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How do I reserve a seat?

You can make a seat reservation for free, regardless of the type of ticket you’ve booked. Seat reservations aren’t guaranteed though and some Train Operating Companies (TOCs) don’t offer seat reservations at all. Even without a seat reservation your tickets are still valid, and you can sit in any vacant unreserved seat. You’ll just see one of the following messages depending if you have a Standard or First Class ticket –

  • Sit in any vacant unreserved seat except First Class.
  • Sit in any vacant unreserved seat including First Class.   

Why don’t I have a seat reservation? 

We always do our best to reserve you a seat using the preferences you provided us. If you haven’t been given a seat reservation this could be for a few reasons –

  • The TOC you are travelling with doesn’t provide seat reservations on that train, this is common on shorter routes and during peak travel times on commuter routes. On these trains you can sit in any vacant seat in the class your ticket is booked for.
  • The allocation of seats that can be reserved is fully booked or you booked your ticket close to the departure time and the seat reservations have already closed. Not to worry, a portion of seats are always left unreserved, you can sit in any vacant unreserved seat.
  • You booked your ticket before the seat reservations were open. Seat reservations typically open 3 months in advance, if you booked a flexible ticket (Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak) before then you will not have been allocated a seat, however you may be able to reserve a seat closer to the time.

Seat reservations for group bookings

If you make a seat reservation for a booking of more than one person, our system will choose the best selection of seats from those available. You might get some seat numbers that don’t look like they’re together, but this might be because they’re sat around a table. We’ll always try and match your preferences, but at times it’s not always possible. Don’t worry though, many long-distance train routes have carriages that can’t be reserved, so you’re likely to find a seat on the day. 

Can I amend my seat reservation? 

Seat reservations for Advance tickets cannot be changed. If you have a flexible ticket (Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak), it may be possible to amend your seat reservation if -

  • You were already allocated a seat reservation, or
  • You booked your flexible tickets before the reservations were open.

Contact us before 17:00 the day before you’re due to travel and we’ll do our best to amend your seat reservation.

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