Because Heathrow airport is about 15 miles west of central London, when you land in England’s capital you’ll need to find a way to get into the city proper. The Heathrow Express is a train that travels between Heathrow airport and the city of London, providing swift and regular service for people who are arriving and departing from one of the world’s busiest airports. Heathrow Express operates specifically between Paddington Station in the northwest corner of central London and all terminals of Heathrow. Paddington Station is on the Underground system, so once you arrive at this station you can jump on the Bakerloo, Circle, District, and Hammersmith and City lines to get to your final destination in London. You can also take a cab from Paddington to anywhere in London.
When the Heathrow Express Trains Run
Heathrow Express runs seven days a week. The first train leaves daily from Paddington Station at 5:10 in the morning, and between Monday and Saturday the first trains leave terminals 1 and 3 from Heathrow at 5:12. On Sunday, the first train leaves from these same terminals at at 5:08. The first terminal 5 trains always depart at 5:07 am. Once the first train leaves, new trains show up every 15 minutes until around 11:30 pm. The trip between Paddington Station and terminals 1 and 3 is about 15 minutes, while the trip to terminal 5 takes about 20 minutes.
How to Get Heathrow Express Tickets
The easiest way to get your tickets for the Heathrow Express is to buy them online before your trip. That way when you land at Heathrow, or get to Paddington Station, you can hop on a train with your ticket already in hand. Tickets purchased online are sent via email — once your ticket is emailed to you, all you need to do is print it out and bring it along on the day of travel. You can also have your Heathrow Express ticket sent to you via text message on a mobile device; these tickets contain a barcode that can be scanned by the train staff. Of course, you can also purchase train tickets at the station, and you can also buy your ticket on board.
Several amenities are available during your short ride between Heathrow and Paddington Station. The Heathrow Express has television service called Express TV, where passengers can get up to date international news and entertainment clips. Wireless Internet access is also afforded to all passengers, as is mobile phone service. If you get a seat in first class, you can also enjoy a table from which you can work on a laptop, or read one of the provided newspapers or magazines. The trains are designed to be level with station platforms, so it is easy to get luggage on and off the cars.
Every Heathrow Express boasts a quiet car, where you can expect to sit in relative silence during your journey. In these cars, the television remains switched off and passengers are asked to use mobile phones at a minimum. These cars are good if you want to take a short nap during your ride, read a book in peace, or just feel more relaxed.
Once you buy a Heathrow Express ticket, you can use it in either direction. For instance, if you intend to use the ticket to get from Paddington Station to Heathrow, but end up taking a taxi instead, you can use the ticket from Heathrow to Paddington upon your return instead. Tickets are kept in the booking system for 6 months, and you can use your ticket once during this time. Should your flight get cancelled, or you decide against taking a trip after you buy a Heathrow Express ticket, you should hang on to your ticket since you can still use it within the next 6 months.