Taking the Heathrow Express to London

Taking the Heathrow Express to London
I know. Public transportation isn’t for every business traveler. Maybe you are a throwback from the 80’s and have a deep pocketed expense account and can afford the towncars or the limos and private drivers. If not, when it comes to saving money and time with minimal hassle, most would choose to ride with the masses, especially in this economy, and especially in such an expensive city. Plus, a taxi ride to Central London can take nearly an hour. But the Heathrow Express can get you to Paddington station in just 15-20 minutes and its comfortable. Not to mention, you feel like a local. And as we all know, when in Rome….

Let’s Do the Math: Cost of Heathrow Express Versus Taking a Taxi

This is really simple math. First, the currency in England is the Pound Sterling (or “quid”), not the Euro. At the time this article was posted, the conversion of Pounds to U.S. Dollars was: 1 Pound = $1. 539, and that’s the best it’s been in a while. So as you can see, you’ve lost money the minute you convert to Pounds.

Next, consider a ticket on the Heathrow Express ranges from £18 - £26. Then, check the average fares form Heathrow to London for a cab ride. It can run you anywhere between £40 - £70. To translate that from the Queen’s English, that’s $29 - $42 versus $64 - $112. A big difference.

Heathrow Express is Faster and More Comfortable than a Cab

London is an amazing city. After being there only two days I questioned if I really ever knew what manners were because I learned so much about being “civilized”. After clearing customs (a long process with the recent terror alerts), I was tempted to settle into the comfort of a cab and have a moment to myself. Yet after I collected my bag and walked through the doors to the U.K., there were two very polite gentlemen asking if there was anyone wishing to take the Heathrow Express. I stuck with my plan.

The nice young man took my credit card right there and swiped it through a hand-held register. He handed me a printed copy of a receipt and pointed me right around the corner. I hardly even had to stop. I followed the signs and boarded the train. It really was that simple.

As I sat there, the lighting changed, almost to mood lighting and the television screen at the forward wall of the train played spa-like music. It was the most peaceful form of public transportation I had ever taken. I could have fallen asleep. It took about 15 minutes once we departed Heathrow. I simply presented the receipt I had been given at the airport to the conductor. If I had taken a cab, I would have spent an hour in the car considering the time of day I was traveling – and there certainly wouldn’t have been spa music.

Once I arrived at Paddington Station, the signage was clearly marked as to where I could find a cab to take to me my hotel. My cab fare form Paddington to Trafalgar Square was approximately $18, however, I could have saved that money had I taken the Underground (London’s subway system), and would have if jetlag had not gotten the best of me in the moment.

So, it’s really not even a question of whether you should choose this option the next time you fly into Heathrow. It seems the reason that more people don’t use the Express is really just lack of knowledge about how simple it is.

Travel safely.

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