An update

In the interests of transparency I thought I'd explain why some of the blog posts have changed. Specifically the ones that referenced someone from VTEC who was speaking at eCommerce Show North earlier this week. Yesterday I was asked by someone at VTEC who I have been in contact in the past to remove the specific references to the individual. 

VTEC and happy customers

Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) do talk so much nonsense and the marketing press lap it up! I don't know if it's because it's a group of people who like to pat each other on the back to appear competent or whether they just take what VTEC say at face value. The mainstream press are also guilty of copy and pasting VTEC press releases (usually incorrectly adding a picture of a west coast Pendolino or Voyager to show how little knowledge they have) without any critical questioning.

Virgin Trains EC flawed eCommerce strategy

A year ago (2016) I felt positive about the future of Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC). Apart from the loyalty scheme things seemed to be going in the right direction. In August last year Kristal Ireland was given the role of head of eCommerce and retail and all the articles I could find about her showed that she was very highly regarded in the industry. It seemed like VTEC had made the right decision.

This time last year...

This time last year British Airways announced the end of complimentary catering in shorthaul economy class and the introduction of buy on board M&S catering from January 2017. At the time I was no happy with the news and thought I'd cut out domestic flights completely in 2017. In 2016 most of my domestic travel was by train and I didn't see this changing. I would occasionally fly if I needed to travel at short notice and booking a reward fare with Avios worked out cheaper than a last minute train ticket.

Advance tickets and common sense

As usual posts in the blog section reflect the views of the contributor and may not reflect the views of others involved in Save East Coast Rewards.

The current rule with advance tickets is that you must start and finish your journey at the ticketed destination and the specified trains. You should not leave the train at an earlier station or join at a later station. It is one of the drawbacks of advance tickets, they offer no flexibility but in return you get cheaper fares.

WiFi for £1.30

Most of you know you can get WiFi for free if you book direct on virgintrainseastcoast.com but if you have to book tickets through a different site for work or someone else bought your tickets it's possible you don't have a WiFi code. Add to that the fact that the new VTEC website is incomplete and is missing features such as bike reservations and catering vouchers there's a number of reasons why you might want to book elsewhere.

Why I want the best for East Coast

I first started regularly travelling GNER in 1999. They were the first operator on the East Coast Mainline to take over from British Rail and they were the company that gave me my love of rail travel and the appreciation of the East Coast Mainline offering a much more special service than you'd get elsewhere.

Even though I travelled exclusively in standard class at the time GNER still seemed special. It was the people who made (and still make) the service special. 

Missing features and rough edges

The new Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC) booking engine is now live. We pleaded with them not to release it until it was ready and key features were implemented but they decided to press ahead with it anyway. The previous WebTIS booking engine had its origins with GNER and is nearly 10 years old. Regular travellers along the east coast have come to rely on the functionality it provided.

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