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Description

Eric Lee

I arrived at Heathrow Airport terminal three last Thursday night around 11:45 and decided to take the Heathrow Express home. The massive ads next to the luggage conveyor belts convinced me that it would be worth it -- I was tired and a 15 minute ride to Paddington for £18 including free wi-fi sounded good.

When I got to the ticketing area, there were no people anywhere in site, but there were machines. They offered me two choices - Express or Connect. There was little or no explanation, so I chose Express.

When I got downstairs, I finally saw a live human being, an attendant, and I asked which platform had the next Express to Paddington. There are no Express trains anymore, he told me. Instead, I could wait 15 minutes for a 27-minute long Connect service - that my ticket would be valid.

This was disappointing enough, but when that train finally did arrive, I asked the conductor what I would have paid had a bought a ticket for Connect. He told me £8.50 - in other words, not only would I have a much longer journey, but I was paying more than twice as much money as I should.

Could I get a refund of the difference, I asked? No, he said. And took my ticket.

Now here's my question to Heathrow Express: if you won't have actual human beings helping with the ticketing and instead use powerful, computerized touch screens, surely by now those screens will know what time it is, and whether you are still running trains, and at the very least might point out to customers that at this time of night, they may as well buy the cheaper ticket.

Otherwise, you are selling them tickets to a service that you cannot provide.

Yes, I do understand that my ticket would have been valid for a few days - but honestly, do you really believe that someone arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3 at nearly midnight is buying tickets for anything other than a ride home that very night?

I felt ripped off, and at the very least would like Heathrow Express to off to pay the difference between what a Connect ticket and an Express ticket would cost - I still have my ticket.

Thank you.

Eric Lee

Problem History

  • 1 Eric Lee reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 06:46 18 Sep 2011
  • 2 Myf Nixon commented close 11:43 19 Sep 2011

    Totally behind you on this one, Eric - I'd feel very ripped off in these circumstances.

    anorak
    admin
  • 3 Dave H commented close 14:45 19 Sep 2011

    Gatwick Express has a similar issue 30 min trip on Gatwick Express and 33 min on regular fast train, but this is aggravated by the detail that Gatwick Express is now a brand of Southern, and those with standard (non premium) tickets are successfully making their case to use standard tickets on the train, as it is a service operated by Southern .

  • 4 Mail Delivery System responded to Eric Lee close 12:20 28 Sep 2011
    This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

    A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
    recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

    [Heathrow Express problem reporting email]
    SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO:<[Heathrow Express problem reporting email]>:
    host smtp.proweb.net [86.17.6.22]: 552 5.2.2 Mailbox Full

    show quoted sections
  • 5The problem report was resent to Heathrow Express 13:27 10 Oct 2011
  • 6 Myf Nixon commented close 13:31 10 Oct 2011

    Hello Eric,
    I'm sorry it took such a time for me to notice that you'd received a bounce-back on this mail.

    Apparently Heathrow Connect is provided by Heathrow Express - ie they are part of the same company - so I have forwarded the message to the former and removed the latter's email address- which is clearly erroneous - from our database. Apologies again and thanks for your patience.

    anorak
    admin
  • 7 DD - Web Customer Correspondence/BAA responded to Eric Lee close 13:34 10 Oct 2011
    Thank you for your email.

    The Customer Relations Department will endeavour to respond to
    your enquiry within 48 hours.

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Heathrow Express.

    Kind regards

    Heathrow Express

    Customer Relations

    show quoted sections

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.baa.com/
  • 8 DD - Web Customer Correspondence/BAA responded to Eric Lee close 15:39 01 Nov 2011
    Dear Mr Lee,

    Thank you for your email.

    I am sorry to hear that you unfortunately missed the last Heathrow Express train service from Heathrow to Paddington London and also that you experienced difficulities in locating a Heathrow Express attendent on the platform to assist you. I do understand how frustrating this may have been for you.

    The last train from Heathrow is 23:48 and the Ticket office closes shortly after the last train.

    I do apologise that you purchased a Heathrow Express ticket only to travel on the Heathrow Connect train and then be advised the ticket could not be refunded.

    As a gesture of goodwill I would be happy to refund the Heathrow Express ticket.

    Please scan a copy of the ticket to [email address], before the 14th November 2011, as to allow me to refund you.

    May I once again apologise for any inconvienece we may have caused.

    I await a response.

    Kind regards

    Cora Boswell
    Customer Relations Executive
    Customer Relations Team

    Heathrow Express
    6th Floor, 50 Eastbourne Terrace
    W2 6LG

    T: +44 (0)0845 600 1515
    F: +44 (0)20 8750 6690
    W: www.heathrowexpress.com

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Eric Lee [mailto:[stop selling tickets after their last train has departed to Paddington email]]
    Sent: 10 October 2011 13:28
    To: DD - Web Customer Correspondence/BAA
    Subject: Selling tickets for a service you don't provide

    Dear Heathrow Express,

    I arrived at Heathrow Airport terminal three last Thursday night
    around 11:45 and decided to take the Heathrow Express home. The
    massive ads next to the luggage conveyor belts convinced me that it
    would be worth it -- I was tired and a 15 minute ride to Paddington
    for £18 including free wi-fi sounded good.

    When I got to the ticketing area, there were no people anywhere in
    site, but there were machines. They offered me two choices -
    Express or Connect. There was little or no explanation, so I chose
    Express.

    When I got downstairs, I finally saw a live human being, an
    attendant, and I asked which platform had the next Express to
    Paddington. There are no Express trains anymore, he told me.
    Instead, I could wait 15 minutes for a 27-minute long Connect
    service - that my ticket would be valid.

    This was disappointing enough, but when that train finally did
    arrive, I asked the conductor what I would have paid had a bought a
    ticket for Connect. He told me £8.50 - in other words, not only
    would I have a much longer journey, but I was paying more than
    twice as much money as I should.

    Could I get a refund of the difference, I asked? No, he said. And
    took my ticket.

    Now here's my question to Heathrow Express: if you won't have
    actual human beings helping with the ticketing and instead use
    powerful, computerized touch screens, surely by now those screens
    will know what time it is, and whether you are still running
    trains, and at the very least might point out to customers that at
    this time of night, they may as well buy the cheaper ticket.

    Otherwise, you are selling them tickets to a service that you
    cannot provide.

    Yes, I do understand that my ticket would have been valid for a few
    days - but honestly, do you really believe that someone arriving at
    Heathrow Terminal 3 at nearly midnight is buying tickets for
    anything other than a ride home that very night?

    I felt ripped off, and at the very least would like Heathrow
    Express to off to pay the difference between what a Connect ticket
    and an Express ticket would cost - I still have my ticket.

    Thank you.

    Eric Lee

    show quoted sections
  • 9 Peter Dixon commented close 14:32 06 Nov 2011

    Eric, have you contacted them yet?

    Kind regards

    anorak
    admin
  • 10 Eric Lee commented close 14:38 06 Nov 2011

    I did respond to their message, having scanned in the ticket - which I kept. I promise to report here if they actually come through with the refund.

  • 11 Eric Lee added an update close 15:25 15 Dec 2011

    Heathrow Express refunded the price of my ticket.

  • 12 Myf Nixon commented close 15:40 15 Dec 2011

    Gosh, that took a while! I am glad that you got your refund, but more importantly, I hope they will stop selling these tickets to unwary travellers in the future.

    anorak
    admin
Comment
  • started 18 September 2011
  • supporters 6
Train route between Heathrow Airport T3 Rail-Air Link and London Paddington operated by Heathrow Express
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