This is a quick look at the festive catering on Virgin Trains East Coast. Prior to Christmas Eve there were some festive changes to the menus but the offering would still be of the style expected for the particular train (e.g. the Evening Meal menu on certain departures from Kings Cross).
Today, Monday 4th January 2016, is a bank holiday in Scotland and not England this is because Scotland get two days off for New Year and as the 2nd was on a Saturday it was carried forward to the Monday.
As it's not a holiday in England today will be the first day in the office for many people in 2016. Those travelling to work on Virgin Trains East Coast this morning in first class were probably looking forward to their complimentary breakfast.
Virgin Trains East Coast are offering 30% off advance fares through a promotion callled 'Flirty 30'. If you didn't receive the email about it I've provided all the details needed here.
There's a number of major dates excluded from this promotion. Excluded travel dates are 19 December 2015 to 3 January 2016 inclusive, 12 to 21 February 2016 inclusive and 24 to 28 March 2016 inclusive. If you're not seeing the discount this could be the reason why.
November had a Nectar promotion for double points which we have already covered. Now in December they have this offer where if you book a ticket you will get a 1000 point 'Christmas bonus', 1000 Nectar points are worth £5.
We're not happy that VTEC are continuing to stir the Nectar pot. Those who remember East Coast Rewards don't want constant reminders about Nectar and how poor the scheme is. If Nectar needs to be mentioned why so prominently, all it does is cause resentment.
Along with the introduction of the new First Class menus they have introduced a new style of service. I have been told this is a trial so please give your feedback whether good or bad. Remember that people are more likely to give feedback if they're unhappy, so if you are enjoying the new style then it's critical that you're heard too.
UPDATE: although I still feel it was a big omission excluding first class fares I have found a silver lining. There's some exceedingly good fares for relatively short journeys (for example Newcastle to York, Berwick or Edinburgh or London to Peterborough or Grantham). For example you can do Newcastle to Edinburgh for £10.85, this would make a great day trip or Newcastle to York for £6.30.
I'm certainly no fan of Black Friday but I do enjoy travelling VTEC and can't resist a bargain.
So I was looking forward to this EPIC sale...
When myself (Dave) and Dan set up Save East Coast Rewards in January I never expected things to turn out quite the way they did. Back in January we feared that cutting the loyalty scheme from day one (something even National Express didn't do) was going to be the start of a massive decline of a generally popular service.
We've already written about the double points Nectar promotion and how it's still a rubbish deal.
However, what's surprising is that Virgin Trains East Coast have been sending out emails to members who have Flying Club in their profile encouraging them to sign up with Nectar.
Compared to rewards scheme we used to have Nectar is a rubbish scheme. Even compared to other supermarket schemes it does not perform well, as shown on NoToNectar. However, if you collect Nectar points because they're 'better than nothing' you really should be booking all your rail travel through a FirstGroup site.
First of all I'd like to apologise on behalf of Save East Coast Rewards to those organising the first HackTrain event in March. March was the first month of operation of Virgin Trains East Coast and there was a lot of anger that they scrapped an excellent rewards scheme and replaced it with one of the worst in the UK. At the time it felt like VTEC were ignoring us and our Twitter followers who are regular travellers on the East Coast route, we genuinely thought that scrapping the rewards scheme was going to be the first of many cutbacks.