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From 1 October 2021, most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need to use a valid passport to travel to the UK. ID cards will no longer be accepted as a valid travel document to enter the UK, though some exemptions will apply. 

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  • Heathrow travel subsidies update

    Changes to subsidies for public transport

    COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Heathrow’s finances. In November 2020 we announced that we would be suspending the Heathrow Free Travel Zone (FTZ) and end some other local transport subsidies, effective from 1 January 2021. From this date, some bus services in the Heathrow Free Travel Zone were no longer free (4, 7, 8, 442, 555). From 12 June 2021 the remaining buses will no longer be free. We are hoping these changes will be short-lived and once Heathrow’s financial health has been restored, we plan to introduce an improved programme of subsidised and sustainable travel for our colleagues, communities and passengers.

    We have been working with bus, coach and rail operators that serve Heathrow to minimise the impact of suspending travel subsidies. The table available below provides an update regarding timetables and ticketing arrangements. Services that are shown as accepting Travelcards until their expiry date will only do so based on current restrictions. Please keep an eye on this page as well as the Public Transport pages of the Airport Community App for the latest information on changes to public transport. As soon as we can share more information, we will do so in these locations


    For more information, please view our frequently asked questions below. You can also email commuter@heathrow.com.

    Heathrow Travel Subsidies.

    Download the Heathrow Travel Subsidies table.

    Find out more about changes to Heathrow travel subsidies

    We have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our funding of public transport in and around the airport in 2021. This includes most of the discounted ticketing schemes for colleagues, but local communities and passengers may also be affected.

    Some bus and coach services have been adjusted or withdrawn. We are in contact with the operators and the latest information can be found in the public transport section of this website and by downloading the Travel Subsidies Table at the top of this page. Below is a summary of the situation:

    • From 18 November 2020 it will not be possible to purchase a Heathrow Travelcard for use on buses, coaches or the Heathrow Express. We will communicate the impact of these changes with existing holders of the relevant Heathrow Travelcard products over the next few weeks, including what alternatives may be available.
    • From 1 January 2021, the 75% discount for Team Heathrow colleagues on the TfL Rail service between Paddington and Heathrow will no longer be available. The 75% rail discount for Team Heathrow colleagues will also no longer be available for TfL Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) services between Reading and Heathrow (change at Hayes & Harlington).
    • From 1 January 2021, some bus services within the Heathrow FTZ will cease to be free (4, 7, 8, 442, 555).
    • From 12 June 2021, the remaining buses within the Heathrow FTZ will cease to be free.

    Free inter-terminal transfer will remain in place on TfL Rail, Heathrow Express and London Underground to enable colleagues and passengers to move between terminals. Discounts for single and return tickets on Heathrow Express for Heathrow and Team Heathrow colleagues will also remain in place.

    This has been an incredibly difficult decision for us. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the airport is currently losing over £5m per day and recently reported losses of £1.5bn.

    With delays to testing and ongoing quarantine measures in place and a catastrophic drop in passenger numbers that is forecast to continue into 2021, we are having to take some very difficult decisions to reduce costs across the airport and protect as many jobs as we can.

    But we are not moving away from our commitments around sustainable travel. The types of transport will remain the same – it’s just Heathrow can no longer afford to pay for this. We hope the situation is temporary only and an improved return to subsidised and sustainable travel will be introduced once a return to financial health has been experienced for the airport.

    No. We hope to be able to reintroduce support in 2022, although the scale and scope of the support will be very much dependent upon how the airport recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.

    Direct Heathrow colleagues, passengers, local communities and Team Heathrow colleagues use these subsidised services differently, so people will be affected in different ways. In coming weeks, talks will continue with local transport operators to better understand services they will continue to offer, without Heathrow’s contribution. As soon as more detail is established, Heathrow will publicise information on services and routes which will remain in place. You can also email Heathrow.commuter@heathrow.com with any questions or to request a call back.

