Some of you may recall our piece in 2019 where we told you about Avanti West Coast wanting to have ‘premium economy’.
Well it’s finally happened. Today Avanti West Coast has announced a Standard Premium class which is now available to travellers.
The product has been on trial since last year. Indeed one lucky traveller found himself enjoying the extra space and so on in December.
Missed prepaid train, Euston to Birmingham an hour ago with @AvantiWestCoast. Cost of new ticket £103. Ticket office provided new ticket £0 & said "Merry Christmas" arrived at train & was offered free premium upgrade as part of a trial 😀. 1st class service. 🥇Avanti 👏 thank you pic.twitter.com/5kfQleyriJ
— Ch Supt Paul Dutton (@SuptPaulDutton) December 17, 2020
Regular users on the West Coast Mainline will know that the Pendolinos were delivered to Virgin Trains (the former operator) with excess first class capacity. So Avanti is simply allocating some surplus first class seating to this new Standard Premium class.
Standard Premium is initially offered on a walk-up basis, with travellers paying a supplement according to distance. In other words, it costs £15 extra for London-Birmingham or £30 for London-Glasgow.
From July it will be possible to book Advance fares for travel from September onwards. Avanti says it will also introduce an improved first class.
In truth Avanti is emulating other international train operators. Here I refer to Eurostar, Thalys, TGV Lyria and the two domestic Italian high-speed operators. This is hardly surprising seeing as Trenitalia is involved with Avanti.
Phil Whittingham, MD at Avanti West Coast, commented:
“This is the first major step in our transformation of services on the West Coast.
“Together with our upcoming first class which will lead the industry, and the complete refurbishment of the Pendolino fleet, Standard Premium will set a new benchmark for UK rail travel.”