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Airport ancillaries


number of carriers, including Etihad, Oman Air, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic. But if they are flying with other airlines, passengers can choose the convenient and fuss-free means of reaching the terminal provided by a number of chauffeur-drive companies. A leading light in this sector is Tristar


Worldwide, which operates in the UK, the US and Asia, with a service partner network covering 80 countries. Its fleet of over 500 luxury vehicles undertakes half a million journeys a year, the operator’s client list ranging from SMEs to multinationals. Says Dean De Beer, CEO of Tristar


Worldwide Chauffeur Services, “The journey to and from the airport can be one of the most stressful parts of a business trip. Our clients trust us to deliver a high quality, totally reliable and consistent service that not only removes the stress, but gives travellers a safe onward journey to their hotel, office or home.” For business travellers under budgetary


constraints in the current economic climate, limo transfers might be out of the question, although rates can be competitive on occasion. Which for those who don’t wish to risk congestion, delays and frustration driving to the airport leaves public transport – principally rail – as the main option. Here, London’s airports are well served.


The fastest route between central London and Heathrow is the Heathrow Express, with trains departing Paddington Station every 15 minutes for the 15 to 20-minute journey to the airport. Onboard facilities include free wifi


throughout the train, TV with the latest news, a quiet zone to work or relax, and complimentary newspapers and magazines in first class. Express class tickets bought online cost £18 single, £34 return, with first class fares priced at £26 and £52 respectively. A cheaper alternative is


A recent Gatwick Express development is


the introduction of smartrailwaytravel.com, allowing corporate bookers to register online and receive discounted rates. The Stansted Express has been innovating


not so much on cost as on passenger comfort. Last year it launched four-carriage Class 379 Electrostar rolling stock, featuring air-conditioning, free wifi, larger luggage racks and improved seating. Stansted Express services, operated by


“ The journey to and from the airport can be one of


Heathrow Connect, with trains running every 30 minutes from Paddington to Heathrow Central for Terminals 1 and 3, and free transfers to Terminals 4 and 5. The journey time is around 25 minutes, the single fare £7.90, with a day return costing £15.80. Gatwick Express is similar in style to the


the most stressful parts of a business trip. Our clients trust us to deliver a high quality service





Heathrow Express, operating from London Victoria to Gatwick every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes, with 30 per cent of its 5.3million passengers a year travelling on business. The standard single fare booked online is £16.85, with a return costing £27.90, while first class costs £27.50 single, £53 return, the latter offering free access to the No.1 Traveller Airport Lounge.


Greater Anglia since February this year, depart London Liverpool Street for the airport every 15 minutes, taking 47 minutes for the journey. The Express single fare is from £21.50, return £29.50, with first class priced from £35 and £49.90 respectively. If the business traveller


can pick and choose between modes of travel to the departure point, once arrived at the terminal, the undisputed priority is to get away from the public departures area into the refuge of a


lounge for a snack, bevvy and a bit of work. Most major carriers offer business class


travellers this facility worldwide, a service that is also provided by a number of independent operators, most obviously to executives travelling in economy who feel a modicum of comfort that won’t bust the budget is deserved. Priority Pass claims to operate the world’s leading independent airport lounge programme. It has over 600 lounges worldwide, and in general, does not use airline facilities, the exception being United Airlines Club lounges in the US. Priority Pass provides three membership options.


Prestige charges an annual membership fee of £259, allowing unlimited lounge access; Standard Plus is available for £159, including ten free member visits a year; and for Standard membership, the cost is £69, plus £15 per lounge visit. “Our membership has grown by more


than ten per cent annually for several consecutive years, and we have been able to offer members access to more lounges each year,” says Jonathan French, head of brand at Priority Pass. He continues, “It’s gratifying to see significant improvements in the quality of lounges, too, especially in the UK, where Servisair has launched its enhanced Aspire brand and the No.1 Traveller lounges continue to set the bar high.” The new Servisair Aspire lounges provide


hot food, snacks and drinks, with business facilities including workstations, wifi internet access, phones, fax machines, newspapers and magazines. And, in an industry first, a loyalty scheme allows passengers to collect LoungeMiles stamps, with a free lounge pass awarded after five visits. No. 1 Traveller lounges offer similar


facilities, plus extras such as private meeting rooms, showers and airside bedrooms. Says Michael Robey, head of experience at No.1 Traveller, “These options have traditionally only been available to those travelling on premium tickets. But No.1 Traveller enables passengers to take advantage of these services and make the most of their time at the airport, regardless of the airline or seat class.” That air passengers want to use their


time at the terminal gainfully should be the guiding principle for all those gamers playing Airport City, as they design the intricate network of basic facilities and ancillaries that make an airport tick.


THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 71


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