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Heathrow Express raises peak times fares by 10% – and how to save money instead

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Heathrow Express has announced a series of ticket price rises which come into force next week.

The announcement was a little bizarre, to be honest.  The headline of the press release was “Heathrow Express to incentivise off peak travel”.

Apart from the occasional plane spotter, most of the people heading to Heathrow Airport are planning to catch a plane.  I’m not sure how changing the Heathrow Express pricing structure is meant to “incentivise off peak travel” – I doubt anyone will be arriving at the airport two hours earlier than necessary just to save a couple of pounds on their train ticket.  Similarly, I can’t see many arriving passengers camping out in Costa for an hour in order to save.

Heathrow Express

Starting on Monday, you will pay more if you buy your ticket on the day at the ticket office or via a ticket machine:

Standard class peak time (7am to 10am) tickets will increase from £22 to £24 for a single journey

Business class tickets will increase from £30 to £32 for a single journey – this price will apply all day

During the Summer (18th July to 31st October), an off peak ‘bought on the day’ ticket will be reduced from £36 to £25 return in Standard Class.  Heathrow Express has always discounted during the Summer, however, so there is nothing special here.

You can still save on Heathrow Express tickets:

Mastercard continues to offer a discount to its cardholders.  The link for your discounted Heathrow Express ticket is here.  This save £3 to £7 depending on whether you buy a single or return, Standard or First Class.

Children under 15 now travel for free on Heathrow Express.  This makes a substantial difference to the maths when you compare the train to a taxi.  As a family of four, we have increased our use of the Heathrow Express since this policy was launched a year ago, mainly when travelling at peak times on a Friday when I didn’t want to trust the M4.

A range of Advanced Purchase tickets was introduced last year.  With 15 different Advanced Purchase ticket options, the range is baffling to put it mildly.  You can see the full list of prices here.  The bottom line is that tickets can be as cheap as £5.50 one way.  Combine that with the fact that children under 15 are free, and a family of four could get to Heathrow for as little as £11.

Heathrow Express has a special offer for 2 people travelling together – £54 return in Standard Class.  Full details are here.  You need to use promotion code DUOSAVER when you book.  If you are travelling in a group of three or more adults, see a deal for that here which saves 33% using Heathrow Express discount code 3RDOFF.

Don’t forget that if you have a railcard (National Railcard, 16-25 Railcard, TFL Annual Gold Card, Senior Railcard etc) then you can also get a discount – my Mum gets 34% off with her Senior Railcard.  In a recent change, you can now use railcards online for full fare tickets.  You cannot use them to buy in the train.

You save 75% on full-fare Express Saver and Business First tickets if you work at Heathrow – see here.  However, this discount also applies to employees of airlines that operate out of Heathrow who have a valid airline photo ID card.  This means that if, for example, you work for British Airways at Gatwick, you are still entitled to 75% off your Heathrow Express ticket.  An easyJet employee would not as easyJet does not fly from Heathrow.

For details of how to earn Avios points or Heathrow Rewards points with your Heathrow Express ticket, take a look at my Heathrow Express master article here.

Comments (20)

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  • Andrew H says:

    Do any of you remember this article published by Raffles back in September?

    We all read it and thought how wonderful it was that Heathrow Express were finally becoming competitive. Shortly after I bought a couple of 90 day advance weekday returns for myself and Mum to travel in May 2016. Total cost – £23.80. For a weekday, this was good value.

    A few months later, the advance weekday return vanished and you could only buy singles. And now they’ve raised the price again. It would have cost me £48.20 with the current prices!

    So glad I booked in that short window when prices were at their lowest. I wouldn’t even buy a 90 day single now…

    • Rod says:

      I feel sorry for the visitors landing at Heathrow who feel compelled to buy a walk up HEX ticket as they tend to have their ticket desk straight after arrivals and alternatives like tube etc are not obvious. Also service reliability is not great, even though I can claim the ticket as an expense for work, the cost is exorbitant unless you buy well in advance. I have a moral conscience and paying close to £50 for a return to Heathrow and charging it to my employer (R&D firm) is not value for money.

      • Andrew H says:

        I agree. If you go contactless, a tube fare only costs £3.10.

      • Lady London says:

        Yes. The Heathrow Express ticket sellers do seem to plant themselves practically at the exit from Customs shouting about get your ticket to London here. This is just out of Customs.when you’re walking along that narrow corridor with doors at the end that will swing open to the main landside part of the airport. In fact each time through now, these Heathrow Express sellers seem to be getting more aggressive and kind of plant themselves almost in front of me, blocking my way.

        I think this is a bit unfair on people who don’t know there are other cheaper ways to get from Heathrow to London, who just arrived at the airport. They’re just kind of getting waylaid by these people and might not know better. If they could only make it the extra 3/4 mile to the almost-impossible-to-find London travel information centre near the landside exit… they would be informed of a good number of these other less rip-off modes of travel.

        IMO the Heathrow Express pricing is a shocking example of rip-off Britain. That honour was previously held by the Stansted Express. But the Heathrow Express rip-off pricing has long since blown everything else into the weeds.

  • Doug M says:

    OT a little. The express train to the airport in Stockholm (Arlanda?) is just like Heathrow Express. Again there are much cheaper options but they’re not obvious and not promoted. So it’s not just the UK that does this.

    • Imbruce says:

      It’s the same with anyone going to Kingsford Smith airport at Mascot from Sydney City that takes a train as the only train line is privately owned and is very expensive,the other alternatives are an airport bus to the city or a cab.

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