Luton Airport Express (from EM railway)--fast, cheap, split ticket opportunities

EMR (East Midlands Railway) has started running the Luton Airport Express.  Monday-Sat extended hours service, 32 minutes non-stop from St. Pancras in London, price includes the Luton DART airport shuttle from Luton Airport Parkway station.  Sunday service is not an express but still runs extended hours with cheap fares.  Easy station and train access with lifts.

Online pricing in advance is well discounted (from £10, competing with express coach prices), railcards accepted for additional discounts, and even peak price seems no worse than Thameslink trains alternative on the route.

The trains continue onwards to other EMR destinations, and the same trains will provide fast access to the airport from northern stations on the route (just make sure to use station code LUA Luton Airport when booking online to get the DART ticket included in the price at a discount, same as you used to have to do to get the airport bus shuttle included before the DART was opened)

A quick spot check for tomorrow morning peak and off peak confirms EMR Luton Airport Express as significantly cheaper than Thameslink on the route.  Thameslink do run some trains which are almost as quick but most TL trains have a few calling points en route which adds a few minutes (although some offer the option to start from other stations such as West Hampstead in North London or Farringdon on the Elizabeth line which would be quicker and fewer changes end to end than getting to St. Pancras and changing there.)

If you are looking for the cheapest option to the airport from many parts of London it will be cheaper to travel to St. Pancras on zonal fares using Oyster/Contactless and use a pre-booked EMR Luton Express ticket.

I think the Luton Express may also offer some split ticket opportunities to other stations in Hertfordshire/Bedfordshire, including "beyond and back" splits to e.g. Harpenden and St. Albans, (most split ticket websites won't "find" beyond and back splits, you will have to check manually using e.g. nationalrail website and make separate bookings using your train booking website of choice;  advance fares not usually available so no need to use a specific website to ensure the best experience of split ticket travel).  With a "beyond and back" split you do usually need to travel to the full distance, no "stopping short" on most fares (although this is a moot point if using the Luton Airport express which is non-stop to Luton Airport Parkway).  The Luton Airport Express cheap fare pricing seems to also provide a cheap fare to Luton Town (LUT) and Airport Parkway (LTN, as a start point for local cycle rides or walks to e.g. Sommeries Castle or beyond and back split tickets).
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