Instead of booking a first-class train ticket directly, it’s widely known that you could just purchase a standard-class ticket on a weekend train, and pay a premium to upgrade to first class on the spot. Seatfrog, a recently emerged app, is providing us with a new option.
As you can see on their website, Seatfrog currently partners with the following operators:
- Avanti West Coast
If I remember correctly, Avanti West Coast and LNER were the only companies on the list when they launched, so you can see that their partnership is growing.
You need to download their App (Android / iOS) to use the service. Basically Seatfrog works on an auction-based system which is quite straightforward.
First, find your train:
You could also find it by providing the reservation number, however it didn’t work for me somehow.
After confirming that you hold a valid ticket, this itinerary is saved to your watch list and you could start bidding:
The latest you can place the bid is 30 minutes before the departure. Obviously there’s a minimum bid requirement, so you can’t just bid £1, which is what I was hoping for 😛
£12 is a bit more than what I’m willing to pay, however I’m going to do it just for the sake of trying out Seatfrog. I was the first and only bidder.
Interestingly, after placing my bid I noticed the mininum bid increased to £13. Does it mean there’s only one upgrade available for the entire train and all bidders fight for it? That makes no sense to me at all, as even in non-covid times I’ve never First Class getting busy.
My guess is you are just bidding against yourself – since the higher you bid the better chance you stand, you could increase your bid later if you are not confident enough.
I received a notification when the auction’s closed, and it was a success!
You simply present your original ticket along with the upgrade confirmation upon inspection.
Note that you need to provide payment details before bidding, and I didn’t find an option to cancel a bid once placed. So if you hold a flexible ticket, don’t rush to use it until you’re certain about your travel time.