Author: Bob Handford
Is it practical to take your luggage on the crowded London Underground system.
By far the cheapest option to get into Central London from Heathrow Airport is the London Underground. There is also almost certainly an Underground Station real close to your accommodation too making it very convenient.
If you are not arriving at Heathrow then thre is a good chance you will have an awkward transfer from your entry point in Central London to your accommodation. The Underground is a cheaper alternative to a taxi.
In Bob’s opinion if you have one suitcase and perhaps a small handbag or similar on your lap then the answer is ‘Yes’, anything more and you’ll have a stressful start to your visit.
The first obstacle is the ticket barriers. The clip below shows you the process you have to negotiate. With one suitcase and a small bag its not as bad as it looks. All stations also have wider gates too on one side of the automated barriers, either a station assistant who will open the wide gate for you or automated barriers which are wide enough to push a wheelchair through. Escalators also should not be a problem.
Once you actually get down to the train the big worry is crowding and where do you put the luggage. At Heathrow Airport, the Underground trains are near empty as they start at Heathrow, crowding is not going to be a problem at this point. You can do yourself a big favour by getting as far as possible away from other passengers with luggage on the platform before boarding. By the time you get to Hammersmith the probability is that people will be standing and the carriages are getting crowded.
Below is that rare thing, an empty Underground carriage. This carriage is a Piccadilly Line train like the ones that go to Heathrow. Take a good look as you may never see one again!
So the trick is to put your luggage in the space by the door and sit in an empty seat next to it so you can keep an eye on it, (see image below). Now you see the reason why you want to get as far from others with luggage on the platform. If the train gets really crowded a lot of people prefer to stand and sit or lean on their luggage.
Changing Trains To The District Line From Heathrow
If you need to change trains to the District Line of the Underground, take my advice and do so at Barons Court. Why?, see the blog Changing Trains At Barons Court Underground.