Bits: a report from Row 36 on ‘densified’ G-MEDN, reduced fares on Heathrow Connect from May

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News in brief:

A trip report from Row 36 on G-MEDN

The saveeastcoastrewards blog (long story about the name) has published a trip report from the back of the first ‘densified’ British Airways short-haul planes.

The interesting points are:

  • the promised USB charging points do not seem to exist
  • there are no windows in the back row
  • there is a crew seat attached to the toilet door, so if the seatbelt sign comes on and you’re in the loo, you may not be getting out!
  • there are no baby changing facilities in the mini-loos

The full review and photos are well worth a look – see here.

TFL Rail (ex Heathrow Connect) fares to Heathrow revealed

The same site also has details of the new fares on the old Heathrow Connect stopping service from Paddington to Heathrow which passes to the control of TFL Rail from 20th May.  Once the central section of Crossrail opens this service will be discontinued entirely.

Fares will be slightly cheaper than at present for most people.  From Paddington they drop 10p to £10.20 (by 20p off-peak) with a bigger fall of 70p (peak) and £2 (off-peak) from Acton, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Greenford.

The real innovation is the inclusion of Heathrow Connect / TFL Rail in the £12.50 daily Oyster cap for Zones 1-6.

If you are only in London for the day, £12.50 will get you a return trip from Heathrow to Paddington on TFL Rail / Heathrow Connect (not Heathrow Express) plus all of your tube and bus travel for the day.

You may even make a saving if you are only travelling one-way to Heathrow, as the £12.50 daily cap may be cheaper than a tube ticket from home or office to Paddington plus the £10.20 TFL Rail fee.

Anyone with a Zone 1-6 season ticket will now also be able to travel to Heathrow free of charge on Heathrow Connect / TFL Rail, instead of having to take the tube.

All of these changes begin on 20th May.  They are NOT in place today.

It was also announced yesterday that similar fares will be in place for Crossrail / Elizabeth Line once it is fully operational to Heathrow.  Whilst Crossrail will follow standard zonal pricing – so fares will be identical whether you take the tube or Elizabeth Line – this will not include Heathrow.  Fares to the airport will be similar to those I listed above, albeit with a peak time premium, due to a surcharge paid to the airport for the use of the track and signalling which it controls.  We will cover this in more detail nearer the time.  The Heathrow Express will continue to operate and will be around 10 minutes quicker to Paddington than a Crossrail train.

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  1. What’s the journey time difference between connect and express? Was planning to just tube it to T5 on the 25th May after work from my office in Borough. Trying to work out if Connect is worth it from Borough via Paddington as Express only works out around 15 mins faster but way more expensive so not worth the additional cost for me. Use contactless for my daily commute from zone 6 so will benefit from price capping.

    • 11 minutes more by Heathrow connect.

      If I was trying to get to Heathrow from Borough, I think I’d favour the tube (Northern to Monument, district to Baron’s Court, then Piccadilly to Heathrow) over trying to get to Paddington (change at elephant and castle for barkerloo or change at king’s cross for met/circle/h&c perhaps?), especially with it being an across platform interchange from the district to Piccadilly at Baron’s Court or Hammersmith

      • Cheers. That’s what I was suspected about the time. Was thinking to do northern to elephant then pick up Bakerloo to Piccadilly then Piccadilly line to T5. Hate district and circle as it’s just so slow. Walk from Bank to Monument underground also takes forever, would be less grief for me to walk across the bridge and just pick up district from there if i went that way.

        • Northern line to district at bank/monument is a couple of minutes tops. Just exit at the southern end of the platform and up the escalator and down a corridor.

          Even switching from district to the central isn’t that bad if you ignore the signposts and cut along the northern line platforms

        • I do the northern/central line change every day I’m in my main office and hate it.

        • Tilly there’s another option-go over to Waterloo and catch the train to Feltham, there’s a (fairly quick) 490 bus from there to T5. Much easier. Make sure you aim for a Reading-bound train from Waterloo as they’re semi-fast to Feltham.

        • Thanks Nick. I’ll look into it.

        • I’ve had the 490 bus not turn up for a number of slots and when it did show, it decided to Terminate at Hatton Cross. So I recommend 490 to T5 or the one to Hatton Cross and then change (whichever comes first) to give you more flexibility in the event of poor service..

    • I work between London Bridge and Borough station (London Bridge is closer but only by a few minutes) if I’m going from work to King’s Cross I normally get the tube from Borough as I’m more likely to get a seat. For the Heathrow Express I normally take a Boris Bike to Elephant and Castle as that takes me to Paddington and as it’s the start point more likely to get a seat. It’s actually quicker though to get the Jubilee from London Bridge and change at Baker Street for the Bakerloo which is what I did on Wednesday as time was tight.

