First class global pass .. no trains. terrible service UK

  • 18 September 2022
  • 7 replies
  • 204 views

Over $800 paid for 2 first class global tickets and the first day we use them London kings cross to Edinburgh we get pushed from platform to platform looking for a train with available seats!  We try to buy reservations at the ticket office and after waiting in line for 30 minutes we are told we cant buy reservations and get in a fight with the ticket clerk.  All this time we are humping luggage and we are both over 70 and nobody seemed to know anything or care for our dilemma. 

On the return leg same thing, girl at info booth says go to platform 2 so we lug over there and wait 20 mins and the train comes in and it’s going north so lug back to info and told platform 8. We go there and the departure board says platform 2 and we hear an announcement to go to platform 2 so we lug back there and wait another 30 mins and a staff member comes walking down the platform telling everyone to go to platform 6.  We lug there and the train is ready to leave so we get on and start looking for seats and end up having to lug our baggage through every car of the train to find available seats.  

What a nightmare!!  We never used the tickets again opting to end our vacation and fly home.


7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

I am absolutely amazed by your experience.

LNER , who operate the Lon-Edi service have an excellent reservation service, both on-line and in station. They advertise reservations up to 5 mins before boarding, which we did only a few weeks ago when we arrived early for our reserved train and they changed in seconds and then welcomed us into the First Class Lounge in Kings Cross for the 20 mins before boarding.

They were clear on the departure boards on platforms, but do not open for boarding until about 10 minutes before departure so it can be a bun-fight for unreserved passengers, especially on peak time trains.

They operate a regular service so finding a reserved seat on a convenient train should have been no problem.

Our experience of the first class section was exemplary, although it was relatively quiet.

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

Yes well, we know that NOW, and that is not what we were told by the woman at kings cross ticket office.  She was adamant that we cannot buy reservations for the same day .. hence why we got into a fight with her to which she told us if we didn’t like it she would refund the passes right there.  Looking back I wish I had! 

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

Yes well, we know that NOW, and that is not what we were told by the woman at kings cross ticket office.  She was adamant that we cannot buy reservations for the same day .. hence why we got into a fight with her to which she told us if we didn’t like it she would refund the passes right there.  Looking back I wish I had! 

You have my sympathy - she ruined your holiday and you would be advised to contact LNER for comment. 

I am though still confused at her reply because when we were in Kings Cross there was a huge publicity for reservations up to 5 mins before departure, both standing boards and on overhead info boards. There were even stand up signs as you entered the ticket office.

In no way would I defend her but remind all that follow you do not “buy” reservations - they are currently free in the UK.

I am also confused with her comment to give you a refund on your passes, I didn’t know they were able to do that in UK ticket offices - I would expect to be pointed to Interrail direct.

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

 

Isn’t the west coast operator called ‘Avanti West Coast’ not ‘Arriva….’?

And isn’t the west coast rail operator unable to run the full timetable due to some shortage of drivers and/or reluctance or refusal of some drivers to work on Sundays (how many times that means they have a shift in a week, a fortnight or a month, I don’t know)?

If both operators ran the full timetabled number of trips, it stands to reason there should be less crowding.

 

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

Yes well, we know that NOW, and that is not what we were told by the woman at kings cross ticket office.  She was adamant that we cannot buy reservations for the same day .. hence why we got into a fight with her to which she told us if we didn’t like it she would refund the passes right there.  Looking back I wish I had! 

You have my sympathy - she ruined your holiday and you would be advised to contact LNER for comment. 

I am though still confused at her reply because when we were in Kings Cross there was a huge publicity for reservations up to 5 mins before departure, both standing boards and on overhead info boards. There were even stand up signs as you entered the ticket office.

In no way would I defend her but remind all that follow you do not “buy” reservations - they are currently free in the UK.

I am also confused with her comment to give you a refund on your passes, I didn’t know they were able to do that in UK ticket offices - I would expect to be pointed to Interrail direct.

I took your advice and put in a complaint with LNER .. we will see if they do anything… Thanks

Userlevel 7
Badge +10

To all those who constantly post that reservations in the UK are at best optional and unnecessary, I remind you that from London there are relatively few mainline rail routes, especially Lon - Scotland (LNER and Arriva west coast) and Lon - the West Country (GWR) and these trains are very busy, especially the LON - EDI route, with reservations highly recommended by the operator. These trains make up to 10 stops and passengers reserve at all these stations, so seats free from London are often needed at future stations.

These reservations are available online and free. See the FAQs below.

https://www.lner.co.uk/faq/on-board/seating/how-do-i-make-a-seat-reservation/

 

Isn’t the west coast operator called ‘Avanti West Coast’ not ‘Arriva….’?

And isn’t the west coast rail operator unable to run the full timetable due to some shortage of drivers and/or reluctance or refusal of some drivers to work on Sundays (how many times that means they have a shift in a week, a fortnight or a month, I don’t know)?

If both operators ran the full timetabled number of trips, it stands to reason there should be less crowding.

 

I stand corrected. It is Avanti not Arriva.

Crowded trains means reservations are even more important. 

OOI Avant averages about 17 in 20 of their scheduled trains to destination on time, 2 in 20 under 30 mins late and 1 in 20 more than 30 mins late

LNER has suffered more staffing issues and strikes but still expects most  (Over 16 in 20) of their scheduled trains to arrive in good time.

 

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