What on earth is happening to first class seats on Class 444 trains?! Is the purpose of SWR refurbishment to get rid of all first class passengers?
I commute long distance, travelling over 1.5 hours to London Waterloo almost every day. I felt it worth paying for the 1st class ticket, because I want to have space to work on these journeys to make some use of the time or to be able to sleep comfortably. Since I am quite tall, I found it impossible to do so in standard seats, no enough leg space, seats not tall enough.
With the new Class 444 refurbished first class, all the benefits I used to justify paying for my first class season ticket have now gone away. This is madness, what are SWR trying to achieve by this?
Here is the list of changes I’ve observed in the new refurbished first class carriage:
As not to be completely negative, you do now have a new wireless charging area on shared tables, ha!
Class 444 were the last SWR trains where 1st class seats offered a reasonable level of comfort. When the new company with GWR in partnership took over, I expected that GWR standards of first class will be implemented on SWR, only now I see how wrong I was, extremely frustrating!
If this is the way SWR are going with long-distance Class 444 trains, then there is no way that I will continue paying for the 1st class season ticket.
Is there anyone else who feels the same way?
What can we do to convince SWR to stop destroying 1st class travel on their trains?
Had the dubious pleasure of travelling in the refurbished first class 444 for the first time this morning and have to agree with all the comments made above. I cannot believe they engaged with a single customer on these changes? If they did then they ignored the feedback or were hamstrung by specifications handed to them.
I will give feedback but I suspect they don't want to hear.
I complained about the changes and was told the following;
'Before the start of our franchise, the Department for Transport held a stakeholder consultation which included a question on seating layouts and the balance between first and standard class seating. The responses showed overall agreement that first class seating should be reduced to provide additional standard class seats. The reconfiguration of the Class 444/450 trains will provide over 4,500 additional standard class seats in our fleet. On a refurbished and reconfigured 10-car Class 444 formation there will be over 60 more standard class seats.'
I bet the DoT didn't say 'make the seats more uncomfortable than standard class'.
I will not be renewing my first class ticket, and I really would like a refund for the last few months of uncomfortable journeys.