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Need help - big group landing Heathrow Saturday - how to get to downtown London


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Some of our group landed early, had paid for Princess transfers and ... Princess dropped the ball.  No transfer.  Nobody at the airport for them.  Our folks ended up taking a taxi in which cost an arm and a leg. Saturday morning I'll be standing with more than 50 folks (some senior citizens) and all their luggage and if Princess isn't there with a bus I need Plan B. Also hearing that there is a train strike?  So is Heathrow Express out of the question?

What's the best and cheapest way to move 50+ people and their luggage to London, considering that I can't reserve another bus with another company because I may not even need that bus if Princess does what they say they will!  SIGH... 

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35 minutes ago, BuckeyeMark said:

What's the best and cheapest way to move 50+ people and their luggage to London ...

 

"London" is a big place. "Downtown London" is very vague. Where exactly are you going? That would make it much easier to give focused advice.

 

On Saturday, you should expect that neither the Heathrow Express nor the Elizabeth Line will be running to Heathrow. That does leave you with the Piccadilly Line Tube as an option, but whether that might work for your group depends on where you're going.

 

If you have 50 suddenly-stranded people including senior citizens, there isn't going to be such a thing as "best and cheapest". The best will cost you an arm and a leg, multiplied many times (a proper taxi from the official cab rank). The cheapest will be the Tube, which may not work for many of your group, especially if they can't manage their own luggage (and that would rule out the train options anyway).

 

Other alternatives are to get on to all the usual suspects for car transfers, and ask for as many cars as each of them can get to you until all of your group have been moved. They may be able to send you some 6-seater cars (or bigger), which will help reduce the number of cars you'd need.

 

And it may be better to move different people by different methods, depending on their personal circumstances. For example, the able-bodied and strong may be fine on the Tube, reducing the number of people you have to get taxis / cars for.

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Going to the O2 Intercontinental Hotel which I believe is in Greenwich area. And after looking at how far it is from Paddington Station I realized why the people who did the Heathrow Express to Paddington and a taxi from there spent so much money.  Sorry 'bout that - London is LARGE!  

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What kind of package did you book that provides transfers between Heathrow and London?  

 

I guess I assumed all Princess transfers were between the airport or London and Southampton on the day of the cruise.

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17 minutes ago, ihopfar said:

What kind of package did you book that provides transfers between Heathrow and London?  

 

I guess I assumed all Princess transfers were between the airport or London and Southampton on the day of the cruise.

See we are a big group we were able to arrange with Princess to take us to the O2 and then from there on to Southampton on Sunday. Paid a pretty penny for all this ... would like their buses to show up for us!

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Best of luck !!! If you change your mind and need to book alternate dependable transportation try 

Blackberry Transportation.

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7 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Best of luck !!! If you change your mind and need to book alternate dependable transportation try 

Blackberry Transportation.

Thank you!

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Do you have a phone number with a Princess representative that you could stay in touch with starting before your flight?   In that way you may get a feel as to whether they are going to show up or not. They will know that you are serious about being at the airport waiting for them. 
Best of luck to you and your group.

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12 hours ago, BuckeyeMark said:

Going to the O2 Intercontinental Hotel which I believe is in Greenwich area.

 

The nearest Tube station is North Greenwich (Jubilee Line). The station is very close to the hotel, but both are a long way away (2 miles) from the centre of Greenwich. (And none of this is "downtown London" by any stretch of the imagination.)

