Heathrow Express slashes prices – kids go free (permanently), adults pay just £10 over Easter

Heathrow Express has announced a major strategic shift which will see it actively chasing leisure customers in an attempt to reverse the stagnation in passenger numbers.

From tomorrow, Friday 26 March, children under 16 will travel free in Standard Class on Heathrow Express when accompanied by an adult.  This is a permanent change and will make the service more attractive to the family market.  (It may also persuade some business passengers to upgrade to First Class!)

Heathrow Express

As a special offer over the Easter weekend, one-way adult prices are being reduced from £21.50 to £10 each way in Standard Class.   These prices will be valid from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

There are changes to early morning trains over the Easter weekend as you can read here but the normal ‘four trains per hour’ service will run for almost all of the day.

At the time of writing, the HEx website is NOT selling the £10 discounted tickets.  It is not clear if they will only be available on the day or if the site has not been updated – although it is unfair to announce a £10 promotion whilst continuing to sell people tickets at full price.  (EDIT:  you need to use the code Easter2015 on the website for the discount to show.)

Because HEx tickets are usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue, they may only be available for £10 at the stations to stop people hoarding them.  You may also be able to combine the £10 tickets with a Railcard discount, which can only be claimed when buying at a ticket office.

More details of ‘kids go free’ and the £10 deal can be found here.

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  1. Wasn’t it around £10 originally when launched? Can’t believe the price went up to £21! This is the service that takes 9 minutes or so?

    • It takes 15 minutes to Heathrow Central, longer to Terminal 5. Given that the Heathrow Connect takes about 30 minutes to Heathrow Central, I have never understood why anybody would bother paying more than twice the amount to save 15 minutes. Going to Terminal 5 is a different matter, of course, since you’d have to change if using Connect.

      • Because the hex has a max 15 min wait, and if I’m taking it then it’s the only option that will get me to the airport in time anyway

      • Aeronaut says:

        Basically, if you’re unlucky with your timings (and if everything is running as it should), with Heathrow Express it would be a maximum of half an hour from arriving at T1,2 & 3 station platform to getting to Paddington (15 min wait + 15 min journey time), compared to a maximum of an hour with Heathrow Connect (half an hour wait + half an hour journey time).

  2. Still almost double the price of the Hong Kong airport express, and you can check your bags in at the town centre station in Hong Kong and not see them again until you reach your destination.
    Monopoly rip off service with dodgy accounts filed to make it look like it’s just making “normal” profit while repatriating the real profit back to the airport. All that’s wrong with the UK right there.

  3. Think this is a complete rip off, used it once.

    I can vallet park the car cheaper. What visitors to rhis country must think when they get ripped off within an hour of arriving!

  4. I made a booking recently on the website, and for the first time, I was able to add my railcard online. Finally!

  5. I guess its a welcome to london, pull your trousers down…

    When you consider you can get from JFK to centre of manhatten for $15, or the cheap way $7.50, puts it into context… And that’s because its miles out…

    If they keep it at 10 quid, I’d use it. I actively avoided using it Good Friday anyway, and this discount is too little too late, going in via Reading (so I can visit Sweenies pie shop the night before…)

    • That’s not quite fair – JFK and Heathrow are both around 15 miles from the centre of town, and if you use the tube it’s just £5.10.

  6. We are staying at the Sofitel and popping in to town for a meal and a show before we fly out the next day. At £50 return 9and that is the reduced Duo rate) for 2 adults it is a rip-off. The tube will be cheaper and considering transfers from the West End to Paddington, the journey wil be 5 mins shorter overall. On the day we are there the frequency is only half-hourly to boot. So a non-starter.

    I expect toursits who are jet-lagged and unfamiliar with exchange rates will jusy pay (and regret later?).

    Why business users will pay the extra for a 15 minute journey baffles me (though of course likely someone else is paying!).

