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Airport Transportation

Read on for useful tips for airport transportation.

Many airline passengers struggle to find decent transportation to and from the airport. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Many airline passengers struggle to find decent transportation to and from the airport.

Airport transportation was likely a concern for the nearly 650 million passengers that passed through U.S. airports during 2008. Many of those passengers may have struggled to find decent transportation to and from the airport. While friends and family are able to help out here and there, times arise when no one is available to drive a passenger to the airport. Consequently, some travelers have to get creative with their transportation options. The Airport Ground Transportation Association, an association of ground transportation operators, recognizes the need for reliable transportation at airports. Members of the organization include shuttle operators, taxicab companies and rental car companies. While shuttles and taxis are traditional modes of transportation to and from the airport, there are other options that travelers should consider.

Airport Shuttle Service

Most frequent airline travelers have used a shuttle van to get to and from the airport. Many of these vans arrange for pickup originating at the traveler's house, while other shuttles are free services offered by hotels near the airport. SuperShuttle is a national company with locations throughout the United States. This service functions by grouping passengers together for rides to and from the airport. By sharing a ride with other passengers, airline travelers are able to spend less on ground transportation.

Airport Limousine Service

Chauffeured limousine and car services offer more privacy and efficiency than shuttle vans. If the car is not a limousine, it is frequently a town car or other large sedan. Web sites like Limopros.com allow airline travelers to search large databases of prescreened companies that specialize in limousine service.

Airport Taxi Service

Most airports have a protocol for taxi service. Often, certain taxis are authorized by the airport and display a particular seal to support that claim. Use of unauthorized taxis is allowed, but it is at the passengers' own risk. LAX is among the airports that provide passengers with a ticket stating the average taxi fare to various local locations. This protects passengers from being excessively charged for a particular trip.

Mass Transit

In America's larger cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, there are buses, trains or subways that connect the downtown areas to suburban airports. For example, the New York Airport Service offers bus service from various locations in metropolitan New York to JFK Airport and LaGuardia Airport. Airline travelers can also catch the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station in Manhattan to the Jamaica hub. From there, the JFK Airport's AirTrain gets passengers to their respective airport terminals. O'Hare in Chicago has regional buses that take airline passengers to and from the suburbs. At Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), there are buses from Culver City, Santa Monica, Torrance and other surrounding cities.

Airport Car Rental Options

Business travelers or vacationers frequently rent a car when they arrive at their destination; however, a rental car can also be an option for getting an airline passenger to and from the airport. Some car rental companies offer a service whereby the customer can pick up a car at one location, drive to the airport and then leave the car at the airport. This particular option is good for families with children, who often have car seats and have to operate on their own schedules.

Off-Site Parking

Off-site parking companies surround larger suburban airports, such as Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta or DFW International in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Park N Fly is a nationwide company that allows airline passengers to park their cars and then ride a complementary shuttle to the airport. Parking rates at the Atlanta and Dallas airports are about $7 per day. Additional services that are complimentary or provided for a small fee include luggage assistance, valet parking, complimentary newspapers, and car wash or detailing services.

Extreme Methods of Airport Transportation

The exercise enthusiast may be interested in renting a bike at the airport. Generally, this option is only available at smaller and more rural airports, such as the Nantucket Memorial Airport; however, Chicago is promoting the notion of biking to O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago Airport System offers specific information about how to reach O'Hare International by bike. Bicycling may also be an option at international airports in countries where bicycles are a common mode of transportation. If a bicycle is not available, an airline traveler may be able to rent a moped. Once again, mopeds are more likely to be available in overseas airports, such as those in Asia.

If a particular traveler has some money to burn, then helicopter transportation may be an option. In New York City, HeliNY flies passengers from various locations in Manhattan to JFK Airport or Newark Airport. Prices start at $159 for a one-way ticket, but travelers may save a lot of headaches by staying off congested roads and highways. While other cities may not have this type of service, wealthy airline passengers can always charter a helicopter.

Friends and Family

Many people do not want to impose on friends and family when it comes to asking for a ride to the airport; however, trading services is a way to minimize the guilt associated with bumming a ride. Many friends and families have a deal worked out so that they drive each other to the airport whenever necessary. Sometimes, if families or groups of friends are traveling at the same time during the holidays, they can share the cost of a shuttle or limousine. Regardless of what option is chosen, airline passengers should be mindful when making reservations. If someone is planning on asking a friend or loved one for a ride, skip the early bird flight or the red-eye. People are more likely to offer a ride if it is at a reasonable hour.

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