Heathrow Express prices slashed to £5.95+ for advance bookings!

For many years, the price of the Heathrow Express train from Paddington Station to the airport was seen as a bit of a joke unless you were spending someone else’s money.

There was a period when 2-4-1 deals would be liberally available over the Summer, but those dried up.  Modest cash discounts or free First Class upgrade offers came and went but few people were convinced.  The number of business travellers using it dropped in the recession and never fully covered.

Heathrow Express is now fighting back.

The first move was to make travel free for children under the age of 16I wrote about this here.  This was enough to tempt me back on board twice over the Summer when I couldn’t face a Friday night peak-time drive to the airport.  It is worth noting that this deal is valid in First Class as well as Standard Class.

The latest move is even more aggressive, especially when combined with free child tickets.

Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express tickets have always been flexible.  A one-way ticket or the outward portion of a return was valid for three days from the date printed on it.

The company has now introduced ‘named day only’ tickets at substantial discounts.

Here are the new prices as outlined on their website here:

Book 90 days in advance :

Standard Class – £6.99 single, £11.90 return

First Class – £9.99 single, £18.00 return

Book 30 days in advance :

Standard Class – £10.75 single, £17.50 return

First Class – £14.75 single, £26.50 return

Book 7 days in advance :

Standard Class – £16.10 single, £26.25 return

First Class – £22.10 single, £39.75 return

Note that – whilst your outbound travel date is NOT flexible – the return portion is.  You can use it on any date within one month of your outbound journey. This means that, even if your plans change by a day and you end up wasting the outbound, your inbound ticket would still be valid.

You can even collect Heathrow Rewards points at the standard rate of 1 per £1 on these fares.

£5.95 – which is what you’d pay each way on a return 90 Day fare – is cheaper than the cash cost of a one way Underground ticket, albeit you pay less if you have an Oyster card or use contactless payment.

£18 return in First Class for an adult and two children, which is the trip I made back in May, seems very reasonable to me even if you must book 90 days in advance.  UberExec, by comparison, which is of comparable comfort is now £60 from West London.

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Comments

  1. So no one else has to try, the new advance fair doesn’t work with the 20% MasterCard discount or DUO2 £20 saving.

    At £35 return for 2 (for the 30 day advance), it’s still much cheaper than the previous £50 return post-discount rate.

  2. Me in London says:

    It seems they have now realised Crossrail is approaching…

  3. A typo?

    A full price outward HE ticket is valid for 3 MONTHS from the day printed.

    • you’re both right!

      How long does my ticket remain valid?
      Validity of tickets bought online

      Single tickets are valid for three months from travel date shown on ticket.
      Return tickets are valid for three months from travel date shown on ticket; once you make the outbound journey, the return is valid for one calendar month.

      Validity of tickets bought from ticket offices or machines

      Single: Valid for three days from date of purchase
      Return: Valid for one calendar month from date of purchase
      Carnet: Valid for 12 Months from date of purchase

  4. What will happen to HX when crossrail opens as crossrail will be more convenient if travelling to the West End, City and Canary wharf.

    • I suppose if you are running really late, you could swap from crossrail at Paddington to HEX and save about 10 minute (theoretically).

      Also, I thought crossrail is only going as far as T123 and T4. For 5 you need to transfer, so some BA pax may not want to change (!) and save a few mins and still take the HEX.

  5. HEX is the single most useless rail line in the world. And it’s shockingly overpriced. And the way Heathrow force it on unwaring tourists is scandalous. I am ashamed to be British when I see the way they advertise and push it as the ‘only’ way to get to central London. I sometimes feel like hanging around in T5 to advise tourists against this rip off, though I’m sure HAL would soon move me on for ‘security’ reasons. Not that Paddington is anywhere near central London, so most people need to pay a tube fare on top anyway.

    It would have to be virtually free before I’d use it, because the time saving versus tube from my house in SE London/Kent ranges from 10 minutes to MINUS 5 minutes. Imagine that, paying extra for a slower journey.