      • Can’t see me on a Boris bike with a weekend case and my handbag! I don’t travel light.

        Do prefer borough station as it’s small and less busy. Good job it’s spitting distance from my office.

  2. Martin says:

    Worth remembering that, if you’re using a Family or Two-Together railcard, you can’t apply this to a London Travelcard, but you can still get a significant discount by buying an Epsom to London Zones 1-6 ticket instead.

    • You can get railcard discounts on travelcards although family and two together ones can’t be added to an Oyster card (because Oyster wouldn’t know whether you were travelling together or alone). You can definitely get them discounted from National Rail/London Overground stations and I *think* the Tube ticket vending machines sell them.

      A zone 1-6 travelcard (will be valid on the TfL Rail operated service) with two together discount is £8.30!fares?orig=SQE&dest=ZHJ&rlc=2TR

      • Martin says:

        Is this new? When I last tried about a year ago the tube machines definitely didn’t have Two Together as a railcard option and Euston ticket office told me it wasn’t possible.

  3. O/T – does anyone know if BA will match an OTA for the same flight/ticket?

    If so, is it best to phone or email?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Rob MC says:

    OT – Amex platinum insurance
    Can anyone tell me how it works?! Am I covered for trips if I dont pay using the card?

    • For most of the cover types you need to pay on an Amex issued Amex (e.g. BA Amex), not one issued by a third party such as MBNA. As long as it’s an Amex issued card you will be covered.

      There also used to be an exception if it was not possible to pay with Amex. Ryanair used to be the big example but they’ve accepted Amex for a while. Loganair doesn’t appear to take Amex so you should still be covered if you have to pay for Loganair flights on another card.

      Note that using Paypal to pay for your flights will not count even if linked to Amex.

      • Rob MC says:

        Thanks. Can payment for any part be sufficient..i.e the flights and not hotel?

        • It splits – if you claim for flight delay comp it only matters that the flight was on Amex.

          Note that ‘big stuff’ is covered irrespective including medical. It is only what I call ‘little stuff’ like the small cash payment for a long flight delay which depends on how you paid.

          The full document is on the application website.

  5. I’ve added a follow up post, it’s a general review of the day when I was travelling G-MEDN. Includes a picture of the luxury shopping experience available in EDI 🙂

    My trip on Wednesday to check out G-MEDN was an impulsive decision. I had hoped to fly it last weekend but it wasn’t flying then (and wasn’t flying Mon/Tue either) so when I saw it on FR24 for Wednesday I decided to give it a go. I still had to fit in a meeting in London before I went to the airport and needed to do some work when I arrived in EDI. Despite missing the HEX I had planned to get I still made it through conformance in time.

  6. Martin says:

    Many people have rail cards that reduce HE and HC fares by one third or so.

    Tubes and buses are free for over-60’s. Not sure about HE/HC

    A bigger factor can be which terminal you need. HE goes to T5 and HC goes to T5. Otherwise HE is three times the price for a lousy 11 minute saving.

    • I think you made a typo but you’re right HEX and HC generally both go to T5 (although they don’t normally announce the HC going to T5), on a Sunday the HC mostly goes to T4 (and this is advertised). During the week you usually have to change at Heathrow Central when you’re going to T4 regardless of whether you take the HEX or HC.

      Railcard discounts will continue to be available. Some railcards can be added to Oyster cards but if you have a card that can’t be added to Oyster than paper tickets (or eTickets in the case of HEX) are still available.

    • I have the senior rail card but have always used CC for tube how do over 60’s travel free on the tube. Or is free travel only for senior locals with a Tube/Bus pass

      • London residents over 60 get free travel on TfL, and those with a freedom pass (retirement age) get free travel on most other National Rail services within London.

    • Roger I* says:

      ‘Tubes and buses are free for over-60’s.’

      Oh, dear. (Gulp!). Define your over-60s. 🙁 SOME Londoners over 60 get free travel thanks to a patently vote grabbing exercise by the previous mayor, with the appropriate card, of course. These Londoners are those who don’t qualify for a Freedom Pass (generally based on women’s retirement age – see, equal rights in motion. 😀 ). Non-Londoners over 60 pay anyway.

      I suspect that your comment refers to very few HfP readers.

  7. Lady London says:

    Omigod. Who’s going to write the first ‘Greedy British Airways cuts costs and no baby changing facility in their new plane toilets’ headline, ‘British Airways is anti-baby’ etc

  8. TfL*

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