I booked four first class tickets from Birmingham New Street (12:30) to London Euston (13:56) for 18 April 2018. My son loves train so my husband and I wanted to give him a special first experience. Let's say our first experience was far from nice, but thankfully at his age, he didn't understand and wouldn't know the difference.
When we arrived at the Birmingham New Street Station, we sought out the First Class Lounge since we had an hour to spare. We stood just inside the lounge entrance for a minute before an associate arrived to check our tickets. There was no greeting, no smile, just a "Can I see your ticket please?" Once she confirmed our tickets, she promptly turned around and walked away. It wouldn't hurt if she had added a "Please seat yourself and enjoy the free refreshments" but I guess friendly customer service isn't a job requirement. It also didn't help that other patrons in the lounge kept giving our children glances every so often even though we purposely seated ourselves in the back corner, and our children were quiet and occupied with their individual tablets with the volume on low. I felt like I was in the "Lounge for Snobs".
When it came time to boarding, there was no one around to provide assistance. We were travelling from Canada so we had a number of large luggages to content with but there was no visible sign or place for storage in the First Class Cabin (E). The crew members were busying themselves behind the food station. When I approached to ask about storage, the crew member (who is of visible minority) gave me the "stink eye" from head to toe and asked if I had first class tickets. I took a deep breath and replied in the affirmative, in which she waved her hand in the general direction towards the entrance of the cabin with a "Over there" reply. At this point, I was REALLY NOT impressed but we had to get to London. Throughout our journey, this same crew member did not extend the same service to my family as she did to other passengers on the train. She was not friendly in the least and gave me the impression that we were the last people on Earth she wanted to serve.
On top of that, while food and beverages were served to us at our seats, it was nothing special and certainly not worth the extra £ we paid for First Class.
If we were to visit the UK again, we will avoid Virgin Train at all cost!
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