Policy change explained

29 January 2018

Caledonian Sleeper - the change in policy explained

Caledonian Sleeper have today (Monday 29 January) put full information about their changed fares structure and railcard policy to October and beyond on their website

See  https://www.sleeper.scot/travel-after-25-february

Under "All services up to 24 October 2018 inclusive"  this page states

"From 25 February all services will operate using our current fleet of trains and existing fare structure.  This means that all previously accepted Railcard discounts are valid. For more information visit - sleeper.scot/tickets-timetables/railcards ."

Singles sharing

The following section appears towards the end of each of the Lowland and Highland sections of the  travel-after-25-february page

"Shared Room Products from 25 October

As mentioned, from 25 October, all our accommodation products will be offered on a “hotel style” room rather than “per traveller” basis. Due to this change, our share with a stranger products will no longer be available. However, all classes are available to book on a solo or twin basis.

We will offer a discounted rate per person to guests who share a room when travelling together. These are available to all of our guests and you do not need a Railcard to take advantage of these fares.

We also have great value Family Tickets for those guests travelling with children. This will automatically be shown during the booking process as long as no railcard is chosen."

The highlighted paragraph prompts two questions:

Why do they not continue to offer the current normal railcard discounts?
What do they really mean by a 'discounted rate'?

The 'discounted rate' appears to refer to the difference between twice the basic rate for a solo cabin (£280) and the rate for a shared double (£170), which is £110, or £55 per person - slightly more than the 1/3 Railcard discount.

However, during the last week in February under the existing fares structure, the difference between twice the rate for a solo (first class) compartment and the rate for a shared standard class double was £75 and £80 per person on different days - a considerable 'discount' - and yet quite reasonably, Railcard discounts are still available on the shared standard class fares.

What Caledonian Sleeper are in effect saying is that under the proposed new fares structure they are offering us a 'discount' for the privelege of being allowed to travel standard class instead of first, and claiming that this entitles them to refuse to honour our valid railcards.

The final section of the website page is

I’ve already booked to travel after 25 February but want to change my booking?
.    .    .    .    .    .    .   .
Should you wish to change your booking (for example, for a product that was not available at the time of your original booking), please contact our Guest Service Centre with your booking reference number to hand - https://www.sleeper.scot/contact

The 'contact' page has a number for the telephone booking office and a contact form to be submitted online.  Customers phoning the booking office will be told that bookings cannot be changed until 25 February.  This agrees with information we have received unofficially, although the date has never been formally announced.

Contrary to what we previously suggested, a request made via the contact form to change a booking will not be acted on, as payment card information is required.  According to staff at the 'Guest Service Centre' passengers will themselves have to make a new booking and cancel the old one (we suggest in that order), either by telephone or online.  This does not quite square with a letter from the Managing Director suggesting that "bookings can be re-processed" by the service centre staff.



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