There are few things in life that I find more stressful than driving to the airport. Between worrying about traffic, heavy luggage, and the sea of drivers trying to navigate the terminals, just thinking about the experience makes me cringe with anxiety. Hiring a chauffeured vehicle can remove most of that stress.
When booking a chauffeured airport transfer, always take into account how much time you’ll need. Will you be driving through rush-hour? Is your flight domestic or international? Do you prefer to play it safe and get there with an extra hour or two to spare, or are you a traveling pro who prefers to get to the gate right when the flight is boarding? These are all things you should take into account. If you’re unsure about how much time you’ll need, most reservationists at limo companies are very familiar with airports and traffic patterns, and will be happy to recommend a pick-up time based one the time of your flight’s departure.
Another thing to consider when booking airport transportation is the number of passengers you’ll have and the size of their luggage. This will impact the type of car you book. Most limos don’t have trunks to accommodate luggage for the amount of passengers that they can carry, so if you’re thinking about booking an eight passenger limo to transport seven people, with luggage, to the airport, think again. In most cases with limo transportation to the airport, some of your luggage is going to be sitting with you in the passenger compartment. If you have between three and five passengers, I’d recommend going with an SUV, like our Cadillac Escalade, which has a roomy trunk that can safely store all of your luggage, and still provides superior comfort. If you’re unsure about which vehicle to book, ask your reservationist, as limo companies know exactly how many passengers and bags can fit in each of their vehicles.
For airport pick-ups, there are two different options: a baggage claim “meet and greet” or the quicker, curbside pick-up. When most people think about a limo picking them up at the airport, they think of meet and greets. Your chauffeur will meet you at the entrance to the baggage claim from the terminals holding a sign with your name on it and a luggage cart, help you with your bags, and escort you to the car. Meet and greets are best for families with lots of luggage, international arrivals, or if you just know you’re going to be too tired upon landing to even think about picking up that heavy suit case. Curbside pick-ups are exactly what they sound like. Your driver will call or text you around the time that you’re scheduled to land, and pick you up at the curb outside of baggage claim. Most companies will either give you their license plate number, or tape a sign with your name on it to the inside of the car’s windshield, so you’ll know which one is yours. Curb side pick-ups are favored by people who travel often or only have carry-on luggage, since they’re generally quicker.
A lot of people think that taking chauffeured cars to the airport is an expensive luxury that they can’t afford, but that’s actually not the case. Most limo companies offer flat rates for airport transfers based on the general pick up location and the airport you’re traveling to, and often times they’re either comparable or cheaper than taking a taxi. I know for instance that there is only a few dollars difference between our flat rate from North Orange County (where our base is located) to Los Angeles International Airport and the average cab fare for the same trip. Plus, with flat rates you don’t have to worry about that meter running while you sit through the bumper to bumper insanity that is traffic in Los Angeles. In addition, you won’t have to worry about waiting in a long cab line at the airport, or sketchy drivers who purposefully take longer-than-necessary routes.
Here are some more general tips to keep in mind when booking airport transportation:
- Call the limo company the night before your flight and ask for your driver’s cell phone number. This is especially helpful for when you’re being picked up at the airport, because it will allow you to call the driver as soon as your flight’s landed so you can ascertain their exact location if you’re meeting in a crowded baggage claim, or if you’re having trouble locating them for your curbside pick-up. It’s much quicker than calling dispatch.
- Ask your limo company if they routinely track their client’s flights. Most companies do, so they’ll be able to act accordingly if there’s a delay or early arrival. However if you know you’re flight is going to be delayed a few hours, you should still give them a call, just in case.
- Ask about additional fees. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: be familiar with any fees that you might incur. Some companies charge extra for meet and greets, while some are free. Pretty much everyone charges an extra fee for arrivals, since airports charge the limo companies every time they pick someone up. When you’re booking, make sure to ask if these fees are included in your quoted price.