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Etihad's London Heathrow airport chauffeur service — for economy!

By John Walton     Filed under: Etihad, london, london heathrow, car service, United Kingdom, chauffeurs

Virgin Australia partner Etihad is extending its airport chauffeur service to economy passengers arriving at London's Heathrow Airport.

It's the same signature service enjoyed by the airline's first and business class travellers. You'll be met by your driver in the arrivals hall, helped with your luggage, then whisked away in a BMW or Mercedes to be dropped off kerb-side at your destination.

Rates are reasonable and locked in (no worrying about the meter in unpredictable traffic or having to wait for a London cab that takes cards), although not the absolute cheapest we've seen among the UK capital's car services.

Usefully for passengers heading for the financial districts to London's east, fares are even more reasonable the further you trvel. We tested the system with some example fares from Heathrow (currency conversion: £100 is A$150):

  • West End (Hilton Park Lane): £65
  • City (St Mary Axe): £72
  • Docklands (Canary Wharf): £79

London's transport department suggests a metered black cab all the way would probably start at between £45 to £90, depending of course on traffic. We've known journeys that should have cost around £25 tick their way up to £70 thanks to congestion.

As a comparison in the "better than taking the Tube" stakes, the Heathrow Express train only takes you to London's Paddington Station and costs £25 in standard class. Taking a cab onwards from Paddington, you'd probably be looking at another £15 to the West End, £30 to the City and £50 to Docklands.

Read more: Check out AusBT's expert business traveller guide to Heathrow Airport!

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About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

 

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1 on 21/1/13 by KG

This is a great value add service and very reasonably priced (fixed / locked in pricing is a winner, we all know how dreadful London traffic can be)! Especially useful when arriving after a long flight, takes away a lot of hassle if you have a driver waiting for you at arrivals.

1 on 23/1/13 by navnov

While this is certainly a welcome addition to reach Heathrow, there are some things I'd like to mention on cost comparisons.

1. The fare for Heathrow you mentioned GBP 25 is when you buy it on the Train. The online/ticket office far is GBP 20. It also offers Group discount for return travel if you are travelling with kids or even 2 adults travelling together

2. If you book a cab on websites such as Kabbee.com or other comparable Taxi consolidators it costs anywhere between 25 to 35 quid (fixed price) for a standard car with upto 4 passengers and 2-3 large suitcases to reach Heathrow from the city (around 45 quid from Heathrow to city). I have used Kabbee on numerous occasions and have experienced no issues.

1 on 23/1/13 by John

Welcome to AusBT, navnov! Thanks for your thoughts.

You're right that there's a discount when buying in advance or at the window. But that's not always possible — I know I've made the decision to fork out the extra fiver to make the train rather than waiting in the queue a couple of times now.

And travelling in on the Heathrow Express definitely isn't good value if there's more than one of you, unless your meeting/hotel is at Paddington station.  

Kabbee is one of those services I'm keeping a beady eye on — I've heard both positive and negative things about it, though the price is certainly very competitive. A common theme in what I've read and heard seems to be cancellations with under 24 hours' notice, which would be a big problem for anyone arriving on a longhaul flight. I'd probably have more confidence in an airline-backed arrangement, even if it were a bit more expensive.

2 on 25/1/13 by johninoz

Who'd want to fly Etihad Economy Class in the first place.  I just did Cairo - Abu Dhabi - Kuala Lumpur in December.  I will never fly on one of their planes again.  Crammed up like battery hens, both flights were horrendous.

I flew from Melbourne to Cairo by Singapore Airlines in Economy and the contrast was very evident.  For the time being anyway, SIA treat their customers with a lot more respect and provide a modicum of comfort.  Etihad couldn't give a damn.

 

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