I found the service to be very good, we were delayed for over an hour whilst on the train as the train in front had hit something. The updates from the train guard and virgin trains twitter page were updated almost immediate. My only critism is that there could have been a free cup of tea offered as a lot of us had been travelling for hours and were in need of a cuppa by late evening! Overall though I have never had a problem with Virgin.
I am an avid user of virgin trains due to being around 3 hours away from home whilst at university.
There are many things that frustrate me about the service.
1)When i pay full price for a ticket for my journey home that consists of 2 trains and my ticket doesn't even get checked. This means that there are probably a large amount of people getting the train places for free whilst I'm paying full wack to sit in a seat.
2)You are given seat reservations but there is most likely always someone sat in your seat so you don't bother and sit somewhere else and then end up getting moved because you are in someone else's seat.
3)When you make the effort to buy a ticket in advance to try and save yourself a bit of money. There is no way of cancelling it. Even if your not going to use it and just want to cancel it so a seat is free for someone else. You can't do it. Nevermind get some kind of credit to use towards a future ticket.
4) Everywhere you go these days they are rewards cards and loyalty cards and occasionally send you offers and discounts…not virgin….i spend a ridiculous amount of money with them and as a loyal customer i feel that you are never rewarded.
5) The one time i forget my railcard, bearing mind most of the time my ticket doesn't even get checked, someone asks me for it to which point i explain my problem and even go to the extent of showing them a picture of my rail card, the emails i get from the railcard company and proof of purchase…..they charged me for another full price ticket onto of the one that i had already brought. So much for being a loyal customer. And to follow we had to stand in the isles as the train was so full whilst first class was empty and the conductor tried charging us for standing in the hallway between two carriages.
6) The process for claiming money back for delayed trains is very difficult. They want every little detail down to the very minute of your departure. If my train is late and i miss the purpose of my journey, i have wasted money for nothing.
However after my complaining i must note that the trains i use are most of the time warm an comfortable and with exceptions the staff on board are very helpful if you need information. Definitely room for improvement though.
Bought 2 tickets to Liverpool 2nd class, paid £300. Wanted to upgrade to 1st class 1 day later and was told that I need to buy NEW tickets if I want to travel via First Class. I couldn't exchange or cancel them either. This isn't a customer friendly company at all, I can see now how they make such profits!
I bought a ticket for a journey to Bolton From Brighton. Due to losing one of many pieces of paper (but still having proof of buying the ticket from Th Trainline I was forced to pay £99 on top of £44 I already paid to travel.
I went to the Virgin ticket desk in London Euston and spoke to a (Team Leader and refused to give his name). He refused to refund me or do anything to help. I then tried to get on the 18:40 train but was refused (even though I have two tickets. The train manager (who also wouldn't give her surname) was rude, patronising and unsympathetic in refusing to let me get on the train.
Virgin Trains are amazing. I can't imagine travelling North-South with anyone else now. Their carriages are always clean and smart, their shops have lots of choice (I mean, for a train, it's impressive!) and at least there's a real person that talks to you over the tannoy and not a plink-plonk recording!
Also need to note one incident at a certain UK station where, travelling back late at night, I was getting heckled by a clearly wasted, burly man in the waiting room who was, of course, drinking in there. I defended myself and walked quickly away from the situation. Luckily, there happened to be a member of Virgin Trains staff on the other platform. I ran over to her and told her what had happened, in case other people would walk into the same trap.
I wish I could remember her name but she left her spot (she was waiting for a train home herself!), checked out the situation, assured me it was safe, alerted other staff and even walked back across and waited with me for my train - even though hers was leaving soon after mine!
£140 for a standard class ticket booked a week in advance from Manchester to London- train arrived 2 hours late and so i was 2 hours late for my train home - but that pushed me into the 'peak time' for returns, so regardless of the fact that it was their fault i was late they tried to charge me an EXTRA £125 for a new ticket !!! I refused to pay and the train manager threatened to get the police to throw me off the train, i refused and we ended up in a big argument he eventually just ignored me but it was humiliating and very stressful. AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL and - its double the cost of flying.
I travel on Virgin trains from Preston or Manchester to London fairly recently - I got used to traveling first class when work paid I no longer travel on business to London and if I did, they wouldn't pat first class - However, by planning ahead and being flexible on the travel times, I've found that I can get reasonably priced first class tickets which are better value that driving. If I can't get first class, I don't travel. However, the number of affordable first class tickets does mean that first class has started to get a lot busier and the service can be varied. Usually, the stewards are friendly and helpful but occasionally, there is the odd steward who is not quite up to standard The only time I've been really disappointed with the service has been when the train was de-classified - I suspect it was the same day that another reviewer was traveling - I was lucky to get my seat but the train was horrendously full with a lot of less than sober football fans who hadn't been able to get on their train to Liverpool - I heard that extra trains where being put on to cope with the situation but it was chaotic at Euston and I suspect there were just a lot of people who jumped on any train heading north - So not really the fault of Virgin trains
For my 50th birthday I didn't want a party or celebration at home but instead to travel by train to London in first class. Memories of being a student and sitting on a case in the aisles or in a draughty corridor outside the toilets was to be times long gone. This is the return leg of the journey. We did have reserved seats but no means of getting into the correct carriage to get to them. When we were told to get into this carriage the train manager let my husband and daughter board the train and tried to stop me as he said the train was full. As you can see from the photo this is what it is like nowadays. The gentleman at the forefront of the picture actually gave up his seat for most of the journey so that I didn't have to sit on the floor. The 2 others of my family who were with me, including my husband who is still recovering from a stroke last year, had to stay on the floor together with others. No-one could use the toilets as the nearest one was blocked and as people were either sitting or standing throughout the whole of the train you couldn't access any other toilets either. No-one could buy or be served any food or drink. They even had to stop the train outside Milton Keynes to hook us onto another engine due to the numbers of people in the train, and then we had to travel at reduced speed. At one point the train manager even passed bottles of water along the train 'to be given to children and infants only'. This is certainly one birthday trip I shall not forget and I shall keep contacting Virgin until we get a response, an apology and a refund.
Well i have complained to Virgintrains and i am still waiting for my reply its been 7 WEEKS Now not even acknowledgement, there trains are horrible smelly and the staff look scruffy. you cancelled my train no explanation and no apology you cost me my holiday by 1 day as i missed my flight many thanks