Virgin Trains First Class Lounge Cutbacks – Paper Coffee Cups – What’s Next?

Posted by James Brindle on July 7, 2011.

As you all know by now and from my [intlink id="125" type="post" target="_blank"]other post reviewing Virgin Trains First Class Service[/intlink].  I get about a fair bit in this country for work and some for play.  I always book first class wll in advance to get the ticket price down and with a railcard it makes it even cheaper.

One of the nice perks is the First Class Lounge, depending on which station you’re using, you get different degrees of quality and service.  London being the flagship lounge and in my opinion, Crewe being the worst, Manchester is about average and Miltkon Keynes Central – although a heavily travelled route for Virgin Trains – surprisingly non-existent.

You get free wi-fi without the captive portal (the click here to be bored by terms and conditions screen for those who don’t know what a captive portal is AKA “Mandelson Compliance Screen”), usually some nice chairs, as many biscuits as you can stuff down your neck and tea and coffee.

Normally this would be a pleasant experience but lately i’ve noticed some standards have been slipping.  The picture above is Manchester’s first class travel lounge with …. paper cups?????  I mean, come on, what’s next?  Take the rest of coach C out of service in the overcrowded area to put a dodgy pizza and kebab shop onboard – hmmm, more plastic cheese, less toppings – just like you get late at night!

Not a piece of china in sight, I mean, I don’t expect finest bone china but I do expect a proper cup, I mean, I could go hang out at Pumpkin or Starbucks for a paper cup or be a total mug and travel on a weekend where you pay more for less.

I’d been watching standards steadily decline on the service and thought it was due to cutbacks because of less travellers.  The daytime snack option was way too similar every week and I haven’t been the only one to complain but it seems the powers that be have been reading and listening.

There’s now a decent rotation of daytime snacks, one of my favourites being the salt-beef with gherkin-mayo-thing and the hot option for meat lovers on board tonight is Gammon and vegetables – unfortunately, as I write this, it looks like the slowdown of the train is for them to get off and slaughter a pig.

Unfortunately thought, it looks like the lounges are now in for it, less biscuits, a coffee machine that only puts out half a cup full, hardly any milk and sugar and no visible power sockets, come on, i’ve several power hungry devices that need charging up!

You might think i’m having a whinge for the sake of filling up 500 words but i’m providing my usual say it like it is service.  I’ll be writing to virgin customer services again and asking for comment, I doubt i’ll get a reply but hopefully something will happen.

About the Author

James Brindle is a freelance technology consultant based in Blackburn, Lancashire with over 20 years of experience in the IT, Media and Telecommunications industries with specialties in Web and Mobile Application development, Voice over IP (VoIP) deployment and integration, media storage and distribution systems and wide area solutions. He has a passion for retro gaming and volunteers as a presenter and acts as vice-chairman of Blackburn's Hospital Radio service.

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  1. @ridbensdale says: July 7, 2011

    djjayroberts Will have to check the Lounge at Crewe when I’m up there. Nit surprised that it’s cack, though.


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