If you’re arriving at one of Heathrow Airport terminals, and looking for fast and cheap way into the city, Heathrow Express train line might be just what you need. Initially went into service back in 1998, the train units have undergone complete refurbishment in 2013 from both inside and out, providing new clean comfortable seating, luggage storage area, and even at-seat power socket.
So should you take it next time you arrive at Heathrew Airport? Here is all you need to know to make that decision.
Heathrow Express Stops
Heathrow Express starts at Paddington Station, stops 15 minutes later at Heathrow Central where it serves Terminals 2 and 3, and then continues straight to its last stop at Terminal 5, before it starts its return journey.
Heathrow Express Times
Heathrow Express starts service from Paddington Station at the following times:
Monday – Saturday: 05:10 – 23:25
Sunday: 06:25 – 23:25
The first train leaves Heathrow Airport at the following times:
Terminal 2 and 3: 05:12 Monday to Saturday, 06:23 on Sundays.
Terminal 5: 05:07 Monday to Saturday, 06:18 on Sundays.
Terminal 4: Need to transfer to Heathrow Central. First transfer is at 05:23 Monday to Saturday, 06:07 Sunday.
During operating hours, there is a train leaving the station every 15 minutes. So you never have to wait for too long.
How long does the journey take?
The trip from Heathrow Central to Paddington Station takes 15 minutes. 21 minutes if you’re coming from Terminal 5.
Heathrow Express tickets and cost
There are two types of classes on board Heathrow Express:
Express: Single journey ticket costs £22 if you buy it online, from ticket machines, or at the ticket office. Same ticket will cost you £27 if you buy it on-board the train. So make sure you buy it beforehand.
Return journey tickets are £36 beforehand, and £41 on board.
Business First: A single journey ticket costs £30 even if purchased on board. Return ticket costs £54.
Children under age of 15 travel for FREE.
There are even smarter ways to get much cheaper prices if you book online in advance. For full list of prices, check visit Heathrow Express official tickets page.
How long are tickets valid for?
Heathrow Express has excellent validity periods on their tickets. And it depends on where you get the ticket from.
Single: Valid for three months from the travel date shown on ticket
Return: Valid for three months from the travel date shown on ticket; but once you make your outbound journey, you need to use the return ticket within one calendar month.
Advance: Valid for one journey on the travel date shown on ticket only.
Carnet: Valid for 12 months from the date of purchase
Office and Machine Tickets
Single: Valid on the date of purchase
Return: Valid for one calendar month from the date of purchase
Carnet: Valid for 12 months from the date of purchase
Where can I buy the tickets from?
Beside purchasing them online, you can buy them from ticket machines, ticket offices, and there is often a guy standing at arrivals with clear Heathrow Express sign who can answer all your questions and sell you a ticket for the same price as well.
Can I use my Oyster Card?
No, as Heathrow Express is not part of the Transport for London Network.
What if I buy ticket for the wrong direction?
You can still use it even if you purchased ticket for the wrong direction.
Do I have to buy tickets for my kids as well?
All children under age of 15 travel free. So a family of two adults and young kids only have to buy two tickets.
Should I buy Business First class ticket? I’m worried about quality of Express class
Not really. All train units have been completely refurbished in 2013, and you will find that even the Express class is clean and decent enough.
So what’s the benefit of Business First Class?
With business first class, you get more leg room, personal work table, more privacy, and at-seat power socket. But since the trip is very short, maximum of 21 minutes, very often you may not need it.
If I book the tickets online, how do I receive them?
At checkout, you can choose whether you want a printable ticket sent to your email, or a mobile ticket sent as SMS with link to barcode which you can use as the ticket.
You may also download their mobile app and get tickets straight on your phone.
So is Heathrow Express cheaper than a taxi?
From the airport to Central London, a taxi will cost you between £80-100. A single person can get to Paddington Station on Heathrow Express for £22, or even less if planned properly. If you are a group of four adults, then perhaps a taxi is a wiser choice money wise.
Is Heathrow Express faster than using a car?
Cars face traffic jam, and even without them, a trip to Central London will take about 45-60 minutes by car. The train will take you there in 15-21 minutes depending on your terminal. So unless your destination is very far from Paddington Station, Heathrow Express can often save you time.
The train takes me to Paddington Station. Then what?
Paddington Station is a major train station with several terminals. From there you can connect using another train to your destination, or simply hire a cab. But ask before booking further train tickets from there about the number of changes you have to make. It can be difficult to carry so many baggage on board trains from there.
So should I always use Heathrow Express?
Well it depends. How many adults are you? If you’re a group of 4 or more, then perhaps hiring a cab is cheaper.
If you’re traveling with kids, but have many luggage, you can still use the Heathrow Express, but if you’re tired and after convenience, then a cab is easier.
If your final destination is not very close to Paddington Station, and there is no easy line taking you there from Paddington, then maybe a cab will be wiser choice.
Also, there are many private taxi companies that you can pre-book for your airport trip at much cheaper rates than normal. So consider that choice when making the decision. Keep in mind that some of these taxi companies can fail to show on time, and put you in difficult situation.
Where can I know more about Heathrow Express and book my tickets?
You can visit their Heathrow Express for further info and online bookings.
Photo Credit On Top: Andrew Butcher