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Avanti West Coast introduces ‘Standard Premium’ on selected trains

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Avanti West Coast, the main rail operator between Manchester / Birmingham and London, has introduced ‘Standard Premium’.

This was originally announced back in 2019 but a trial did not begin until late October and only now is it widely available.

Avanti West Coast standard premium

Standard Premium doesn’t seem to be bookable yet when you buy your ticket. It is only available as an upgrade via the train manager on the day.

Basically, Avanti has converted one First Class carriage to Standard Premium. This means that you get the usual First Class seat – including a guaranteed table and plug socket – but without the free food.

Details are on their website here. No pricing is indicated and, in any event, it will depend on where you are travelling and potentially the time of day.

It isn’t clear how Avanti’s Standard Premium service will work alongside the Seatfrog app, which Avanti uses to auction off First Class upgrades close to departure.

Comments (14)

  • John says:

    I’d rather have the standard class seat and the free food

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    I have travelled on Avanti’s attempt at first on a number of occasions since Virgin “rebranded” (head office is the same address in Brum). The fares have approximately doubled and the food has become even worse. I would happily have the first seat with no free food and just bring a couple of cups of steaming tea on board with me for the 73 minute trip from Bham Int to Eus. The wine / gin / beer offering has also disappeared under the guise of “substantial meal”. They need to watch themselves as I can highly recommend the Chiltern Service to M’bone as the route is nicer and big deal about the extra 17 mins journey time from Brum city centre!

    • ChrisC says:

      Avanti isn’t a rebranded Virgin trains it’s a totally different company.

      • Charlieface says:

        It effectively is when everything stays the same except for top-level management

        • Lady London says:

          Much like what happened with Bunnings (an excellently run company) when they bought Homebase. They simply couldn’t overcome the.Homebase culture and errors because they had the same people there.

          • Rob says:

            That’s not why it went wrong. Bunnings is ‘hard’ DIY, like B&Q. Homebase is ‘soft’ DIY, with more female shoppers. You can’t out-B&Q B&Q, so Bunnings scared off existing Homebase customers without gaining any from B&Q.

        • ChrisC says:

          different owners different franchise so yes it’s a totally separate company

          and most of the top management were also retrained.

      • Roy says:

        Yes, but when everyone, including the managers, are TUPE’d over from the old company, how different is it really?

    • Lady London says:

      +1 @Nigel

  • Matt says:

    Lady London thank you for advice the other day re rights after cancelled KL flights in First. I called You First (wish I’d called them in the first place) and they said the other person I spoke to was wrong to say I could only be booked into business as no reward availability in First. Tickets now sorted for Singapore in first. Ps. I couldn’t work out what the 75% compo meant but I’m happy with the result now.

  • Dr Tom says:

    Checked on Rail Forums and Standard Premium is already running on selected Euston to Birmingham New Street trains on a trial basis

    The price for short routes is £25.

    Seems a bit expensive right now while the trains are quiet, particularly when you can get the catered SeatFrog upgrades for less, but this could be a good deal at peak times or when you can’t book in advance (as you can upgrade on the train). Also a good way of getting a single seat with a plug socket if that’s of value.

  • Baji Nahid says:

    havent first group handed back the franchise now? I had read on the news they couldn’t afford to operate it.

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