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Did you know that ‘kids eat for free’ at Heathrow?

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Heathrow has two schemes – ‘kids travel for free’ and ‘kids eat for free’ – which can substantially reduce the cost of getting to, and eating in, the airport.

Heathrow asked me to try out its family-friendly services and offered me a free set of Heathrow Express tickets and a free meal in Gordon Ramsay Plane Food.

Over the August Bank Holiday we had a well-timed mid-afternoon family flight to Hamburg which gave us a chance to take them up on their offer.

Kids travel free on heathrow express

Kids travel free on Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express began to offer free travel to children under 15 a few years ago, but a lot of people still don’t know this offer exists.

I have used it before – it is even valid in First Class – and it works well.

One-way Heathrow Express tickets can cost as little as £5.50 per person on weekends and Bank Holidays if you book well in advance – admittedly you need to book 90 days in advance to get it this cheaply – which means as little as £11 for a family of four.

First Class can be as cheap as £7.50 (weekends and holidays, 90 day advance purchase) which means £15 for a family of four one-way.  You will pay substantially more at peak times of course – a ‘walk up’ fare is £25 during peak hours Monday to Friday, one way.

The kids found it a pleasant change to being belted into an Uber.  Heathrow Express has free wi-fi too, and takes you directly to Terminals 2/3 and Terminal 5.  Terminal 4 still requires a change of train at Terminals 2/3.

Remember that you can earn Avios or Heathrow Rewards points when booking Heathrow Express tickets – click here to read our overview.

Max Burgess Molly Burgess

Kids eat free at Heathrow

Heathrow runs special promotions during the main school holiday periods.  At these times, many restaurants in the airport offer free meals for children when an adult eats too.

Here are the upcoming ‘kids eat free’ dates:

24 October – 3 November 2019

5 December – 5 January 2020

3 February – 23 February 2020

You can see a list of participating restaurants on this page of the Heathrow Airport website.  You get one free child main course for every adult main course purchased.  Make sure you check the age restriction at each restaurant as it varies from 10 years to 12 years.

Kids eat free at Heathrow

However, Gordon Ramsay Plane Food in Terminal 5 and Perfectionists’ Café in Terminal 2 run this offer every day.  The age cut-off is 12 years at Plane Food and 10 years at Perfectionists’ Café.

I had never been to Plane Food before, despite having eaten at most other restaurants in the Gordon Ramsay stable (our nearest walkable restaurant at home is a branch of Maze Grill).  Having had BA status for many years, paying for a meal in Terminal 5 pre-flight always seemed like an odd thing to do!

Plane Food has a surprisingly large menu.  If you are in a hurry, or are simply nervous about not making it to your plane, there is a 25-minute two-course Express Menu.  You can extend this to ‘three courses in 35 minutes’ if you have a little more time.

If you have more time to kill, you can take your pick from the full menu.  Plane Food is open from 5am and serves a full breakfast menu, including a ‘Veggie Breakfast’, until noon.  The lunch and dinner menu then kicks in until 9.30pm.

For the adults there is a broad mix – a ‘Raw Bar’ selection of uncooked fish and meat dishes, ‘Small Plates’ (chicken wings, soups, salmon teriyaki etc, around £10), salads, noodle dishes (udon, ramen) and a standard selection of mains – fish, pasta, burgers, curry etc – at £15-£20.

The free kids meal comes from the ‘Tilly’s Treats’ menu, which is now standard across most Gordon Ramsay restaurants (click to enlarge):

Plane Food kids menu

The menu comes inside an activity box to keep the kids occupied:

Molly Burgess Max Burgess

I went for the roasted cod, served with tartar mash, Chardonnay wine sauce and a poached free-range egg:

Gordon Ramsay plane food heathrow

….. which, frankly, was better than anything you’ll find in BA’s Galleries Club lounge over lunch.

This was the fish and chips childrens meal:

Molly Burgess

…. whilst my son went for the Cornish seaside sausage spaghetti.

