Avanti West Coast recently introduced ‘premium economy, as we reported here.

Eagle-eyed readers will have seen the comments made by Avanti’s MD Phil Whittingham at the end regarding a new first class.

The new first class had a ‘soft’ launch on Monday (September 13) – the official launch will be later when more details will become available.

However Business Traveller can now bring you details of the upgraded catering which is more in keeping with this main rail operator.

This page on Avanti’s website has links to the various menus depending on train type and whether it’s Monday to Friday or at weekends.

As with East Coast operator LNER catering is complimentary for first class passengers.

The main points to note are:

  • Breakfast is served until 1100
  • Lighter dishes and a hot meal served from 1100
  • Healthy options available
  • Unique and quality products made by local suppliers along the route

The last of these reminds me of what GNER offered when it held the East Coast franchise.

I have checked the first class fares and as you might expect they are expensive especially in the peak.

For Monday September 20, a one-way Advance fare for London-Manchester was priced at £227.80 on the 0840 departure from Euston.

Were I to take the 0940 off-peak train the Advance fare would be £139.80 one-way.

Remember these fares were checked on Thursday afternoon. Prices may have risen by the time you read these words.

I ought to point out that the flexible first class return for this route (based on time of travel) are either £326.20 or £510.

The obvious question now is how LNER will respond. A note on its website tells customers to look out for new “Dish” and “Dine” menus in the autumn.

Maybe our recent report on LNER’s afternoon tea service is a taste of things to come.

LNER poised to introduce traditional afternoon tea