    Yes, TfL Rail, the Heathrow Express and the Piccadilly Line will remain free for journeys between Heathrow Terminal 5 and Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3. An inter-terminal transfer ticket is required for free travel on TfL Rail and the Heathrow Express. A contactless bank card or Oyster Card is required for free travel on the Piccadilly Line.

    Heathrow only provides funding towards some of the bus and coach services that accept the Heathrow Travelcard. We will need to continue to engage with the operators over the coming weeks to understand the long-term impact of our subsidy cuts. We will provide updates when we know more.

    It will not be possible to purchase Heathrow Travelcards after 18 November 2020. Please download the Travel Subsidies Table at the top of this page to see how this will affect holders of Heathrow Travelcards that have not yet expired.

    Your existing Heathrow Travelcard will continue to be accepted on Heathrow Express until it expires. Discounted single and return tickets will continue to be available for Heathrow and Team Heathrow colleagues on the Heathrow Express App, from the Service Support Assistants (SSAs) at Heathrow stations and from the GWR ticket office at Paddington Station. You will need to have your airport ID with you when using these tickets.

    Heathrow Airport Limited employees can also travel on Heathrow Express for free until 30 September 2021. Colleagues must present their valid Heathrow ID (displaying the Heathrow logo) at the ticket gates at Paddington and Heathrow stations to be given free entry and exit to the platform- no ticket is required. This free offer is also available for colleagues when travelling with up to three friends and family members, after 18:00 on weekdays or anytime at weekends.

    Please contact Heathrow.commuter@heathrow.com for details.

    Please contact Heathrow.commuter@heathrow.com when you know a date for your return to work.

    Heathrow’s financial support for bus and coach services will be withdrawn for 2021. This means some services may need to be adjusted or even withdrawn. We are working with the operators to understand the effects of our subsidy cuts. If changes are necessary, we will communicate these through our website (www.heathrow.com/commuter). Below is a summary of what we do know:

    • The Heathrow Travelcard scheme for discounted travel on buses, coaches and the Heathrow Express will be discontinued. It will no longer be possible to purchase a Heathrow Travelcard from 18 November 2020.
    • From 1 January 2021, the 75% discount for Team Heathrow colleagues on the TfL Rail service between Paddington and Heathrow will no longer be available. The 75% rail discount for Team Heathrow colleagues will also no longer be available for TfL Rail and GWR services between Reading and Heathrow (change at Hayes & Harlington).
    • From January 2021, some bus services within the Heathrow Free Travel Zone (FTZ) will cease to be free.
    • From 12 June 2021, the remaining buses within the FTZ will cease to be free.

    No stone is being left unturned as we explore how we can reduce costs and protect the business. We are now in the ninth consecutive month of this crisis which is far more protracted and prolonged than we had initially feared. We are currently losing over £5m per day. A return to meaningful demand is still a long way off and we are yet to receive support from Government which reduce our outgoings on items such as Business Rates or a testing regime. We have to act now, based on what we know today.

    Because we are well-funded, we will be able to survive this crisis. But the liquidity we have left (having lost over £1.5bn already this year) will be used to keep consolidated infrastructure operational and people in roles they want to keep. The money and liquidity we have in the business will ensure that we can stay open. But for us to remain viable and competitive in the future we need to continue to reduce money leaving the business.

    Please visit the Heathrow Commuter website (www.heathrow.com/commuter) which sets out all the ways we can support you getting to work. You can email Heathrow.commuter@heathrow.com with any questions or to request a call back, where we can talk you through your journey options.

    No – we are not moving away from clean air commitments. The type of transport in and around the airport will remain the same, it is just Heathrow can no longer afford to pay for it which we hope is temporary only. As soon as the situation changes and financial health at the airport is restored, we will look at reintroducing a more tailored and improved offering for subsidised and sustainable travel around our airport.

    We believe that a relatively small number of colleagues will be affected by this.  Our colleague car parks also now have spare capacity and therefore we do not believe this will become an issue.