Besides spending 1.5 hours on a night bus at 3 AM, what are some good ways that you have found to get to Heathrow for an early morning flight (i.e. before 7 AM). I'll be traveling with a group of five other people -- any reliable mini-taxi services that offer vans at a reasonable rate? Thanks for any tips!
At all costs do not go by road. At that time the back up, a concentration of people going in to collect from early morning international arrivals and business people going into the Continent, causes queues back to the M4. You might get there in time but it is not good for the heart rate. You need to use the Heathrow Express, expensive but quick, or the Piccadilly line, cheap but slow.
I don't think you'll get a massive delay at that time. what day of the week is it? I've been to Heathrow in the early hours on a Sunday and there wasn't any problem.
I also used to drive up the M4 everyday for several years and before 7am there really aren't any queues at all. Perhaps they start closer to the airport, but you can do 80mph all the way up the M4 and A4 with no problem (not that I did such things of course!).
I travel early in the morning from Heathrow during the week and never experienced any queues.
I always take "Dockhead" Mini-Cabs - they have also drivers with vans but it costs GBP 45 - 50 (it does depend which terminal) and it usually takes 35 - 45 minutes from Bermondsey.
I've never experienced major traffic worries at that time of the morning.
You can google some airport-specific car services and their rates tend to be very competitive. But when I last used one the driver couldnt find my flat and I had to hail a cab in order to make sure I didnt miss my flight. Which was stressful.
So now I just use my regular cab company. With 5 other people it should work out at far less than singles on the Heathrow Express too.