In November 2021, Heathrow Airport suspended the driverless ‘pod’ transfer system from one of the car parks. This removed a key benefit of using the pod car park, although the airport did put on a replacement bus service which was reportedly frequent.
The good news is that the pods seem to be back.
Not everyone has got the message yet – even Heathrow’s website manages to contradict itself on the same page – but it is functioning.
You can benefit from the pods even if you don’t have a car
One of the lesser known secrets of Heathrow Airport is that guests of the Thistle Heathrow hotel can use the driverless pods to get to Terminal 5.
The hotel backs on to the pod parking car park. The Thistle has added a door into the car park, and for a fee they will give you the PIN code! Once you’re in the car park, you can hop into a pod and be in Terminal 5 within a couple of minutes. It also works in reverse, making the Thistle an easy hotel to reach if landing at Terminal 5.
We reviewed Thistle Heathrow Terminal 5 here. This is not a great hotel BUT using the driverless pods in the car park to take you directly to Terminal 5 is pretty cool and a big time saver.
We reviewed the driverless pods here, because we’re a bit sad.
The current fee for using the pods is £6 per person. The hotel claims that it passes the money on to Heathrow, so don’t blame them.
Full details of the Thistle Heathrow’s pod access can be found on the hotel website here.
If you need a hotel and parking, this trick can save you money
Here is the website to book the pod car park at Heathrow.
However, as you can see on its website here, the Thistle Heathrow hotel also offers ‘stay, park and fly’ packages. To quote the website:
“You can leave your car with us for 4, 8, 15 or 22 days at a discounted parking rate, when reserved with accommodation. Additional nights of parking are available from just £12.00 per car per night.”
It is likely that a ‘stay, park and fly’ package at the Thistle will be cheaper than booking the pod car park and the hotel separately. Because the Thistle lets you use the pods, parking at the hotel is virtually the same experience as using the Heathrow pod car park.
Hotel offers update – May 2022:
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