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Author Topic: Not happy with Heathrow Express...  (Read 6206 times)
Robin Summerhill
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« on: July 02, 2019, 10:44:17 am »

This morning my other half arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 after an overnight flight from Johannesburg. She attempted to gain access to the station for the next available train to Paddington, but was refused access to the platform, being told that her ticket, an off-peak single with Senior Railcard for which she paid £45.60, was not valid until after 0930. On querying this and asking for a second opinion, another member of staff took the same view. After being told all this, I rang Heathrow Express Customer Services and, after listening to music for some 5 minutes or so, was told by their representative that the staff had acted correctly. He also said that their rules had changed in May 2018.

The three prices being displayed this morning on the GWR website for a single from Heathrow to Chippenham via Paddington with a Senior Railcard are £75.60 Anytime, £45.60 Off Peak and £38.00 Super Off Peak. The Anytime ticket is of course valid on all trains. The Off Peak ticket is shown as valid for trains departing Heathrow between 0818 and 0918, and the Super Off Peak is showing as being valid on trains departing Heathrow after 0948. All this corresponds with the restriction codes published on the National Rail Enquiries website – code yc for the off peak ticket (https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/yc) and yu for the Off Peak ticket (https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/yu).

This information either makes abundantly clear that her Off Peak ticket was valid on the train that she intended to take from Heathrow to Paddington or, if HEX staff were indeed correct in denying her access to the station, that the information currently published on the National Rail Enquiries website, and the GWR ticketing website page, are incorrect and need updating. Whichever is right, as I see it HEX staff have prevented a valid ticket from being used, resulting in her having to catch a later train for which she only needed to have paid £38.00, and not £45.60.

What do the Great and Good on this forum think? (PS I shall be sending a copy of my complaint to HEX on to GWR later today, as they ought to be interested in this as well)
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Fourbee
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2019, 10:58:22 am »

The restrictions don't even mention the word Heathrow anywhere in their text or any other blanket restriction for the services not mentioned; IMO taking any train from Heathrow (should you be allowed on to the platform) on any of those 3 tickets and just observe the restrictions from Paddington would be fine.

What the journey planners do is "dovetail" the connection, greying out itineraries which would get you to Paddington at an invalid time (respecting minimum connection times) to catch you onward service. It doesn't mean the first leg isn't valid.
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paul7755
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2019, 11:01:20 am »

The railway (in the widest sense) appears to employ numerous members of staff who cannot or won’t understand anything more complicated than “offpeak = 0930”.  This can be correct for some period return fares, but definitely not all of them.

I expect you’ll get the usual apology from GWR, and then nothing will filter down to staff on the ground, and nothing will change...

Paul
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Fourbee
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2019, 11:03:59 am »

Further to paul7755's point I think the staff and the phone line are getting mixed up with their own point to point fares which indeed have the 0930 restriction mentioned:
https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/prices-fares
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2019, 11:51:29 am »

Further to paul7755's point I think the staff and the phone line are getting mixed up with their own point to point fares which indeed have the 0930 restriction mentioned:
https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/prices-fares

Agreed.

And why do Heathrow Express refer to "Peak" and "Off Peak" when the rest of the rail industry uses the terms "Anytime" and "Off Peak"?
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2019, 01:22:23 pm »

Further to paul7755's point I think the staff and the phone line are getting mixed up with their own point to point fares which indeed have the 0930 restriction mentioned:
https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/prices-fares

Yes. Furthermore, and I knew this already but I've just checked it again, the "cut" that HEX gets is the ame whichever type of ticket is used viz:

   Journey      Anytime   Off Peak   Super OP
LHR to CPM   £75.25   £45.60   £38.00
PAD to CPM   £58.75   £29.10   £21.50
Difference   £16.50   £16.50   £16.50
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 04:00:58 pm »

Further to paul7755's point I think the staff and the phone line are getting mixed up with their own point to point fares which indeed have the 0930 restriction mentioned:
https://www.heathrowexpress.com/tickets-deals/prices-fares

Yes. Furthermore, and I knew this already but I've just checked it again, the "cut" that HEX gets is the ame whichever type of ticket is used viz:

   Journey      Anytime   Off Peak   Super OP
LHR to CPM   £75.25   £45.60   £38.00
PAD to CPM   £58.75   £29.10   £21.50
Difference   £16.50   £16.50   £16.50

To clarify - those are Heathrow to Chippenham via Paddington prices with a railcard.