  7. LondonFoodie says:

    As quite heavy user of HEX, here is my analysis:
    – Tube: cheapest way to get to London, takes about 50-60 minutes depending on where you are going to, but if you go somewhere on the Piccadilly line it is really unbeatable.
    – Heathrow Express: 21 minutes to T5, with or without traffic. That is the main attraction for me. The alternative is a £30-35 Uber/Airport Express minicab from where I live – so we break even when going with my plus one. More convenient when we have loads of bags, but for a weekend break, which usually starts on a Friday evening – taking a car presents a real risk of missing a flight!
    – Heathrow Connect: I should probably use it more often. Cheap and you are in London in 30 minutes. But it doesn’t leave as frequently, so I only end up using it when I am in no hurry whatsoever.

    Why is Hex slashing prices? a few guesses:
    – Cross Rail is coming – you will be in Paddington in 25 minutes (I think) from Heathrow. That will more or less kill the Hex
    – Uber is become ever more popular and with 2 people you easily break even, even on the carnet price of £16 O/W. That is why Hex has running promotions for groups of people.
    – With prices becoming so ridiculously expensive (£21!), fewer people opt to use the service.

    All that said – Gatwick Express is the real rip-off, given the frequent trains to Victoria, and don’t get me started on the Stansted Express which is the main reason I haven’t flown from STN in more than four years.

    • When a train is more expensive that a 2 person taxi you know your living in a place which is tangential to reality! Tarmac over the rails and just let Taxi’s run along it (that’s kind of a joke btw, although there’s something to be said for thinking about it to put the current status quo into context)

      • To be fair to Heathrow, the Express was fully privately financed. The airport paid for the spur from the mainline and the tunnelling which was hugely expensive. It also paid for the trains. Covering the costs of all that is not easy.

        • I imagine that the tunnel was expensive. It collapsed whilst being dug

        • aristeides says:

          I would bet that the costs of trains and tunnelling have easily been covered now. HEx/Stansted Express are both crying out for competition inquiries. Gatwick Express too, probably, although that does at least have some genuine competition. The rip-off fares are bad for tourism, business, in fact just about everyone except the companies involved. HEx’s cost per mile was famously greater than Concorde… now it’s even more! You can fly to Warsaw, Bucharest or Rabat once you get to Stansted for the same fare as the train.

    • Aeronaut says:

      Re the Stansted Express – they introduced some Advance fares a short while back that offer significant savings.

      A single between Liverpool Street and Stansted is £12 if booked seven days or more in advance, or £8 if booked thirty days or more in advance, (The same is available between Tottenham Hale and Stansted for £11 or 7.50.)

      Unlike normal Advance tickets on the railways, these Stansted Express tickets allow you to travel on any train on the specified day (i.e. you are not limited to travelling on one specific service on that day). You can only book them via the Stansted Express website, and the tickets are issued as ‘e-tickets’ (for printing yourself) or ‘m-tickets’ for mobiles.

      These fares are competitive with the coach fares between London and Stansted.

      • Stansted express is simply a brand of a franchised train operator. Their fares are therefore partly regulated and fully integrated into the national fares system. H EX is an anomaly because it is basically HAL’s private railway on which it can do what it likes. Of course it did have to pay for the tunnel to Heathrow, but much of the journey is on the public line for which it takes up paths that could be used more efficiently if integrated into Crossrail, but of course that won’t happen because it is a private railway. My hope is that the H Ex will be driven out of business by Crossrail who then takes over the paths. Then we get cheaper fares and the slightly longer journey time is compensated for by more frequent departures and a choice of stations in LOndon

  8. Jeremy I says:

    Stansted Express has some relatively (it’s all relative!) good value advance fares of £8 each way if you book 30 days in advance, IIRC.

    • Aeronaut says:

      Sorry Jeremy, I didn’t notice your post before I added my contribution above.

      To get to or from Stansted for cheaper than £8 you’re looking into catching a time specified National Express coach service (£5 fare bought in advance), or securing one of the few really cheap easyBus fares for their minibus service. Not sure the latter is really HfP readers’ territory!

