Shuttle services can be reserved, however, many have cancellation policies.
Shuttle services are often the most cost-effective transportation between airports and homes or hotels, especially when the group or amount of luggage is too large for a traditional taxi service. Some hotels offer free shuttle service to and from the airport and area attractions. Many shuttle services can be booked in advance so the customer knows exactly what the charges will be. Shuttle services also frequently provide a wheelchair-accessible option; however, some do not provide car seats for children. Shuttle service is provided in a van or limousine that can accommodate a large number of passengers, which is what brings the cost down. Since travelers are usually going to be sharing a shuttle with other people, the main drawback of using a shuttle service is the time it takes to drop off or pick up other passengers along the way. This can be a nerve-racking experience for people who are running late to catch a flight.
Frequent travelers for business may want to identify reputable shuttle services that operate in multiple cities that they can rely on. For example, Super Shuttle offers one-way or round-trip transportation to and from 33 airports in 26 cities. Reservations for private sedans and shared vans can be made online or by phone.
Another option is to use a website that matches a shuttle service to the customer's specific transportation needs. ShuttleFinder.net searches airports and shuttle services around the country to match a passenger's ground transportation needs with available services.
There are many independent shuttle services that work out of airports, but how they structure their fees can vary greatly. Some companies start with a base price such as $20 for a single passenger and each additional passenger is charged a lower rate, such as $9. Ten passengers who split the cost of the shuttle will pay about $10 each.
Some airport shuttle services offer scheduled pickups from certain hotels at a much lower rate than other methods of transportation. For example, Go Airport Express shuttle service operating out of O'Hare Airport in Chicago has scheduled pickups from more than 40 hotels in 5 Chicago suburbs. Reservations to the airport should be made in advance, although they are not necessary for rides to hotels from O'Hare. Fares are 60 percent lower than those charged for taxis and private car rides.
Airport shuttle limousines provide a luxury option to travelers. Many limos are outfitted with features not usually found in vans, such as refreshment centers, flat screen televisions, lava lamps and surround sound music systems. As with the shared vans, shared limos provide a reduced rate in exchange for allowing the service to pick up additional passengers. Some services even guarantee the shared rate if other passengers are not picked up.
Many shuttle services provide a wheelchair accessible van or limousine option when making online reservations, and their vehicles are equipped to store wheelchairs. Additionally, many airport ground transportation services have procedures in place that are intended to aid people with disabilities or special needs. Shuttle drivers may call ahead to make sure a wheelchair is waiting, or that someone is available to help the special need's traveler board the plane.
Some shuttle services provide child car seats while others do not. Therefore, it is the parent's responsibility to provide a car seat when they are not available from the shuttle service. It is best to call the service provider ahead of time to see if this option is available.
Hotels that are located in close proximity to popular tourist attractions can appeal to vacationers by offering free shuttle service to and from these attractions. Often these attractions charge for parking, which can be quite expensive, especially when going to amusement parks over a period of several days. For example, many hotels located near Walt Disney World and other amusement parks in Orlando, Fla., offer free shuttle service to these attractions as a service to guests.
Cancellation policies vary among shuttle service providers. Some require 24-hour advance notice to cancel a reservation without penalty, while others do not charge as long as it is cancelled before the driver is dispatched. Customers who do not show up at the scheduled pickup location without cancelling will likely be charged the full fare. Travelers should carefully read the provider's cancellation policy prior to making a reservation.
Travelers should look for coupons on the websites of shuttle services before making a reservation or leaving on a trip. AAA also has online coupons for its members that offer discounts of $2 or more per person off various shuttle services. Shuttle services that take tourists to shopping areas and other attractions may offer discounted rates as well as coupons for participating retailers and attractions.