Lower "not via London" fares are available from Heathrow to Chippenham, but with two changes rather than one. When I last did that after a long flight - it was a while back, mind you, I could really have done without having to hump heavy luggage over the footbridge at Hayes and Harlington which at the time had the air of a construction site!
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Fourbee
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2019, 04:14:41 pm »

If there is a next time, apparently you can get an free inter-terminal transfer ticket which will get you beyond the initial staff ignorance problem and on to the train, at least.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2019, 04:22:15 pm »

Quote from: Fourbee
If there is a next time, apparently you can get an free inter-terminal transfer ticket which will get you beyond the initial staff ignorance problem and on to the train, at least.

I hadn't thought of that!  Grin

Of course, you might still walk into a row at the Paddington end with another member of staff who doesn't understand or hasn't been told about the limitations on HEX restrictions when it comes to multi-TOC tickets.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2019, 04:30:30 pm »

Quote from: grahame

To clarify - those are Heathrow to Chippenham via Paddington prices with a railcard.

Lower "not via London" fares are available from Heathrow to Chippenham, but with two changes rather than one. When I last did that after a long flight - it was a while back, mind you, I could really have done without having to hump heavy luggage over the footbridge at Hayes and Harlington which at the time had the air of a construction site!

Yes those are via Paddington prices with a Senior Railcard, as I said in my original post. As you say, "not via London" tickets are available and cheaper but, as you also mention, lugging cases onto the platform at Hayes & Harlington (by the way, have they put lifts in yet?), or even from the bus onto the platform at RDG, is a pain in the proverbial compared to a flat transfer at Paddington.

She did use the railair bus once, and also National Express from Chippenham on another occasion, but she's now back to doing things my way after those bitter experiences!
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2019, 04:38:48 pm »

Update

A complaint has gone to HEX suggesting that they refund her the £7.60 difference between the price she paid and the price she could have paid when using the trains she did.

A "for info" complaint has also gone to GWR, and a hard copy of the text of my complaint to HEX has been handed in at Chippenham with a suggestion that it is passed on to the station manager.

Does anybody think the media would be interested? The Gruniad is not above running anti-rail stories... Wink
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bobm
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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2019, 05:07:12 pm »

Personally I would wait and see what response you get to your correspondence before deciding whether to take it further.
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Timmer
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« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2019, 05:32:51 pm »

Of course, you might still walk into a row at the Paddington end with another member of staff who doesn't understand or hasn't been told about the limitations on HEX restrictions when it comes to multi-TOC tickets.
Shouldn’t do as HEX trains arrive at non-gated platforms at Padd.

PS I was sorry to read of your wife’s challenge at Heathrow rail station, the last thing you need after a long flight. It continues to annoy me when staff are not trained correctly in ticket validities. They shouldn’t be on the front line stopping those who have the correct and valid ticket from travelling.

I hope you are compensated for this.
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Ollie
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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2019, 11:41:13 pm »

Of course, you might still walk into a row at the Paddington end with another member of staff who doesn't understand or hasn't been told about the limitations on HEX restrictions when it comes to multi-TOC tickets.
Shouldn’t do as HEX trains arrive at non-gated platforms at Padd.

Platforms 6 and 7 are gated at Paddington.

Only platforms 1, 8 and 9 are non-gated.
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Surrey 455
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2019, 01:58:34 am »

I could really have done without having to hump heavy luggage over the footbridge at Hayes and Harlington which at the time had the air of a construction site!

It still does!

as you also mention, lugging cases onto the platform at Hayes & Harlington (by the way, have they put lifts in yet?)

No. I'm sure it's in Crossrails construction plans. I'm guessing the new central area stations will be completed before they attempt to finish the western ones.

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