  9. Lady London says:

    On aseparate but vaguely related topic, does anyone know why the government made the Eurotunnel a rail link rather than a road link? I’ve always wondered about why they forced such a complicated solution instead of just letting people drive through.

    • I’m not sure if you are being serious, but:
      (1) Because it is not at all viable as a road tunnel. (50km in length). Think about breakdowns, accidents, lack of coordination, fumes needing to be cleared, evacuations.
      (2) Because that would not give a rail tunnel for Eurostar and other train services to use.

      • sandgrounder says:

        It was shortlisted, but a road tunnel was n’t chosen for the practical reasons above. It was just too expensive to do safely, and quite possibly would never be quite safe enough. But it was certainly technically possible and considered. Public opinion was firmly in favour at the time.

      • It was considered, but was too expensive. The safety aspect made a road bridge preferred to a road tunnel I think that the road bridge plan also involved an island in the middle of the channel too which together with the bridge piers would have been a hazard to shipping

  10. My hub in London is Liverpool Street so I never waste my money on HEX. So looking forwarding to Crossrail!

  11. I suspect there is a fair amount of politics at play here as well as economics. The London boroughs around Heathrow have been lobbying for HEX fares to be reduced to ease intolerable overcrowding on the Piccadilly line and also putting pressure on Mayor Boris to pull HEX into the Oyster card system, coupled with Crossrail and if HEX doesn’t do something it may have something done to it.

    Heathrow is also trying to win favour with councils and residents around Heathrow to back their expansion plans – I’m getting regular leaflets from them now.

    • I hadn’t thought of this but you’re right. I get on at the Picadilly Line at Hammersmith most mornings and it’s easy to spot which trains have come from Heathrow as opposed to Uxbridge/Rayners Lane. The Heathrow trains are always packed to the rafters.

      HEX should be fully incorporated into the Oyster system now, or at least a modest surcharge for using it – still to be paid via Oyster/Contactless.

      If it doesn’t – as people above have noted, it will hopefully be beaten by Crossrail which will offer a much better array of destinations. Paddington isn’t very useful for many people and it’s tube connections are pretty dire.

  12. sandgrounder says:

    Another scam is the National Express LHR-LGW service. I need to make this journey over Easter, but no way am I being extorted for £25 each when I can get a bus to Croydon for £1.50 and a fiver on top for the train!

    (Although lets see what mood I am in when I get there…. 🙂 )

  13. HEx is a rip off so this is good news thanks.

    I think that they may be starting to panic about Crossrail. They have already cut their costs by attempting to cut their wage bill (that was what the recent strikes were about)

  14. Just to add 🙂

    HEx is a rip off, which probably explains why the trains are usually so quiet. It’s a great service, shame it’s so expensive. The first time I used it we got delayed, and the journey took about 40 minutes!
    Stansted Express is another rip off, I could never even get a seat when travelling to the airport on it. I prefer to get the National Express coach, booked in advance.
    Gatwick Express, yes it’s a rip off too.
    DLR for London City – its great, included in Oyster system.

    Train services at Manchester and Birmingham are much cheaper (BHX = Virgin west coast mainline and a couple of pounds one way off peak).

    EDI has its nice new tram service, costs £2.50 one way. Shame the bus is still quicker (and all the seats face the direction of travel).

    They don’t compare well to other world cities, whether it’s AMS, HKG, BKK etc. which are all so much cheaper and equally as good. I thought the train service in Germany was great, however a lot of the Germans I spoke to thought their train service was suffering through lack of investment!

  15. I can get to my inlaws’ in Barcelona, from the airport, for €1. That’s a 30 minute train, 25 minute metro, and 10 minute bus.

  16. Martin says:

    Don’t forget the extra 12% discount that Raffles highlighted here:-


  17. Has anyone heard anything more on these discounted Easter fares? I can’t see them on the website and have emailed HEX with no reply!