You are landing or flying from Heathrow Airport and you’re starting to consider your transfer options between the airport and the city. The airport is located in 12 miles from the city in west of Central London. Heathrow Airport is the largest and busiest airport, not only in UK but in Europe. According to 2013 statistics, Heathrow Airport handled more than 73 million overall passenger traffic which is quite huge number. Traveling to and from Heathrow can be difficult in case passengers are not well prepared and informed before taking onto their journey. Some people even prefer to change their flight operators just to avoid Heathrow traffic.
How To Get There?
However, there are many ways to get to Heathrow Airport and take the best from your travel. Let’s see the major traveling options, for a single passenger, groups or families. The time for travel, prices and luggage allowance are differences between various traveling options.
Heathrow Express is the fastest transportation method to and from the Airport and gives you a number of other benefits while traveling. Heathrow Express connects the Airport and Paddington Railway Central Station.
- Time for travel: Compared to other London Airports, the express to Heathrow takes minimum estimated time for travel – only 15 minutes. The train runs in every 15 minutes in both directions and starts to operate in early morning to late evening– from 05:00 am until 11:25 pm heading to the Airport and from 05:07 am until 23:58 pm in direction to Paddington.
- Stops: The Express will take you to all of the Airport terminals: T1, T3, T4 and T5, it also can be used as connection between terminals. In the city,the train stops at Paddington Central Station, great location to make connection with other trains or the city travel network.
- Luggage: Normally luggage, which does not exceed 150 cm in any of the dimension measurements / height, depth, length/ or does not take additional passenger seat is carried for free. Something that maybe few people know is that Heathrow Express allows to travel with animals – cats and gods. Also in every train you can find at least two special spaces for wheelchairs. Anyway, it is forbidden to travel with any powered vehicles except for bicycles, which can be taken on board but only during the very early or late hours of the day.
- Booking and Prices: We have to admit, that Heathrow Express has taken online booking to another level in UK travel system. Heathrow Express has a mobile app to book tickets and gives you for free your first ticket bought. The standard fare for a single travel is £26 but booked online the ticket costs £21. Online booking brings up various discount deals for duo, groups and families. Children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by adult. You can also buy your tickets on board.
- Advantages: We can say without any doubt, that the major advantage of Heathrow Express is first – the fast travel and second – comfort. The train is air conditioned, it has free WIFI, TV, additional space for luggage, quiet zone. It’s quick, exact way of travel and gives you the chance to avoid huge city traffic. It’s true, that you cannot use the train in case you’re arriving at night, but during the day it is great option.
Heathrow Connect is joint service between two operators – National Express and GWR. It brings connections between Paddington and the Airport and calling at the local stations in West London. The train operates in every 30 minutes. The journey takes between 30 and 50 minutes, and tickets can be bought from ticket office or booked online. The Connect service also provides discount deals with online purchasing.
The single fare between Paddington and Heathrow is £10.10. Unlike the Express, the Connect train only goes to T2 and T3, so passengers have to make change to shuttle, if they want to get to the other terminals. The inter-terminal shuttle is free. Heathrow Connect is the best option if case you want to use the train but save money and drop off on a station near to your destination.
The Piccadilly Line is likely the best combination between price and quality for public transport. Underground travel is best for passengers with light luggage. The Tube will take you to the city centre, but after you get off, additional connections must be made, or travelers have to make it on foot.
- Time for travel: The time for travel is less than an hour and you don’t have to wait more than ten minutes to take the next train.
- Stops: Tube stops are located at T4 and T5 and one common stop for terminals 1 and 3. The first train from the terminals as follows T3, T4 and T5 is at 05:12 am, 05:02 am and 05:23 am. The service runs until 23:45. Piccadilly line goes to city center and along the route passengers can make connections with the other underground lines.
- Luggage: As in every underground system, you’re not limited to any fixed amount of luggage. This is because, a single person will have great difficulties to carry more than one big suitcase and one hand luggage. The Tube is overcrowded all the time and the trains don’t have special places for luggage. The other problem are ticket barriers – they are very narrow, people with wide bags can’t get through.
- Booking and Prices: Tickets can be bought at the train stations and the single price in £5.70. In case you are staying in London and planning to use the Tube you can buy a travel card. The travel card includes trips in all London zones and for one day the price is £17. Did you know about Oyster Card? The Oyster Card is a smart-card charged with credit. It is delivered by post to your home and can be used for all public transport services – The Tube, buses, train services, Tram and even river bus service. The card is electronic and you pay with it, when you swipe it over the yellow card readers before you enter a station.
