Virgin Trains apologises after 'sexist' tweet to woman who complained about being called 'honey' by staff

A commuter has been left "stunned" after her complaint of alleged "rude and misogynistic behaviour" by a Virgin train manager was dismissed with a patronising put-down on the company's social media account.

Emily Lucinda Cole condemned the "everyday sexism" after the surprising response in the Twitter exchange with Virgin Trains East Coast.

She had spoken out on Tuesday morning at being "dismissed" with the "hideously patronising word ... honey" as she complained about a "mess up" in the service on the day the highest rail fare rise in five years took affect across the country.

But instead of an explanation or apology, she was asked if she'd "prefer 'pet' or 'love' next time" by a social media staff who signed off the tweet "MS".

The offending tweet has since been deleted as Virgin Trains EC issued a swift apology.

Ms Cole had initially tweeted:

The company's East Coast account responded: "Sorry for the mess up Emily, would you prefer "pet" or "love" next time? ^MS"

An astonished Ms Cole then replied:

The Virgin Trains East Coast account soon issued a new and unsigned reply to Ms Cole's original complaint, apologising for its original tweet and confirming it had been deleted.