Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports,
used by over 50 million people a year. In the early 1990s, BAA, its operator, set up a joint venture with British Rail to build a fast rail link to central London. But how would it tempt passengers away from the cheaper Tube or from the privacy of cars?
To bring travellers on board, Wolff Olins defined a service offer that, in effect, reinvented the rail link. The model would be airline service
standards, with high speed, high capacity, high levels of information and special ticketing. Rather than just a piece of infrastructure, this would be a seamless part of the customer’s whole journey. Wolff Olins designed almost every aspect of this customer experience, from the station architecture at Heathrow, through train interiors, to details like tickets and uniforms.
We advised on pricing and ticketing, helped create the on-board television service, and inspired a highly professional service culture. And to signal this dramatically new way to travel, we created the Heathrow Express brand.
Heathrow Express launched in June 1998, making an immediate impact. Over 50 million people have used the service since its launch.
It now carries more than 16,000 passengers a day, 34% of all airport traffic. Heathrow Express topped the poll of the Independent National
Passenger Survey (UK) in 2008, for the seventh consecutive year. It is one of the most successful air-rail links in the world.