Review: Heathrow Express Business First Class

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After arriving in London Heathrow and clearing immigration, I proceeded to the departure area at Terminal 3 for the Heathrow Express, the roughly 15-minute express service to London’s Paddington station.

By train, there are three ways of getting into downtown London:

  • By tube, at almost an hour
  • By Heathrow Connect, at almost half an hour
  • By Heathrow Express, at almost 15 minutes

Hearing lots of good things about the Heathrow Express, I wanted to try it out. There are two classes of service onboard – coach, which sells for about $50 USD round-trip, and Business First which sells for about $80 USD. For a 15 minute service, I wasn’t interested in spending an additional $30, but having not tried it before, and wanting to “take one for the team” for a review, I purchased it.

There are electronic ticketing machines just outside the departure tracks, and that’s where I got mine. There’s a human agent upstairs, but at the late hour of my arrival, they were closed. It’s worth noting that you can also buy Underground tickets here as well, to make your transfer at Paddington easier.

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After retrieving my ticket from the kiosk I noticed a departures board displaying the next trains to arrive.

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My train was just a few minutes away. The Heathrow Express departs every 15 minutes.

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8 minutes later, the train arrived. Not knowing how fast the train would pull away, I entered immediately, and figured I would find the First Class car from there.

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The First Class car is at the very front of the train, so, if you’re booked in First, head all the way down to the end of the platform.

I found it onboard the train, and there’s 2 double doors labeled First Class.

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Inside, there’s a 1×1 layout, vs. the 2×2 layout in coach. There’s plenty of luggage storage, as well as seating with tables. In addition, there are complementary newspapers and magazines, though with only a 15 minute hop, there’s hardly any time to read.

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Onboard, there’s electrical outlets at every seat including reasonably fast WiFi (fast enough I could make a few Skype calls).

15 minutes after departure we arrived at London’s Paddington station. From there, I took the Underground to Liverpool Street. It was a seamless connection.

My Take

Is it worth it to pay the upgrade to Business First? Absolutely no. For a 15 minute journey, you’re more than comfortable in the back, though I’m sure the train can get busy. Even still, standing for 15 minutes isn’t a big deal either. That said, if someone’s paying for your ticket, enjoy the private seating, and free newspaper. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Ryan H says

    Star Alliance / T2 are running a promo right now that gets *G free upgrades to Business First on Heathrow Express until May 31. Really simple too, just buy an economy ticket, seat in Business First, and show the ticket and your *G card if asked.

  2. says

    I have never taken heathrow express, since that £30 would go a lot further on the tube or towards an Uber or car service that was mentioned. If you know traffic will be horrendous and you NEED to be in downtown quickly it’s the best option but not the best bang for your buck.

  3. says

    For the peace of mind of absolute consistency getting in or out of central London whether on business or pleasure–I always take Heathrow Express. IMO it’s well worth it for the massive reduction in uncertainty and stress.

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