QANTAS chauffeur - dumb idea?

By mern2001 | Jan 24, 2018, 09:33 AM
Hi all. I have an idea and I’m not sure if it’s a dumb one. I’m flying with my family to LHR on QF and my wife and I will be in business. The teenagers are in economy. We arrive early morning. Flying business, means that we can use the complimentary chauffeur service to take us to anywhere within a 70 mile radius of Heathrow. We plan to get a hire car to go to Wales for about a week. I was thinking of getting the chauffeur to take us to Swindon, which is within the complimentary radius and pick up the rental car from the Avis agency there. This means I get to relax for 1.5 hours after getting off the flight and miss all the confusion with picking up a rental car at Heathrow. The down-side is that I will return the car to an agency in London and will have to pay a one-way fee. The fee doesn’t’ worry me. Is this a good idea, or am I missing something? Many thanks.
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By Doubleplatinum | Jan 24, 2018, 10:55 AM
You will have just flown in in business class but you need 1.5 hours to 'relax' after that?
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By drsimon50 | Jan 24, 2018, 11:06 AM
i use emirates car service a lot - and have often thought about this scenario - but i always just book car hire at the other end (UK) rather than use the service - but then i fly into BHX normally so no stress re car hire unlike LHR - shame not BA in a way as term 5 is collect on site and much easier to navigate out of to the motorway than other terminals (IMHO)
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By henrus | Jan 24, 2018, 11:18 AM
Just check that the car they provide will have seats for you all. This can usually be achieved by stating the number of passengers you've got and saying you've got a lot of baggage which will result in a minivan arriving at the airport for your transfer.

You may end up spending an hour in the passport queue upon arrival unless you've got an EU passport and whilst they'll hand out a fast track card there usually quite strict upon guests using the line so you may all have to use the normal queue (might be wise to ask on the plane for another couple of fast track cards)
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By ianparkinson62 | Jan 24, 2018, 11:26 AM
Of general interest. Are pasengers who have flown Economy allowed to share a car booked by a Business class passenger?
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By Fatherdamo | Jan 24, 2018, 11:33 AM
I hate driving after a long haul flight. Have you thought of using the chauffeur to drive you to say reading station and then taking a cheap train from there to Wales. That way you could hire in wales later that day or the next day at your destination and take train back to London later on
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By mern2001 | Jan 24, 2018, 12:16 PM
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. DoublePlatinum: I know it is great to be in business- but I'm with Fatherdamo, any long-haul takes it out of you and I'd rather not be navigating around Heathrow. IanParkinson raises an interesting point and I now have the answer to this. I rang QANTAS and they confirmed that you can take a guest - so long as they fit into the car (baggage etc) and you are picked up and dropped off at the same spot. Apparently you can give the chauffeur service a ring 48 hours prior to the service to let them know their will be four passengers. QANTAS use "Carey" services in the UK. Getting the train to Reading is also an idea. Based on the feedback, I think I might get dropped off at Swindon and then drive from there. Thanks.
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By ianparkinson62 | Jan 24, 2018, 12:41 PM
I think I might get dropped off at Swindon and then drive from there. Thanks.

As a complete aside, I am getting dropped at Swindon on Friday by the chauffeur service after QF9 from MEL tomorrow.
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By sid | Jan 24, 2018, 01:18 PM
Done it before. It's a good idea and saves you from having to navigate the complex roads around Heathrow while recuperating from your flight.
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By ajstubbs | Jan 24, 2018, 02:48 PM
I've also done it before and am doing it again this December. - to Swindon also, clearly a popular spot for this. It means you get to avoid driving out of London yourself which is no bad thing.
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By mern2001 | Jan 24, 2018, 03:37 PM
Thanks again everyone - clearly it wasn't a dumb idea and it seems I wasn't the first person to think of it! This is a great example of the benefit of these forums.
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By DAREng | Jan 24, 2018, 08:47 PM
Mern2001, when exiting HR, a terrible experience due to the long walk, head directly to the Chaffeur desk in the departure area. It is easily missed when you see numerous chauffeur drivers with their signs with pax names.
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By mern2001 | Jan 25, 2018, 12:11 PM
Thanks. Good tip
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By John Phelan | Jan 26, 2018, 02:59 AM
Of general interest. Are pasengers who have flown Economy allowed to share a car booked by a Business class passenger?
Yes, the Business pax is entitled to a car - the airline and car company don't care who or what you put in it.

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By Dr Al | Jan 26, 2018, 07:55 PM
Hi Mern.

Have done the LHR to Wales trip too many times to mention.

A cautionary word regarding chauffeur drive - there are limits on luggage and it's one chauffeur drive per booking not per business class passenger. So you MUST contact Carey in advance to arrange a different vehicle to the standard Mercedes E class. The Carey rep I spoke to in Heathrow told me that they only receive the bookings from QF 24 hours in advance (i.e. when you are boarding in Sydney) So if you can try and contact them sooner with all of your details.

When travelling alone I have found it far easier to (pre book and it's a lot cheaper) take the Heathrow express to Paddington and then GWR first (again advanced saver fare) to Cardiff. You have access to the first lounge in Paddington whilst waiting for the train. It's a relaxing 2 hrs to Cardiff. I suppose it's all dependent upon where in Wales you are heading.

When travelling with a family this option becomes too expensive, so there are a few other options to consider. Chauffeur drive will take you 70miles so Swindon if you are heading to South Wales then a cheaper train fare into Wales than from Paddington or the option of car hire. I have however found that going to the cotswolds and staying in Burford on day 1 is also a great option.

Side note - The Cotswolds the night before and Chauffeur directly to the airport from there is definitely my preferred option on the return journey.

There is an option to pay the Chauffer drive service to take you further but it's payable in 10 mile increments so you need to work out if it's worth it to have them drive you to Wales.

There are a lot of options - the other thing to bear in mind is that Qatar are flying into Cardiff this year!!
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