With the Elizabeth Line now open in competition, albeit that direct trains to Heathrow from Canary Wharf, the City and Central London won’t start until later in the year, Heathrow Express is pushing forward with some new marketing initiatives of its own.
The most interesting of these is free Fast Track security at Heathrow when you show a Heathrow Express Business First ticket.
Heathrow started to sell Fast Track security passes before the pandemic. Sales were suspended in 2020 and have not restarted since.
Effective immediately, however, you can waltz through Fast Track with the purchase of a Business First ticket on Heathrow Express.
This isn’t cheap, of course.
As you can see here on the Heathrow Express website, an Anytime Day Single costs £32 and an Anytime Day Return costs £55.
That said, a Standard Class day single ticket will cost you £25. If you are paying £25, you might as well push the boat out and pay £32 and get Fast Track thrown in.
What are the other benefits of Business First?
The key benefits are a guaranteed table seat and greater legroom. Both classes have luggage racks and access to 4G-powered wi-fi.
The carriages have screens to show live flight and rail connections as well as daily news highlights and there are USB sockets in addition to normal power outlets which should be more useful for international travellers.
New trains now in service
If you haven’t travelled on Heathrow Express for a while, you may not have been on the ‘new’ train fleet yet. I say ‘new’ because they are actually refurbished Electrostar trains, built in 2015 to 2017.
The old fleet, whilst in excellent condition, was actually over 20 years old. More importantly, it wasn’t compatible with the new signalling system being installed as part of the Crossrail upgrade.
The new Business First configuration is denser at 2-1 rather than 1-1, albeit I can’t think of any other train operator still offering 1-1 in Business Class.
How to buy Heathrow Express tickets
This article looks at how you can get a discount on Heathrow Express tickets and earn Avios on your purchases. You can’t earn Avios on the purchase of discounted Standard Class tickets but you will earn Heathrow Rewards points.
Remember that, if you have Star Alliance Gold status – perhaps via the TAP Portugal status match – you get a free upgrade to First Class on Heathrow Express. This won’t come with Fast Track security, however, because you buy a Standard Class ticket and simply take a seat in First Class, flashing your Star Alliance Gold card if challenged.
PS. As of today, the Fast Track offer is not mentioned on the Heathrow Express website. You’ll have to trust us that it is up and running.