Sunday, 9 December 2012

Eurostar let down by partner?

As I tweeted last night (and with apologies to my non-UK readers who will find this post more than usually uninteresting)

Great service from @EurostarUK, but why do they consistently put my booked National Rail seat in an area prioritised for the disabled?

and then having realised that this was not the fault of Eurostar but of 'First Great Western' (which is a very odd name because there was a Great Western long long before this 'first' one).

Great service from @EurostarUK, but why do @FGW issue seat bookings with three digits when the seats only have two digits?

@FGW and @Burtshire both replied to me **with the former** asking whether I was confusing the coach letter with a number[**Corrected with apology to @Burtshire]

@Burtshire  No. Coach D seat 820 (which means 82 but has caused altercations) and is still marked as a seat to be given up for disabled @FGW

@FGW Thanks for replying - but Coach D (not a digit when I last checked) seat 820 (and yes that's a zero). That happens every time.

Eurostar did reply too.  This is their only mistake in the whole matter.

@plasma_engineer Hello, unfortunately at present the booking process on our website does not allow a choice of seating for domestic services

which smacks a little of abdication, and

@plasma_engineer It may be worth calling FGW on 08457 000125 to see if they are able to change the seating for you, subject to availability

Just how am I supposed to know in advance that my seat is one that is reserved for the disabled?  @FGW seems not to know, so how could I?  It would have been nicer to hear them say that they would take the matter up with their supplier.  However, I'm still a fan of Eurostar and a detractor of UK National rail in general.

And as I promised to @burtshire, here is a photo of the reservations.

First Great Western train seat reservation oddities, UK
First Great Western seat reservation oddities!

Although this by no means a matter of life or death, having got a seat reservation for the first or last 45 minutes of my journey I do rather take exception to the risk of not being able to use it.

Perhaps it shows something more subtle about the relationship between Eurostar and First Great Western.  Eurostar sells FGW/Underground tickets at a very favourable discount.  I can imagine FGW regarding these passengers as a lower class than their usual 'cattle class'.

And that really IS saying something!

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