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 16. I 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 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.