Whilst planning the last leg of my year end UK trip, the topic the best from London Heathrow (LHR) to the Hotel came up – because we only had a short period in London (2 nights) – so limiting the travel times and hassles of traveling was a priority – the options were getting a Transfer, trying the “New” Heathrow Express or just hoping onto a cab:
Heathrow Express + Cab:
The first selection was to try out the much promoted Heathrow Express which shuffles people between LHR and Paddington Station in 15mins and there’s a train every 15mins. Because we were staying near the Temple area, it would mean that we will need to take a cab from Paddington to Temple (where the hotel is) after take the express.
Looking at the cost, with the 2 people bundle and 30 day advance discount, return tickets were 35 pounds for Saver class and 53 pounds for Business class – after some research, most people say that the Business is overpriced and not worth the 15min journey, so I did my comparison with the 35pounds price:
Next was the cab from Paddington to Temple, which based on TaxiFareFinder – is approximately 20.5 Pounds in light traffic – so I assumed about 32 pounds one way if we add a bit more traffic and tip – time was 24mins:
So overall, the return journey would’ve been:
Cost: 35 pounds for express and 64 pounds for cab (each way) = 99 pounds
Time: 15mins for express and then 24mins = 39mins (but being conservative, could be a another 15mins if we just miss the express – and also there is the time needed to travel from platform across the station etc.) = so let’s say an hour.
Effort: Could be quite a bit with luggage, stairs, platform finding etc.
Prestige: Not much – lugging your suitcases platform to platform.
Similar to getting a private transfer to the hotel, the cab was another alternative and offered the convenience of door to door – a quick TaxiFareFinder search showed that the trip would be about 80pounds each way:
Cost: Round Trip = approx 160 pounds
Time: 56mins – give it around an hour depending on traffic.
Effort: Can’t fault it much – get on a cab and sit till the hotel – waiting for a cab might be an issue but that is expected.
Prestige: Average – little hassle – and traditional UK cab.
The final option I explored and eventually decided upon was hiring a transfer (kind of like Uber). Deciding that was an option was the easy part, the tough part was actually selecting from the surprisingly large number of suppliers out there; the options that was considered were:
After a quick search, I narrowed it down to just BlackLane and JustAirports because Addison Lee unfortunately asked for you to register and login before you can even book an Airport Transfer (I don’t need to share my email before I even consider booking).
In terms of pricing, both BlackLane and JustAirports were about the same around 60 pounds each way (BlackLane you can get 10% off with coupon “Black10%OFF”:
Maybe I’m just a fool for a simple search engine, but what did stand out for me between the two sites was that for BlackLane, their website was able to search not only by postcode, but also by the exact Hotel itself (really gives you additional peace of mind when you’re unfamiliar with the streets – and UK postcodes don’t make much sense to me). JustAirports were just slightly cheaper but only offered quotes based on Postcode only (I’m sure you can tell the driver the exact place, but it doesn’t give much security with the confirmation).
So in the end I booked via BlackLane because of the added security of a specific address on the booking and also the fact that they confirmed almost within the hour.
Cost: Round Trip = approx 120 Pounds
Time: 56mins – give it around an hour depending on traffic. (Assume it’s the same as a cab)
Effort: Minimal, BlackLane included the Meet and Greet service (where a bloke holds your name on a board at the arrival gates). Not sure about JustAirports as they didn’t mention this throughout their quote pages. The minor benefit of not having to look and wait for a cab gives it just a little more convenience I guess.
Prestige: The confirmation says an E-Class/5 Series or a Lincoln (Not many Lincolns in the UK I assume) – but other reviews have said that the cars are generally pretty good. The addition of meet and greet is the cherry on top.
With all that considered, I decided on the private transfer because of the added convenience and not having to “think”. It is slightly more expensive – 20 pounds premium over the Express+Cab option, but the prospect of having to run around suitcases from platform to platform just wasn’t that appealing. Why anyone would choose a cab is beyond me given how much extra it costs.
I haven’t tried BlackLane yet and online the reviews could be mixed – but given that London is a major city and competition is strong, I’m hoping the service and quality will be satisfactory.