Virgin East Coast, amazing service recovery.Back to Forum
I travelled recently from London Kings Cross to Leeds in First Class. The trip was a disappointment all the way.
I was rudely snarled at by ticket checker at the barrier from the Virgin First Lounge. At the train I was told that the First Quiet carriage had been closed due to “company policy”…annoying. Then they announced that the “normal First catering” was not available, only sandwiches, which turned out to be quite awful wraps. Finally the wifi was broken. So all in all a poor First experience.
After the trip, I wrote to the CEO of Virgin East Coast. I received a rapid reply from “himself”, followed in quick time by a follow up a reply from the customer service director.
There was a sympathetic explanation of their failures, copious apologies and then….no qualms, a refund of my fare covering my complete journey, end to end PLUS the offer of an open dated complimentary First Class return to and from any destination on Virgin East Coast as a further apology, because we “really appreciate our Premium passengers”.
Now, that is service recovery. One can only hope that certain UK airline bosses can listen and learn!24 Jun 2017
That’s fantastic. Fronting up to the failure, putting it right and then giving you something that costs them next to nothing, but is worth a lot to you.
Makes a change from ‘I agree that we let you down, but we must be fair to all our passengers, so **** off’.24 Jun 2017
Good to hear that VTEC values its first class passengers.
Hopefully the product will become more consistent when VTEC’s electic Hitachi trainsets (manufactured in County Durham) enter service from next year.
The current rolling stock, which comprises both HS diesel and electric trainsets, is life-expired. It dates back to the early 1980s. It is used intensively and I would imagine that there is little if any time (given the sort turnarounds) during the working day to correct service faults and so on.26 Jun 2017
And not a one-off Openfly. I have had exactly the same experience following two poor trips with my wife, one from Edinburgh to Aberdeen using £35 (total) advanced first singles and the other on an Edinburgh to London single. On both occasions, like you, the CEO got back to my email within a day of each of the separate complaints and the follow-up letter a couple of days later from his Operations Manager, containing two open first class returns to anywhere on the network also on both occasions by way of an apology. Considering the original cost of the tickets this was more than generous and a brilliant recovery as you say, certain airlines take note. I’m also sure that both of them will have taken steps to rectify the problems, particularly the staff related ones.26 Jun 2017
I find it so refreshing that a travel company genuinely appreciates its customers feedback. Virgin East Coast is setting some high standards with its service, under difficult circumstances with the elderly trains. As Alex says, with the new trains next year, the product should be so impressive.26 Jun 2017
Unfortunately despite VTEC’s best efforts the East Coast franchise is proving as troublesome as it did with previous operators National Express and GNER. (The last operator, East Coast, was govt-owned so not included here)28 Jun 2017
They are complaining they don’t get enough pax yet VTEC themselves have increased fares atleast three times since they took over the franchise and are requesting more taxpayer subsidy to add to their profits.
The service however was best run by the government owned East Coast if only for the short while before the ugly face of capitalism took over.29 Jun 2017
I have been avoiding anything with Virgin’s name attached to it for decades. Every time I tried anything Virgin I get very disappointed and swear never to do it again. There must be something about Virgin’s founder and CEO which seems to have tasteless and cheap. Why is that?5 Jul 2017
Airtravel104 – In fact the Virgin name is used mainly as branding for VTEC.
As explained in our current news piece VTEC is primarily a Stagecoach company.
VTEC is 90 per cent owned by Stagecoach. Virgin holds just 10 per cent.5 Jul 2017
I’ve used VT quite a lot in the last few years, mainly WC to LPL, MAN, and Chester, and almost exclusively First class, which may make a difference to the treatment received, and have generally found them very good. Sometimes the trains are not as clean as one might wish, and I get a bit irritated when you pay a F fare and then at weekends they let the hoi polloi in for a fiver or so. Overall I think they offer good service and value.5 Jul 2017
For anyone wishing to sample VTEC’s first class at a bargain price it will be worth considering next week’s seat sale.
As already noted in our Online news VTEC is struggling to pay its franchise fees. This sale is an easy way to raise cash now that we’re running into the holiday season when there will be more empty seats to fill.8 Jul 2017
Well tried them earlier this week (London – Leeds). While the seats were comfy, staff looked disillusioned, particularly when they told be my choice was bacon roll or yogourt as due to shortage of staff, they didn’t have the time to load the eggs… Since I was paying normal fare, I only moderately appreciated the comment and lack of service…18 Aug 2017