Unless we are going on a road trip, we always start our trip off by going to the airport to catch a flight. We need to find airport transportation that would suit our personal preferences. Each person may choose a different means depending on what they are most comfortable with. So what airport transportation is available? Let’s look at some alternatives.
Have Someone Drive Us
I am sure that we all have tried this method. We ask a friend or family member to drive us to the airport and then when we return, pick us up and bring us home. This may be easy on you, but is an inconvenience for your friend or family member. If you need to be dropped off at an early hour to catch your flight, this means that your friend or family member must get up early just to take you to the airport. When pickup you up on the return, they do not know when your flight will arrive even if they have your flight schedule. We all know that flights are frequently not on time. Sometimes they may be hours late due to weather or other flight conditions. So, when you do arrive, you must call them and they must drop what they are doing to come get you.
I have done this frequently but have always felt guilty to cause such an inconvenience to someone. I usually offer a similar service to them when they travel, but then I am the one who has to be inconvenienced. There are also times when I cannot get anyone to take me which eventually caused me to start looking for other ways to get to the airport without depending on someone else.
Drive My Car And Park At The Airport
This became the method that I used after no longer depending on someone else to drive me. I would just drive to the airport and park there. This was a reasonable method when I started doing this, but later became more difficult to do. Airports used to have short term parking and long term parking. The short term parking is usually someone who is meeting someone at the airport or for someone who is on a short trip of a day or two. The long term parking is for travelers who would be away for a while (usually a week or more). The long term parking was cheaper than the short term parking but is was further away from the terminal. If you had a lot of luggage, this would make it difficult. If you were traveling with a partner, then you could drop them off with the luggage at the curb and then go to the long term parking. Eventually, even the long term parking got to be very expensive or the airport discontinued the long term parking.
This led to the need to park elsewhere at special parking lots designed for travelers. They would usually provide a shuttle from the parking lot to the terminal and pick you up at the terminal when you returned after you called them. These parking lots can still be used today, but the cost of these lots keep going up and they no longer seem to be as cheap. So what else can we do?
Yes, there is always the idea of calling a taxi. The advantage of this is that you do not have to drive your car and leave it at the parking lot, wait for the shuttle and then wait on the return after calling them to get back to the parking lot. You simply get picked up right at home and dropped off right at the departure terminal. Taxis are always available at the airport when you arrive to bring you home. Sounds great, but there are some downsides. One downside is obviously the cost. Taxis can be expensive unless you are really close to the airport, but most people are not. Another downside is dependability. When you call for a taxi, you depend on them being prompt because you have a flight to catch. If they are not, then you may miss your flight. I heard of someone who claimed that the taxis never came at all and by the time they called and got another taxi, they missed their flight. I found taxis to be a very poor choice for airport transportation.
While away on vacation, you may consider taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel and again when you are leaving to get back to the airport. Did you know that you may pay more for a taxi in Europe than a car rental. Sometimes it is cheaper to rent as car. Check out the facts and figures at this website from Auto Europe: Taxi vs. Car Rental where you can see the savings.
I then discovered shuttles as another way to get to the airport. I used a local shuttle service which eventually became acquired by Super Shuttle which is an international company. They have reasonable rates which beats those of a taxi service. You can make reservations for your airport transportation online and pay online including tip. This means that there is no need to handle any monetary transactions on the day of your trip. They pick you up at the house and drop you off at the departure terminal and they have plenty of room for your luggage. Upon your return, they are always there at the airport and you just go to their pickup point just outside the terminal. They have a scheduled time and are prompt about arriving to pick you up which will make sure that you do not miss your flight.
They have different forms of transportation, but the most common one is the shared shuttle. This is usually a van which can carry quite a few people. You and your party are not the only passengers. When being picked up at home, they make several stops at various homes, so you must be patient and allow enough time for this when going to the airport. The same is true when returning home. The purpose of this is that Super Shuttle can save time and money this way and you pay less. Because they have scheduled times, you must be ready at that time because other customers are depending on the same ride and they would not like to be late for their flight because you were not ready when Super Shuttle arrived at your door. If you want a private shuttle, you can purchase this, but it cost a lot more.
In my search to find airport transportation, I realized that Uber is another method of airport transportation. Unlike Super Shuttle, the rides are individual and only shared with members of your own group. If you are traveling alone or with a partner, then you will be the only passengers. You do not have to worry about holding someone else up. Uber is a newer concept where you setup an account with Uber and then download an app on your smartphone or iPhone. When you need a ride, you open up the app and input the desired ride. The app can find your location via GPS and let the driver know where you are to be picked up. You can also see on a map on your smartphone where the driver is and when they will arrive. It is usually within minutes. You do not have to schedule an appointed time like you do with Super Shuttle. Your account has all your credit card information and the amount of tip in percentage format that you wish to provide; therefore, you do not have to handle any money. The app will also tell you approximately how much the trip will cost. The cost is automatically charged to your credit card. Uber may cost a little more that the shared Super Shuttle, but this seems reasonable to me because you do not have to call until you are ready and there is no long waiting time. They are cheaper than the taxis and are more reliable.
There are different types of vehicles depending on your needs or preferences. Each type has a different cost. The cheapest one is called UberX which is a smaller car and may not have room for a lot of luggage, but if you have no luggage (or very little), then this would be a perfect fit. It is probably even cheaper than Super Shuttle, but you would have to check that out in your area. You can go all the way up to a luxury vehicle if you are so inclined. They advertise to be better, faster, and smarter than a taxi. The vehicles are owned by the drivers and they are required to have a certain standard as to the type, size, and year. They must meet certain standards in order to provide you with a comfortable and pleasant ride.
Vehicles are available at all times because there are always Uber drivers on the road so that when you request a ride with your app, a driver is usually close by and available. You can even decide to be an Uber driver and run your own business. You must have a vehicle that is up to Uber standards. Uber drivers are on the road at all hours day and night. So if you wish to be an Uber driver, you would need to spend a decent amount of time on the road to be competitive. Go to the website of Uber to apply.
Lyft is an up and coming service that is very similar to Uber. It is gaining in popularity in many cities throughout the world. They have different classes of vehicles at different prices just like Uber. Lyft also has similar standards of vehicles in order to provide a certain level of comfort for the passengers.
So, which service is better or cheaper. The first thing that you must do is determine if the service is available in your area. You can check this online or with the app. Like Uber, Lyft has an app for Android and iOS operating systems. The prices may vary, so you may want to compare both to see which is cheaper in your area. It could be either service.
You can also apply to be a driver for Lyft and run your business. Many drivers drive for both Uber and Lyft. As a passenger, you may get such a driver, but you will only be paying for the service that you selected on this trip. The driver will know which service you are using. You can also have both apps on your phone with accounts set up in both. Then you can make a choice each time that you ride.
Here is a really exciting new way to travel to the airport. The company is called FlightCar. The idea is that you can park your car in a special area belonging to FlightCar for free. They can then rent out your car to other travelers while you are away and you get the rental income. Every rental is insured up to $1 million and the renters are pre-screened. You also get a free car wash. As a member of FlightCar, you can also rent a car from them when you are at your destination. These rental rates are lower than rental car companies. This is a win-win situation. You get paid to rent your car and you get a cheaper rental when you are at your destination. Being as this is a fairly new program, they are not located everywhere yet; but they are adding cities to their list all the time. Check out their website to see if they are operating in your area. If not, you can check back at some later times and maybe they will be servicing you area then.
These are some suggestions that may help you find airport transportation. I am sure there are others that may be available. Please share any ideas that you may have with us or provide us with your thoughts on the suggestions that are discussed in this blog. I always appreciate readers input.