East Coast – Nothing has improved

Due to the lack of flight availability over this weekend we are travelling to London by train. I used to use the train quite a bit, but found some of the customer service pretty lacking, so today we climbed aboard the 9.30am train to London Kings X quite looking forward to seeing what has changed over the last few years.

The answer simply is NOTHING! The first problem which luckily didn’t impact us was seat reservations. A great number of tourists climbed into the First Class carriage to find that their seat reservation numbers didn’t exist. The pandemonium that ensued was a sight to see, the platform staff got on board to try and sort out telling the customers (I will call them this!) to sit anywhere as the expected train was diesel but this one was electric so the seating configuration was different.

I can’t quite imagine BA trying to get 100 passengers onto a 50 seat flight, everyone had paid and had a seat reservation. Once the train set off it was back to the quality catering, Claire has had milk, coffee and tea spilled on her 4 times between Edinburgh and York. That’s a record!

I am looking forward to the allocated quarter of sandwich coming round soon.

When we arrived in Newcastle a lovely old lady got on with a team member providing some help with luggage (nice I hear you say), it was good, up until the point the stand up row ensued with the staff member shouting at the customer told to sit “anywhere” in Edinburgh being physically ejected from the seat.

The train leaves the station platform with the staff member on board, he has not been seen since, but may enjoy a day out in London!!

So, East Coast, a few things:

  1. Weekend catering should be the same as during the week, why differentiate the service
  2. Price I hear you say – charge more – it looks like the people in the First Class carriage can afford it
  3. Catering yield management – allocate more than 1/2 sandwich per person – doesn’t seem unreasonable.
  4. Staff training and communication – we are customers – and yes the customer is always right….or use one our proverbs “Treat Customers as I would want to be treated”

A two tier First Class service just doesn’t work.

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