Are you sitting comfortably? New research reveals the lengths Brits will go in order to bag a seat on the train


We all want a seat when we board a train, but if you don't have a reservation how do you bag the best spot onboard? We did some research to find out what your best seat finding tactics are...

What we found out
Almost two-thirds (64%) of us deliberately linger near seated passengers just before the train pulls into a station. Over a third of us (39%) use the tactic of “kestrelling” (hovering over an apparently vacant seat to wait and see whether it’s free). Thirty per cent regularly “coach patrol – walk up and down train carriages to search for an available seat – while 65% of us use the ping-pong tactic (frantically turn left and right to figure out which way to go to find a seat).

The awkward seat moments 
Almost half of us make sure we have a seat reservation to avoid run-ins with other passengers. If you're not a reserver you will relate to these awkward seat moments:

  • Over a half (56%) have felt too awkward to ask another passenger to move out of their reserved seat or move bags off seats.
  • 36% per cent sat elsewhere because someone was sleeping in their reserved seat
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) moved coaches following a ‘seat altercation’
  • Half of the nation (51%) would actually prefer to stand or look for an alternative seat than ask a passenger to vacate their reserved seat...

Donna Dawson, psychologist, says “Brits put a premium on good manners in public and don’t want to become embroiled in any embarrassing scenes or come across to others as selfish and pushy. Developing ‘seat strategies’ is a way to avoid all of this, even if you have already booked your seat, and it is your personality type which will decide which strategies you employ!”

There has to be a better way to avoid those awkward seat-searching moments. 

Introducing Seat Sensor, our new seat finding tech onboard
Seat Sensor, a world-first innovation, is now live on all LNER trains displaying reservations above the seats using a traffic light system. The sensor records the current and future status of a seat’s availability: green when a seat is unreserved for the whole journey; amber when a seat is reserved for part of the journey (you can check the screen above the seat to check which parts of the journey the seat is reserved for before taking a seat); and a red light when a seat is reserved for the whole journey. 

Sounds great doesn't it? The best bit is that you don't need to walk through the train to find a green or amber seat. Instead you can use the seat finder tool from the onboard Wi-Fi pages to view a map of each coach and the seat status. Fingers crossed for a forward-facing window seat...

Find out more about Seat Sensor

Latest News

View all

Final Call: LNER Future Labs 2022 Entry Deadline Nearing For Innovation Programme


London North Eastern Railway (LNER) announces the final call for entries to its FutureLabs 2022 programme – the third cohort of its industry-leading accelerator that is committed to solving rail passenger pain points through new digital technologies.

UK Heatwave Heightens Concern For Climate Change


London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has unveiled new research which shows a rising concern for climate change following the recent heatwave in the UK.  

LNER Appoints First Female Engineering Director


London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is pleased to announce that Dr Linda Wain has been appointed to the role of Engineering Director.