The ticket was definitely printed up with ‘carriage B seat 01B‘ for my return journey. When I bought my tickets I was given the choice of reserved table seats or airline seats. I asked for all the seats on my journeys to be table seats.
There was one passenger taking up all four seats on the outward journey, where one was reserved for me . The passenger mumbled something about there not being any reservation cards showing, so I showed her my reservation ticket for my gangway seat. I invited her to stay and share if she so wished. Only when she swept up all the items strewn around the three seats she wasn’t sitting on, did I realise this person was the only passenger in the section. She occupied two airline seats instead.
Another distracted male passenger was looking for a carriage that didn’t exist, (unless he had paid for first class). He returned, no, he was not a first class guy. He plonked himself down opposite me and tried to shove first one of my feet back towards me then the other. I hoped my effort at severe frowning said it all. His feet continued to step sequentially on my feet. My feet held their ground. The guy got the message and moved over to the window seat where he could stick his feet where ever he wanted.
I clutched my warm lunch in its polystyrene pack and looked forward to laying it out and munching at a table. The train arrived with carriage ‘B’ in tow. Where was my seat? I looked out of the gaping carriage entrance to check the direction of numbering and returned to my hunt for seat ’01B’. A manual number one had been scratched above a side facing seat which was facing opposite a similar seat under a manual number two.
As all the table seats were taken, I took an unoccupied airline seat with its titchy tray and managed to loose an avalanche of lunch into my lap. I covered my meal stained trousers with my carrier bag.
The ticket inspector cheerily appeared. “Excuse me but I had a reserved table seat which doesn’t appear to exist, can you advise?”
“You sure?” he questioned looking at my reservation slips. He looked around. “Maybe you made a mistake“, he said.
“All my seats were booked to be table seats“, I explained. The ticket inspector looked at my tickets again.
“Ooh yes – you had a back facing seat and you only get those at table seats“. He sucked on his pen and looked around once more. “Mmm, since you booked, I think they’ve changed the design of the train”