LNER have announced today they've launched a new 'family' ticket. The idea of this ticket is it gives you a fixed price for upto two adults and four children (but there must be at least one adult and one child) as long as you book at least a week in advance and there's availability on the train you choose to travel on.
One of the key things I'd like to see LNER improve is the information that they send their passengers. The go to page for information should be the 'Service updates' page with more important information also sent out via Twitter. If a customer has booked direct important service information should be sent by email or SMS (depending on contact preferences).
Virgin Trains East Coast abolished the first class quiet coaches when the timetable changed in May. The messaging around this was quite patronising. On the quiet coach page of the VTEC website it said "We're listening" and then claimed they were getting rid of the quiet coach due to customer demand.
VTEC sent an email to passengers affected by this change. The email said
It's almost been a month since LNER started, initial impressions do seem like it's business as usual, everything (good and bad) continues as before except for things that were tied to the Virgin brand (BEAM, Flying Club and Virgin Red). LNER had the misfortune to start operations at the beginning of a heatwave which meant a number of air conditioning failures which put extra pressure on the maintenance team.
The VTEC website is going down for one last time tonight (Thursday 21 June) and when it comes back it will be the LNER site. This is highly unusual as the websites usually change overnight on the day of the franchise switchover.
What we don't know for certain is whether Nectar will still be around when the site comes back up. If it returns without Nectar some people will be saying "see you're even worse off now, you've got nothing" while others will be disappointed if Nectar is still there.
I've heard from a number of people who are concerned that nothing will change. We've mentioned before that there is very little change at the top, the MD will be transferring to LNER as will almost all the existing directors. Understandably many think this will be just like Virgin with a new label slapped on and some say it's still Stagecoach in all but name.
This is a quote from one member of disappointed staff
I had the same optimism until the retention of the VTEC Directors was announced. I have lost all hope of ever seeing the ECML back where it should be.
Like most blog posts (barring a few by ^EM) this blog is written by ^DH and represents his own views which may differ from the campaign as a whole. We're currently working on an official 'Save East Coast Rewards' statement which may differ from this and also considering what direction the campaign should take going forward (including a possible name change to indicate this is about the InterCity East Coast franchise as a whole, not just about Rewards).
On 1st June 2018 Virgin Trains East Coast announced their support for Pride Month on Twitter. Using a screenshot here as the logo has now been changed.