Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seduced by a flapjack


Oooh, first class is nice!
I took advantage of my upgrade this morning, as mentioned in yesterday's post. The empty carriage was a haven of calm in which I was able to concentrate on reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (children's version, I'm not one of those who needs to pretend to be reading a grown-up book) without having to listen to the usual babble of people on their mobile phones and children on their summer holidays.
Then, even better, a man appeared, offering tea and cake! Flustered at such generosity, I took the nearest, a date and honey flapjack, and extremely nice it was too.
I can see why the First Class ticket holders wouldn't want to give up this kind of treatment. There was even a copy of the Times newspaper tucked unobtrusively into the pocket of the seat back. I had no need of this, being fully armed with a large hardbacked book, as previously mentioned, but put it into my bag anyway. It's not often you get anything free from First Great Western, and I wanted to make the most of it.
Well, I'm sold. Delays feel much better when there's a man poised by your elbow offering a selection of hot drinks and cake. If FGW realised this, they'd give out a few biscuits to customers in cattle class. I tell you what, I bet the number of complaints would fall rapidly.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

i totally agree! i am a commuter (who just stumbled on your blog) and through all the numerous delays, all i wanted from them was a genuine "we're sorry - here, have a cuppa on us, for your troubles".
My train was cancelled 3 times in 2 weeks, and it is a commuter train to london... nice.

Economy Klaus said...

Many thanks for the item on the season ticket upgrade. I downloaded my voucher today and caught the 16.30hrs to Chippenham, waltzed into first class and settled back to read my complimentary Evening Standard. Fantastic. Eeven the views from the window seems to look better - particularly when you've hit the recline button!

Anonymous said...

It's good marketing by FGW ... me thinks that many people may get so used to those extra little perks that a number of them will buy first class seasons when they renew. That will help the company fill the quieter parts of the train, and help generate more income for them too.

And as you note, even the most ardent of anti-bloggers can be wooed by a bit of luxury.

Personally? Well - I live in a town that doesn't have a First Class train service any more, nor an off peak one (gap - 07:17 to 19:08) so it's a bit academic.

Anonymous said...

What does anyone else think of the appalling 'refurbished' carriages with ridiculous aircraft type seats so high that you cannot see out the windows? Most of the tables have gone ,less room for luggage between the seats,hardly any liter bins and some toilets have been removed to cram a few more people in. They are claustrophobic and not fit for purpose on long trips from Devon or Cornwall. And this was a franchise improvement!!!

Economy Klaus said...

I'm pro-refursbishment. I explain why in my blog entry: To refurbish or not to refurbish...

Anonymous said...

Refurbished carriages might be OK for short commuter trips but are not family friendly for 4/5 hour trips from Cornwall or Devon.
You used to be able to sit at a table and see the view, now all you can see is the back of a seat and not even across the carriage. Very claustrophobic and no good for a long trip.

I hoped the long distance versions to Penzance and Swansea were going to be different to the short distance ones to Bristol, Oxford etc.

Devon and Cornwall are long holiday routes with lots of families with luggage etc. The reduction in toilets, loss of luggage space between seats and the seats are so high you cannot see your luggage on rack.

Truro Cornwall

Insider said...
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Insider said...

Hi

I read your blog a fair bit and you make some good points. I have to say that I've started a blog coming to the defence of FGW, (someone has to do it), or at least providing a more unvarnished (and hopefully helpful)version of the truth than the offical company line, and I'm hoping that some parts of it may help with some of the problems that commuters are experiencing. On the plus side, it's good to know that you enjoyed First Class.

ed said...
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ed said...
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Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments about the claustrophobic feel to the new carriages. I also dont like the new "reflective windows" which cause a reflection even when in the station. I’m led to believe that First Great Western are only planning to refurbish half the fleet as high density layout and the rest should be similar to the current carriage but with the at seat plugs ect.Found this website www.firsthstshowcase.com Its strange there is not a link from the main site as far as I am aware.If it fails to load type the address without breaks into google

Simon said...

Hi

I totally agree about the first class 'off peak' upgrade. This should become a permenant feature for all season ticket holders! When you consider that FGW get approx £3-5000 for an annual season ticket towards London, this is a reasonable concession for off peak travel!

On the subject of refurbishment, I must congratulate FGW on the improvements! The carriages are not perfect, but a lot better. More seats and therefore less overcrowding, more legroom and the new arm rests are much better.

The loss of most of the table seats does not affect many people, and allows for more seats throughout the carriage. Most holiday makers travel at non-peak times so that the few table seats that remain should still be accessible.

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