Max Burgess

Service was excellent, and it was actually a pleasant change to have a waiter-served airport meal rather than running up and down to a lounge buffet.

You can find out more about Gordon Ramsay Plane Food here.

If you are travelling through Heathrow with children, I do recommend bearing ‘kids eat free’ in mind.  As I said, it is available 365 days a year in Plane Food in Terminal 5 and Perfectionists’ Café in Terminal 2, with a lot more restaurants joining in during the key school holiday periods.

Don’t forget to claim your Heathrow Rewards points too, which convert 1:1 into Avios, Virgin Flying Club miles and various other schemes.

Thank you to Heathrow for our train tickets and our lunch.

Comments (46)

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

  • Planning Geek says:

    Great tips, although with most having lounge access it will be a bit wasted.

    Your daughter looks older than 12 😉

    • Nick says:

      Planning Geek – are you an Old Etonian? I am sure that people who live in the real world all understand that’s most people do NOT have lounge access!

      • Mark says:

        I think he meant most people reading this Nick, which is probably pretty accurate.

    • Rob says:

      She’s 11. Tell me about it. 5 foot 8 I think. Feet already bigger than her Mum, who is not exactly short as HfP party attendees may remember, The boy is only 8.

      • Lady London says:

        Looks like you might struggle soon to persuade restaurants she’s under 12 !

        Unfortunately light also mean she can access pubs early ..

  • POUGer says:

    Something looks fishy about the chicken & chips. 🎣

    • Big Dave says:

      my kids (now over 12) would have been disgusted with those portion sizes from the ages of 10 upwards….. would have to supplement wiith some sides or a generous desert

      • John says:

        Not like Rob’s meal looks any bigger unless that cod was already half-eaten.

        I have to thank my parents for always letting me order from the normal menu since I was about 7.

        • Chrisasaurus says:

          At the risk of another ‘most’ – most folk dont want large portions immediately before a flight I’d have thought

          • John says:

            I dunno about most but I certainly do when I get up at 3am and spend 2 hours getting to the lounge from my front door, which is why I order 2 meals at CX F in LHR3.

            And are we talking about most general or most HFPers? No meals on most short-hauls, economy meals are rubbish, so if you’re going to pay then wouldn’t you rather eat in the airport than on the plane (time permitting)?

        • Lady London says:

          I think the quality is in the chunkiness @John not the width.

          • Michael Jennings says:

            I’ve had the roasted cod in one of Ramsay’s other restaurants, and it is really good.

            I’ve also been to most of Ramsay’s other London restaurants but not to Plane Food. I don’t have lounge access at T5, but I’m normally in a rush when I go through it, and I generally just grab something from the Pret. Perhaps I should arrive earlier and try it some time.

        • Gordon Ramsey says:

          I think you’ll find thats precisely the point. Kids don’t get to eat free as such, they simply get to eat a portion of their parent’s dinner. Ace marketing eh.

  • Shoestring says:

    O/T Install Amazon Assistant on your browser for a free £5 – this works even if you downloaded it before (for £10 last time!) but you’d have to uninstall that one first. People who install it are reporting getting the £5 offer straight away but I had to wait a few days then it popped up.

    You can install it on Desktop browsers
    Google Chrome
    Mozilla Firefox
    Microsoft Edge
    Internet Explorer
    Sogou Explorer
    360 Safe Browser
    360 Quick Browser

    So all your Amazon a/cs can get the £5, just use a different browser each time. And of course buy your Amazon stuff through the HfP link to pay your subs 🙂

    • Shoestring says:

      Forgot to mention that the £5 is for using the app on 5 consecutive days, which is basically 2 clicks a day (click on app/ click on a buying suggestion)

    • john says:

      Is it documented on amazon site or does the £5 come through without going via specific link etc?