    Did I mention I don’t like HEX?

    • I do use HEX and it’s really convenient for me due to home location. I’ve always had a network card too which helps. What for the life of me I can’t understand is why anyone would pay for first class? It provides no luxury element and how much work can you do in 15 minutes? Waste of cash.

      • For the space. I have paid for HEX first class, it’s nice to not be crammed in with everyone else (I’ve seen standard look like the central line at peak times).

    • +1

    • In Hong Kong, they have a direct express train from the airport to HK centre. It’s £5 in the day and you can even check your bags in at the town centre station in the morning, wander around Hk all day and catch your train later safe in the knowledge that your bags are dealt with and will below see into the plane.

      • More info on this line in HK? I’m there in 2 weeks and will most likely use this.

          • A HFP reader sent me this for an article but I haven’t used it yet (thanks Albert):

            “As Head for Points recently featured a number of flight deals to Hong Kong, I thought some of your readers might be interested in the following offers on the Airport Express train (between HK airport and the city centre):

            1) 40% off single and return tickets purchased in advance

            When purchased through the website of Hong Thai (one of the largest local travel agencies in HK): http://ebuy.hongthai.com/tc/airexpress.html

            The tickets have to be purchased in advance online. 12-24 hours after purchase, a confirmation e-mail will be sent, which has to be printed out and shown at the ticket counter in the Airport Express station for the issuance of tickets.

            2) 20% off single and return tickets

            When purchased in person from Travel Expert travel agency (which has many branches in HK, including in Central MTR station and Kowloon and Tsing Yi Airport Express stations).

            The Travel Expert branch in Central MTR station (shop number E17) sells a one-way ticket between HK and the airport for HKD80, and a return ticket between HK and the airport for HKD144. The Travel Expert branch in Kowloon station (shop number 53 located to the right hand side of the in-town check in area) sells a one-way ticket between Kowloon and the airport for HKD72, and a return ticket between Kowloon and the airport for HKD128. The Travel Expert branch in Tsing Yi station (shop number 302) sells a one-way ticket between Tsing Yi and the airport for HKD48, and a return ticket between Tsing Yi and the airport for HKD88. Airport Express tickets are also available from other Travel Expert branches (full list at http://www.travelexpert.com.hk/en/AboutUs_details.asp?Uid=6).

            3) Group discount (2, 3 or 4 people travelling together)

            Discount available on a single journey fare to/from the airport: http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tickets/promotions_4persons.html

            4) 50% off an Airport Express single journey to the airport

            If using an Octopus card, a 50% discount is available on a single journey fare *to* the airport if taking the taxi (taxi fare of HKD60 or more) to Kowloon or Tsing Yi station (but not Hong Kong station): http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tickets/ael_taxi.html

            5) Free connection on the MTR
            http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/complom_connections.html

          • Handy top tips there! :) Have spoken to a few folk that used the service, they loved getting rid of their bags in the morning then being free to go sightseeing for the day.

  6. Great deal, although they don’t appear when going through the BAEC account if you wanted the 100 avios points.

  7. Would this then make it cheaper than Connect?

    • Yes, unless you use a railcard and are just going one way . where the connect would be 6.65 against 6.99

      • Can you confirm that it’s possible to book Heathrow Connect with a railcard for £6.65 on a week day (Mon-Fri after 9.30/10 am).

        Confused by minimum fare rule for railcards.

        • Hmm, I am not entirely sure to be honest. Depends on the railcard. Young Person seems to have minimum before 10am; network has minimum all day and not valid at all before 10 (weekdays only, weekends and b/h no restrictions), senior seems to have limitations in south east “in the peak”, but disabled no limitations! Very confusing!

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  1. […] HeadforPoints has identified that the Heathrow Express has slashed its advance purchase fares. In fact, what was probably the most expensive 15 minute train journey in the world, has introduced advance purchase fares. Until now, there were walk-up fares, and you could purchase books of tickets, but the saving was small. Buying on the train attracted a £5 penalty. […]

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