Wi-Fi access is pretty pervasive throughout UK airport lounges but, by enabling hotspot access on all Heathrow Express trains, mobile operator T-Mobile plans to encourage users to log-on before they check in.

The operator said the service will commence early in 2007, providing the Express Service’s 5.3 million passengers per year with broadband speeds of “up to” 8Mbps for the minute journey between London Paddington station and the airport.

Customers will be able to purchase an access pass on-board the train, and will be able to continue to use the pass at T-Mobile hotspots at Heathrow or at various other locations in Central London. T-Mobile hotspots are already available at a number of hotels, Starbucks coffee shops and Borders bookstores.

A spokesperson for T-Mobile said that while the 23-minute Heathrow Express journey time may be brief, it could be sufficient for business people to check email or send important files if they’re rushing for a plane.