twitter exchange virgin trains
Virgin trains is coming under fire for this exchange on Twitter. Twitter screenshot

Virgin Trains have apologised "unreservedly" after facing online backlash over an exchange between one of their spokespersons and a woman on Twitter.

Emily Lucinda Cole tweeted the company: "When virgin trains mess up and the older male train manager in the resulting conversation dismisses you with that hideously patronising word women shudder at in contexts such as these: "honey" @virgin_trainsEC."

A Virgin Trains East Coast spokesperson on Twitter responded with, "Sorry for the mess up Emily, would you prefer "pet" or "love" next time? ^MS".

Cole was left angrier as a result:

Social media users were quick to share their disbelief at the response. One said it was an "incredibly rude and snarky response to a perfectly reasonable complaint" whilst another tweeted, "So instead of giving good customer service, you thought it would be best to mimic the behaviour being complained about? Does the whole company enjoy demeaning women or just you two?"

Virgin Trains responded in a tweet: " We apologise unreservedly for this tweet and any offence that it may have caused. To avoid causing more offence we have deleted the original post."