- Advantages: The Tube is fast and the cheapest option for travel. With the underground you can get to almost every point in the inner city network. The chance that at least one underground stations is near your home is guaranteed.
Heathrow Airport is the last stop before London for national coaches and buses, but they do connect you with the city. In London you can choose between two or three operators – the well known National Express, easyBus and Oxford Bus Airline which connects Heathrow with Oxford.
- Time for travel: As with other Airport transfer services, the bus always takes you to Victoria Station. The journey is longer compared with the train – between 40 and 80 mins, depending on the time of the day. Include the traffic and your journey might become quite long experience. The buses and coaches run usually on every 15 and 30 minutes. There is no fixed timetable for National Express buses, so passengers have to check in advance the time of departure. Bus delays are something usual, so don’t get surprised if your bus is getting late. Services from Heathrow commence at approximately 4:20 am and run until 10:20 pm.
- Stops: There is a big number of stops between the Airport and the city, so you will find your best and closest option online. Something that you should have in mind is that the buses don’t stay at the stops, they only drop off passengers and leave. Buses run from the Central Bus Station at Heathrow which is between Terminals 2 and 3. Terminals 4 and 5 are at the other side of the airport. You can use the free Heathrow Express trains that run every 15 minutes to Heathrow Central Station underneath the bus station from Terminals 4 and 5.
- Luggage: National Express allows 2 cases per person up to 20 kilograms each. The allowance of National Express is the same for all destinations and Airports. easyBus have the smallest luggage allowance, as they operate with mini buses. On board you can take just one bag with limited dimensions.
- Booking and Prices: The standard price to Victoria Station is £6. If you want to be sure, that your seat is available you should always book in advance. If you miss your trip, in case of flight delay, you will probably lose your money. There are some replacement options – you can take the next bus. The disappointment comes with the fact that you can take only the left seats, which are still free and travel to destinations closer to yours- by price and by time travel.
- Advantages: The bus is budget friendly way of travel. It may be slower, but buses are modern and air conditioned. When you purchase a ticket in advance your seat is guaranteed.
Did you know that there are rail-air bus links? These coaches and buses link Heathrow Airport with some of the important stops along the national railway network such as: Feltham, Reading, Woking and Watford Junction. The fare is £16 for a single trip and services run in every 20 minutes. The journey time to these points is approximately 45 mins.
Taxis are always practical option. In case the cost doesn’t bother you, you should catch a cab.
- Time for travel: Sadly taxi travel will not make your trip quicker. It is about one hour or even more to get to the city. Heathrow is closer than the other Airports, but city traffic is slowing everyone in a car.
- Luggage: The amount of the allowed luggage, here really depends on the type of vehicle you choose – for 4 passenger or for a group. The most spread car type is saloon car and for 4 passenger, there is place for 2 suitcases and hand luggage.
- Booking and Prices: Usually at the airports you will not find taxis waiting for customers, but with Heathrow it is different. On the airport you can take a taxi, because Heathrow Terminals have approved taxi ranks. There is also taxi desks on the Terminals, where you can make an inquiry for pick up. The average price is from £45 to £70.
- Advantages: Taxis are more comfortable and quiet than public transport. You don’t have to hurry when you arrive on the Terminal. You can call a taxi at the airport desks or go to the taxi rank.
Minicab companies offer great deals for airport transfers for Heathrow London as it’s the most used route. With a quick online search you can find hundreds of deals and different minicab services – pet friendly, big cars for higher volumes of luggage, etc. Minicabs take passengers from the airport and drop them at a specific point. Passengers can find information about the point closest to them when they take a quote for minicab.
- Time for travel: It is the same as with the black taxis – the estimated time to get to city center is up to one hour.
- Luggage: Again the same as with regular cabs the standard saloon car can carry 4 people and 2 suitcases. There are different types of cars – from small saloon cars, estate cars or 8 seated vehicles.
- Booking and Prices: Considering the fact that passengers don’t have to drag along big suitcases, the price of £35 / 45 is OK. The best thing about minicabs is that fares are always fixed and you won’t get surprised at the end of the journey. As result of the big competition between minicab companies a lot of them provide big discounts when you are booking.
- Advantages: Minicabs have lots of advantages. For a start they provide child and baby seats, no extra fees, and o charge for card transactions. They operate 24/7 and clients get instant response with quotes. All drivers are equipped with flight monitoring devices to avoid waiting at the airport. Customers can use the option to be taken right from the terminal by the driver.
We continue our series of articles about airport transfers in London with this post on how to travel between the centre of the capital and the busiest national airport. Last week we published an article how to get the best airport transfer service between London and Stansted. We hope you find our post useful.