      • Shoestring says:

        you have to wait until the £5 offer pops up once you’ve installed it, might take a couple of days

  • NS says:

    Pretty sure I saw you Rob on that bank holiday Monday in a long snaking queue at Heathrow security. First time with kids for me…not being able to use the e gates was a new one for me!

    • Rob says:

      We were in standard fast track as my wife’s Gold has expired!

      • Doug M says:

        The public shame of it…..

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Do miss First check in and lounge vs standard FT and club lounge. makes me want to shoot for gold again.

        tbh I fly enough to get around 1k TP a year i.e. 2 business returns (Qatar etc) and positioning flights etc might need to push for gold again this year.

  • pixielott46 says:

    Did your children agree to having their pictures uploaded to your website?

    • Rob says:

      My kids are desperate to appear on the site. My daughter keeps Googling her name online and is disappointed when pictures of her never show up. The only ambition my boy has is to be a £1 million per year YouTuber.

      I cut my wife some slack because HFP is very heavily read in the City and it is all people want to talk about when she goes to banking meetings. As she doesn’t use my surname it is rare at the moment people pick it up, except for the time the Daily Mail printed the photo of us both.

      • Nick M says:

        Plus I imagine they can invoice you £12,500pa for an appearance fee?

      • The Savage Squirrel says:

        She looks distinctly unimpressed with the “activity box”, which at 11yo is fair enough :D.

      • pixielott46 says:

        fair enough, good luck to your son on fulfilling his ambition!

  • jc says:

    >it was actually a pleasant change to have a waiter-served airport meal rather than running up and down to a lounge buffet

    Simple – switch allegiance to VS 🙂

    • jc says:

      Though presumably you also get table service in some of the oneworld. Is it just when the whole family is there that you can’t

      • Rob says:

        Galleries First has a little bit of table service but it is hardly a restaurant. Agree with the Clubhouse though! (Or indeed Qatar in T4)

        • The Original David says:

          Even GC has a little bit of table service, if you can be bothered to order champagne!

  • ankomonkey says:

    The Tilly’s Treats menu could be a bit healthier. Ramsay should be ashamed! Or does he only sell his name to it and has nothing to do with the food or menu?

    • Rob says:

      Almost all his restaurants have the same kid’s menu – we’ve had it at Maze and the one in New Change.

      • sloth says:

        have you been to the one in battersea Rob? i know you mentioned you’ve been to most of them? i’ve been to quite a few but keep meaning to try that one but not got round to it yet

    • sloth says:

      Tilly is one of his daughters, i thought the menu came from her (that was supposed to be the idea originally anyway)

      • ankomonkey says:

        Wow! So she specified that the chicken be corn-fed, the sausage Cornish seaside (whatever that means for a sausage – made from Shoestring’s mules?) and the English breakfast be classic (whatever that means)?

        Here’s the menu my kids put together for my restaurant:

        Classic Cheerios and anything with honey
        Corn-fed anything drowned in ketchup
        Loads of Cornish seaside profiteroles

        • Shoestring says:

          yep mules, Middle East non-pork sausages maybe? – definitely never seen any pigs down here!

        • Chas says:

          The Cornish Sausage Spaghetti recipe is from Tilly’s own cookbook, and is a favourite recipe of both my teenagers for a midweek supper (and they’ll happily cook it themselves which is a bonus too).

  • sunguy says:


    I often like your articles, especially the bit where you are impartial….unfortunately the bit above about the HEX reads a little like an advert and fails to point out that every half hour it can take 30mins using Crossrail/Elizabeth Line//TFL Rail/Ex-Heathrow connect for the price of a Z1-6 Travelcard…..or if you live in London, the child travelcards for “getting kids to school” will also work….

    I use a bit of both – depending on how much time I have to get to LHR…..

    Also, I have to say that a number of the HEX trains are rather tired inside – not as much as the TFL Rail ones – though once they change to the real Crossrail rolling stock, they will be much superior IMHO….

    Just sayin` 🙂

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

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