The nutshell: buying rail tickets online still isn’t very joined up.
TTL: “Thank you for calling thetrainline.com how can I help?”
Me: “Hello, I accidentally managed to book myself two tickets using the website. Can you tell me how I can cancel one of them please?”
[brief exchange of reference numbers and identification information]
TTL: “Hello Mr Price. There will be a £10 charge for cancelling your ticket, because you booked two ticket.
Me: “But I only wanted one ticket, but the website let me buy two. There was no confirmation message or email, so I assumed the transaction hadn’t been completed. So I clicked the “Buy ticket” button again because it hadn’t worked the first time…”
TTL: “If you want to cancel one of your tickets there is a £10 charge.”
Me: “That’s not good enough.”
I’m not a frequent train traveller, and have rarely used online booking for my tickets, unlike flying where I can’t remember the last time I didn’t use a website to book.
That’s not to say I don’t use the online timetables to check journey details, it’s just the buying I leave to the last minute at the ticket office or self-service machines at the railway station.
So the other day I needed to check out journey details for a journey from a small station in Yorkshire to London returning a couple of days later. My incentive for checking was not only to know what my journey options were, but also the potential of an advance booking discount.
Imagine how stupid I felt when I managed to accidentally buy two tickets for myself because the website let me click the “Submit” button twice! I can’t believe a site as high-profile as thetrainline.com still hasn’t cracked this.