Swiss Cottage Cars pick up at Heathrow

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Mar 15th, 2004, 04:09 PM
  #1
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Swiss Cottage Cars pick up at Heathrow

Thanks to the great information on this site, we have made arrangements for ground transporation from Heathrow to London with Swiss Cottage Cars--the Picadilly line is closed the weekend that we arrive. They allow 1/2 hour between plane arrival and pick up. After that, they add additional charges for waiting. Other chauffeur services seem to allow 45 minutes. I am concerned that customs and immigration, exchanging currency, etc, will take longer than 30 minutes. Does anyone have any experience with this? The other option is to call them once we arrive.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Interesting. That has apparently changed as I've used Swiss Cottage Cars for years. When providing my flight information, they always kept tabs on the plane and didn't arrive until after it had landed to avoid extra waiting time. They have never charged me extra, including the time I got hung up for at least an hour filing forms for the missing bag!

Out of curiosity, did you book on line or did you call them? I've always called as they never had a website before. The prices listed on their website are way higher than what I have ever paid. A friend just recently used them and still paid 25 pounds for Heathrow pickup to Mayfair.

Regardless, if your plane is scheduled to arrive at say, 8:30 AM, I would tell them not to meet you until 9:00. You know it will take you that long, so why should they arrive at 8:30 unless your plane gets in early which they should be checking on.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 04:40 PM
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Have you read this thread with lots of other options?

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34445271

I'd try justairports.com

I don't think a 1/2 hr is enough leeway but don't know when you arrive and what the extra charges are.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 04:57 PM
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Thanks for your replies! Yes, based on recommendations, we booked by phone. When I asked if we could request an hour between our plane arrival (which they do confirm) and pick-up, they were very firm that if I wanted to adjust the time, I should plan on calling from the airport. Justairports was a bit less, but stated that we would need a larger vehicle (MPV?)for our family of four with our luggage (four small roll-ons and four backpacks/shoulder bags--anything larger than a women's purse is counted as luggage). Swiss Cottage is sending an estate car, which makes their bid the best, but not if we end up being charged extra. Again, thanks for the information.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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I was wondering what weekend you were going since we will be going there in 3 weeks April 4 and I didn't hear anything about the Picadilly line being closed that weekend. We are a family of 5, and I am wondering what we should do regarding transportation also. What do you think the cheapest would be considering our number??
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Mar 15th, 2004, 07:13 PM
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I used Swiss Cottage Cars last December. There were four of us with luggage and we had arranged for a mini van (people mover). The price quoted over the phone was 43 GBP and change. When we arrived, we discovered that one of our suitcases (which was full of Christmas presents)had decided to take a trip to Washington, D.C. before going to London.I was thrilled that UAL knew where it was, but it took a while to do all the stuff and so by the time we got out to where you meet the driver it was about an hour after our plane had landed (10 minutes late).

The driver was there,and really whined about having to wait and this would cost extra. I knew that, but by now, having flown from California, we were tired and getting cold, so we all piled in the mini van and headed off to our hotel - the Royal Horseguards.

I've been in London many times, but I had never realized that Whitehall was an unknown place to any cab driver in town. Well, we had that driver. He did not know how to get to our hotel. My son was sitting in the front with a map book on his lap - and absolutely NO idea where he was - trying to find the route to the hotel.

The driver, who spoke somewhat limited English, did call his dispatcher, but clearly didn't want to admit that he didn't know where to go. At one point, the dispatcher asked him if his destination was a secret!

We finally made it. Then came the crunch. The driver insisted that, what with having to wait for us and all, the bill would be 70GBP. I'm quite sure it should not have been as much, so please don't point that out, Patrick! But, as I said, we were tired, my daughter was just about asleep on her feet, and so I paid.

Looking back, it was funny. At the time it was really frustrating. But we did get an unintended tour of London!
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Mar 15th, 2004, 07:15 PM
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"Looking back, it was funny."

Ouch. You must have a better sense of humor than I, Barbara.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 07:16 PM
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Have been using Swiss Cottage for years and years and years -- cheap, prompt, no extra charges. I always phone from the US before I leave. Now, though, you can get a fast train from Heathrow (the fastest customs in the world, I betcha) to Paddington, I think and then take a taxi. May make sense for 2 travellers. Swiss Cottage has to be very cost effective for a larger group, though. Seem to recall I paid 27 pounds from Heathrow as there is a little waiting time and maybe 23 from London. No tip necessary.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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Patrick, my boys still laugh at the "secret destination"! I have to laugh, frowning causes too many lines on my face!
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Mar 15th, 2004, 08:16 PM
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Here is the site where I found information regarding the Picadilly line being closed for construction: http://tube.tfl.gov.uk/content/nexus...ervice--scroll down to check all the categories. I just stumbled upon this information. I think that it is closed on weekends through March, but may be extended. You may also want to note that on the Heathrow express website (www.heathrowexpress.com) under "fares" there are several weekend specials for families and groups of four (50% off single tickets). These tickets are only available at their ticket office (located near the train ramp). I was advised by their office to download the page and take it with me to verify the special fare prices. With these fares, the chauffeur service and train are comparable in price. If we can meet our driver in time, this seems like the best way to go after coming in after an all night flight. If we have to call from the airport, it might just be easier to hop on the train.
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Mar 15th, 2004, 09:09 PM
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On weekends they have bus service in place of the Piccadilly line. So if construction is still going on when you arrive, that would be the cheapest option (though not the quickest).

I would not consider 27 pounds cheap. The Heathrow Express is expensive, even at half price, but it does get you into Central London in 15 minutes. I used it when I stayed in C.L. but since I stay in the suburbs now, I can take a bus from Heathrow - much cheaper.
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