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Stay at the Thistle Heathrow hotel and take a driverless pod to Terminal 5

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Here is one of those odd little facts which may have passed you by.  I was reminded of it when writing my article on the Thistle Hotels ‘Signature’ loyalty scheme on Wednesday.

The biggest downside of staying at one of the hotels at Heathrow which is NOT directly connected to the airport is the slow and painful process of getting to or from the airport.  

The local Heathrow buses are free (this article explains which ones to take) but you need to get to the relevant bus stop and know where to get off.  This is tricky enough before you start to consider carrying your luggage.

Heathrow pods

The Hotel Hoppa bus service picks up directly from outside the terminals and drops you directly at the hotels.  However, the journey can be slow because each bus stops at a number of different hotels on its route.  It also costs a rip-off £5 per person each way.

If you stay at the Thistle Hotel at Heathrow, there is a third option.

The Thistle is situated next to the Heathrow car park from where the driverless pods take you to and from Terminal 5.  You may have seen them going into the terminal as your taxi drives up the approach road. 

The Thistle has done a deal with Heathrow Airport to allow its customers to use the pods.  This being Heathrow, it is not a free service – you are charged £5 per person, each way.  Whilst the price is the same, it should be SUBSTANTIALLY quicker than taking the Hotel Hoppa bus and I imagine that it is substantially more fun.

You can find out more about this service on the Thistle Heathrow website here.  You can book the Thistle Heathrow from £53 per night in the current Thistle sale (click here) – book by January 14th for stays until the end of June.

Hotel offers update – August 2022:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points?

  • Hilton Honors is offering an 80% to 100% bonus when you buy points by 18th September 2022. The annual limit is doubled to 160,000 points plus your bonus. You can buy here.
  • Marriott Bonvoy is offering a 25% bonus when you buy points by 15th September 2022. You can buy here.

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • richie says:

    I thought it was free lhr-thistle. And the £5 charge was to get from hotel-lhr. They couldn’t really charge you for arriving because how would they even know you had got there via pod?
    Biggest problem with this hotel is it overbooks itsself . I ended up with a twin room twice after booking a double. Service is terrible. Much better off staying in the premier in bath road. Use purple parking business to park and they will get you to the airport and back.

  • Antonio says:

    I’ve used those pods for free plenty of times, just for fun when I’ve had some time to kill at Heathrow before check in. Do they charge you upon entry to the car park?

    • richie says:

      No there is a gate to the hotel at the far right hand side of the business parking.

  • Waribai says:

    So, can you actually use them for free?

    • Brian says:

      Pods are free but you cannot get through the secured gate to the hotel without paying £5 pp

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    I’ve used this and they are fun and quick!

    Glad I’m not a family of 4 though. £40 for a return journey seems a typical rip off Britain daylight robbery.

  • Jonathan says:

    We stayed (and left the car) there in August, but balked at the £20 extra to use the pods. The free local bus goes from outside the hotel, so we used that instead!

  • Nick says:

    I’ve used the Pods. They are very easy to use and take you straight into the terminal. I’ll be checking the Thistle hotel prices in future to combine with it though now.

  • paul says:

    Scandalous that they charge £5. I would rather take the bus especially with a family of 4. There is effectively now a charge to access the airport on top of the huge airport fees they charge to stand in line at security. The Valet parking operators now have to add £6 to every booking to cover an access fee.
    So you have the worlds most inefficient and probably worst International airline hub accessible by the worlds most expensive train journey ( more expensive per mile than flying First Class) or the worlds most expensive and inefficient hotel bus service. Parking is the most expensive of any UK airport and there is an access fee to limit competition.

    Remind why we don’t need a new hub airport?

  • Mark R says:

    Pods are great, and journey time is 5 minutes from T5 to hotel/car park, you are within the airport grounds for the journey with planes flying over you. You buzz the Hotel staff at the gate using an intercom and then pay at reception (if they remember). When checking out you pay for the return journey and are issued with a code for the gate. For time, cost and fun it wins for me. The hotel rooms are very old fashioned but ok for a night.

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