 

For anyone who can manage the Tube, the best route is probably this (it's what I'd do):

  • Piccadilly Line to Barons Court
  • Cross-platform change to the District Line
  • District Line to Westminster
  • If they can manage escalators with their luggage, then the fastest way is down escalator + down escalator change to the eastbound Jubilee Line
  • Alternatively, use the lift to change (but they will need to look for whether there is a lift directly to the Jubilee Line platform, or whether they actually have to go up first and then down in another lift - I can't remember whether there is a direct lift from the District Line platform in this direction)
  • Jubilee Line to North Greenwich

 

An alternative is to stay on the Piccadilly Line to Green Park and change there to the Jubilee Line. There are two routes for the change:

  • The posted route is lift up, walk through the connecting tunnel, lift down. It's a long walk and the lifts are slow, but it's the way that involves less manhandling of luggage (so long as the lifts are working).
  • If they can manage escalators with their luggage, follow the Way Out signs and go up the escalator to the ticket hall / ticket barrier level but do not exit through the barriers. Instead, follow the signs for the down escalator + down escalator to the Jubilee Line platform. (This is what I do if I forget to get off at Barons Court.)

 

This weekend (25/26 June), do not try this journey by any route that uses the western end of the DLR. The western end is closed (between the in-town termini of Bank and Tower Gateway, and as far east as Poplar and West India Quay).

 

The company mentioned by Ashland is just one of the usual suspects. You'll find the names of many others mentioned on here. They're all much of a muchness.

 

The most important thing to remember about that is to ignore offers of a "taxi" from random people wandering around the terminal.

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VERY HELPFUL!

 

Part of our group arrived this morning (Friday) and Princess reps were there to meet them.  No bus.  Princess walked them to the taxis and said P would reimburse. Off they went.

 

My guess is there weren't enough this morning to justify a bus.  The main body of us will arrive in the morning (Saturday) and I'm guessing we'll get the bus.  Just another example of P being overworked and understaffed, I'd guess.

We now have a firmer grip on what to do if there is no reps and no bus.  Very grateful!  Thanks!

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"Going to the O2 Intercontinental Hotel which I believe is in Greenwich area"

It's in North Greenwich, which is not the same as Greenwich (the historical maritme centre).  It's a fine hotel but it isn't central to anything (except the O2 venue).

Do not take any train to Paddington.  That station is nowhere near where you need to be.

The underground (tube) is likely to be quickest.  Take Piccadilly to Bond Street and switch there to the Jubilee (North Greenwich station is by this hotel).  There are lifts and escalators at start, interchange and finish, so it is not as arduous as you fear.  This is very cheap, about £5 (don't buy a ticker, just use a contactless bank card or phone to open to entry/exit gates)

The hotel is next to the Blackwall Tunnel, which is one of the worst traffic gridlock points in London, so if you use a taxi or a car service, do not expect it to be quicker than the tube.

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2 hours ago, Island2Dweller said:

Take Piccadilly to Bond Street and switch there to the Jubilee (North Greenwich station is by this hotel).

 

With advice like this, I really hope the bus turns up! 😄

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11 hours ago, Island2Dweller said:

Take Piccadilly to Bond Street and switch there to the Jubilee

Oh, my. I assume you must mean Green Park, the route already posted by Globaliser. As a user of the bottom end of the Jubilee, ‘ never change at Green Park’  is a personal rule, but if you must, follow G’s first suggestion, the ‘Way Out’ route…

 

11 hours ago, Island2Dweller said:

Do not take any train to Paddington.  That station is nowhere near where you need to be.

Well, it’s a darn sight closer than LHR 🤣 My preferred route would actually be train to Paddington, then Bakerloo and Jubilee lines, using the easy level change at Baker Street. I accept the added expense to avoid the interminable Piccadilly  leg to Heathrow (which I have done dozens of times), but I am in a minority on this board! Doesn’t matter to the OP, of course, given the rail strike. 

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9 hours ago, Cotswold Eagle said:

Doesn’t matter to the OP, of course, given the rail strike. 

 

It is indeed a pity that there's a rail strike today, otherwise this route via Paddington would definitely have been a viable option. And there would have been a choice between paying one TfL through fare from Heathrow to North Greenwich if using the Elizabeth Line to get to Paddington (but also taking a time penalty), or paying extra to use the Heathrow Express to get to Paddington more quickly.

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Well, it should all be moot by now, since the large group landed at Heathrow this morning local time, and one hopes that however they got there, they have now all arrived at the hotel.

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