WITH comfortable leather seats, satellite navigation systems, lounge areas and refreshment on tap, it’s no wonder coach passengers are voting with their wallets and upgrading to the luxury vehicles offered by Leger, WA Shearings and Cosmos Tourama.
For a small extra cost, clients can stretch out in coaches with fewer seats, natter over coffee and tune into the music and movies when they get tired of the scenery.
Cosmos Tourama has offered luxury coaches in Europe since 2005, but next year they will also be available on five North America tours.
Long-haul product manager David Binns said he expects the Platinum Tourer coaches to be as popular there as in Europe, as North America itineraries cover such huge distances.
“Everyone wants extra comfort on holiday and this option gives them just that, and for a supplement starting at £115 per person.”
WA Shearings’ Grand Tourers have become so popular they have their own brochure and website, while demand for comfort has seen Leger continue to expand its Silver Service fleet – it now has 21 coaches after launching with three just over three years ago.
Leger retail sales director Peter Raynor said: “Once clients have been on a Silver Service coach, they don’t want to go back to the standard vehicles.
“At the moment we still sell more holidays on standard coaches but long-term I wouldn’t be surprised if that situation reversed.”
What’s so special: coaches seat 36 instead of the standard 52 so there is extra space and 72cm of legroom. The seats are leather and have headrests, footrests and collapsible aircraft-style tables.
Clients are issued with headsets so they can watch films or listen to music, and there is a satellite navigation display so they can keep track of where they are.
There’s a lounge at the rear of the coach with room for up to six passengers at a time where tea, coffee and cold drinks can be bought.
Sample product: a seven-night New York, Niagara Falls and Washington, DC tour starts at £1,219 per person room-only including Platinum Tourer coach travel, city sightseeing and a Maid of the Mist cruise at Niagara Falls.
What’s so special: coaches have 36 seats instead of 48, the reclining seats have leather headrests, personal headphones allow passengers to listen to music or watch films, and there is a satellite navigation display so they can follow their journey.
There’s also a lounge at the back where hot drinks are served for a supplement. Silver Service clients also get extra excursions.
Sample product: an eight-night Little Trains of Austria tour, taking in Kitzbühel, St Wolfgang and Achensee, starts at £559 per person bed and breakfast including Silver Service coach travel, six evening meals and two excursions.
What’s so special: coaches have 36 seats instead of 46 and are air-conditioned. Seats are leather and recline, and clients can select their seat number when they book.
Each seat is fitted with a personal entertainment system so passengers can listen to music or watch films, and there’s a satellite navigation display showing the route of their tour. Passengers can help themselves to refreshments.
Sample product: the 16-day Magnificent Russian Experience, with guided tours of Warsaw, Minsk, Moscow, Novgorod and St Petersburg, starts at £1,185 per person half-board including Grand Tourer coach travel and three lunches.