intive and Heathrow Express: Building a State-of-the-Art Ticketing System


Heathrow Express (HEx) is a British private rail company that provides transportation services between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington station – the fastest connection between an airport and central London.


In 2019, Heathrow Express and intive teamed up to enhance the rail company’s ticketing platform. The end goal was to improve the Heathrow Express passenger experience by providing better information, real-time updates, and excellent UX across platforms.


.NET platform/ Sitefinity/ .NET CMS/ React/ Vue.JS / Android/ iOS/ Azure cloud



From Legacy to Data-powered

HEx’s ticketing platform, which relied on an outdated legacy system, was limiting the rail provider’s ability to trade effectively in new markets and territories. It was also incompatible with new national standards for gatelines in the UK.

HEx’s goal was to enhance its ticketing platform and use data to drive marketing and customer service initiatives. The rail provider sought to provide more accurate information and relevant and timely updates to passengers, therefore increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

HEx was also seeking to update its mobile app with better features and functionalities, and a smoother purchase experience for customers.

Gaining Real-time Insights

intive and HEx worked together to replace the core ticketing platform, including the website, mobile site, mobile app, and hosting. The joint team built a new, responsive CMS-based website that provided passengers with updates on disruptions, delays, and cancellations of their journeys. The teams updated the core ticketing system so that it was up-to-date with national standards for gatelines and introduced instant ticket generation with a QR code that’s scanned at the station platform.

intive and HEx also developed new Android and iOS native mobile apps, with improved functionalities and UX design. The customer booking flow was streamlined into a few simple steps within one widget and customers can now pay via digital payment platforms such as Apple Pay and PayPal.

Together, the teams built a separate back office dashboard that provides key data in real-time, such as the number of sales, ticket fulfillment times, website traffic, response times, and payment problems.

Finally, intive helped to create B2B integrations so that HEx customers can buy their tickets on third-party platforms, such as airline websites.

The entire infrastructure was built on the Azure cloud, including Azure security and monitoring of resources, response time, traffic, ticket sales, and cost.

Delivering a Streamlined Passenger Experience

As a result of the project, HEx was able to supercharge its passenger experience, leading to increased customer loyalty and an ongoing increase in tickets purchased through the app.

HEx’s passenger satisfaction greatly improved thanks to better information about disruptions and cancellations, the availability of new ticket types, the newly streamlined in-app booking flow, and the integration of additional digital payment methods. Integration with third-party platforms also made life easier for customers looking to purchase all their travel tickets in one place.

With access to real-time updates on ticket sales and other key data on passenger traffic and activity, HEx was able to make better-informed decisions around scheduling and the number of trains required at a given time. This allowed them to optimize resources and gain a better picture of passenger needs.

In the future, intive and HEx plan to further develop the mobile app with new features, including an offline mode so passengers can access tickets without a mobile internet connection. The intive team together with HEx will continue to improve all of the rail company’s digital channels, with the goal to provide an exceptional passenger experience.

With the help of intive, we have been able to update our entire ticketing system to meet the needs of our fast-paced customers. Our passengers now have access to real-time updates on their journeys at the touch of a button, and enjoy a streamlined experience that helps them travel, stress-free.

Mark Eastwood
Commercial Strategy Lead at Heathrow Express

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