peak, and I wouldn't be totally surprised if at weekends it took up the entire of First Class, or maybe all bar coach K.
 

Trackman

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I believe the "Premier Class" is just Eurostar (or BR Weekend First) style - one of the 1st coaches will be sold as that, and it'll be 1st seats without freebies. So nothing to "lock out" but I expect it may well only be offered off-peak, and I wouldn't be totally surprised if at weekends it took up the entire of First Class, or maybe all bar coach K.
Never thought of that, being off-peak only.
 

mancunian lady

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I see Avanti have now started sending out promotional discount offers - I've just been emailed one that offers a 20% reduction on advance fares, but only if you book direct through their own website. No doubt they've suffered from people using TrainSplit.com in order to be able to select seats, and are trying to entice us all back. I shall use the discount for a train journey when I know it will be quiet and I'll be able to move seats, but after that I'll revert back to TrainSplit.com.
 

mancunian lady

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I see Avanti have now started sending out promotional discount offers - I've just been emailed one that offers a 20% reduction on advance fares, but only if you book direct through their own website. No doubt they've suffered from people using TrainSplit.com in order to be able to select seats, and are trying to entice us all back. I shall use the discount for a train journey when I know it will be quiet and I'll be able to move seats, but after that I'll revert back to TrainSplit.com.
In fact, the publicity says: 'Here’s your exclusive discount code to use on your next booking. And, that’s just for starters. Save money, earn rewards and enjoy exclusive benefits when you book direct.' - clearly they're trying to lure customers to their own website.
 

Terrier

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Speaking to a staff member it seems as though at the moment it's just ticking along. They've been told things will change within the next 2 years but have no statements or brand values even yet or no real information on what the future holds with the refurbished trains, services, tickets or even what the 1000 committed obligations are . The company seem to keeping things close to their chest.
There was an element of Virgin being seen as too 'fluffy' at times in their words and as a result they were being taken advantage of by certain people so for some staff it feels like a release from that I guess but some seem to have taken it to an extreme. I'm sure (or hoping) that things will improve over the coming months and years for us who travel and the staff as well
 

captainpp

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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.
They seemed to be this on today's 16:52 from Edinburgh Waverley to Euston. The train manager announced twice, once before departure and then during standard class ticket check, that if you had an advanced ticket and weren't sitting in your reserved seat your ticket wasn't valid. He didn't enforce it on me, sitting in 1st Class (not in my reserved seat).
 

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