Thursday, January 05, 2006

SuperShuttle: Downsides.

I generally approve of SuperShuttle's venture, which provides door-to-airport service in shared vans, but everyone thinking of taking a SuperShuttle rather than, say, enlisting friends to drive them, calling a cab, or taking public transportation, should know what that door-to-airport service for a smaller fee entails.

1) You tell them when your flight is, and they tell you when it's convenient for them to pick you up. Since it's absolutely in their interest to get you to the airport on time, I've found that they pick me up some six hours before my flight leaves. I spend the next two hours shuttling all over the damn place picking up other passengers, and then I arrive at the airport a good three or so hours before my flight leaves.

2) Their drivers, almost uniformly, drive like maniacs. On a recent SuperShuttle trip, our driver hit a parked car, a parked motorcycle, and sheered a retaining wall. We passengers all decided it was best to close our eyes; we wished each other luck as we were dropped off at our destinations.

3) Do Not Pay Ahead Of Time. If their scheduling gets screwed up and you end up having to ditch your reservation because of their error, you want to be able to cut your losses and not go through a complaint process. It's cheap; pay in cash.

4) Having a door-to-airport service does not mean you can close your eyes and have everything taken care of for you. You need to know how long your trip will/should take, and how long before take-off your airline's check-in service closes.

5) While navigating SuperShuttle's phone service is a first-class pain-in-the-ass, and while dispatchers have--just today!--lied to me, once I met the driver, he gave me a straight, honest answer to my questions ("seriously, how many people are you picking up before you go to the airport?"), and once I reached the woman assigned to answer the phone calls of pissed-off customers, she dealt with me professionally and credited my friend's credit card. So: not dishonest, but caveat f'ing emptor.


Anonymous Anonymous:

not sure where you live, but many big cities where Super Shuttle operates have other door-to-door van services, and prices, number of stops on the way to the airport, and overall service varies among the different companies, with some much better than Super Shuttle, although most all that I've used have their own version of the less-cautious-than-I-would be drivers. Another tip that I've found helpful - decide what time you want to get to the airport, ask the shuttle service how long the trip should take between your pick up point and the airport, and tell them a flight time which fits your desired pick-up time.

1/07/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

The only problem I see with gaming their pick-up time is that if they have your correct departure time, then it is absolutely their responsibility to get you to the airport in time. It's in their interest to leave the long window so that they can schedule the pick-ups more profitably.

I live in NYC but pretty far from the airport I most often use; I'm usually picked up first and dropped off last. Since I don't know how many passengers SuperShuttle managed to squeeze into any given trajectory, deciding how long it should take won't match what actually ends up happening on the dispatch side.

(However, it's reasonable to decide whether the extra however-many hours are worth the lower fare.)

1/08/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Farber:

I could add all sorts of honest comments to "I fear you," actually. However, I don'yet know you well enough to know which would best please you, or at least pleasantly surprise you.

See, that "yet" suggests optimism on my part, nonetheless.

1/09/2006 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jackmormon:

I do need to work out the spacing on that side bar. It's a great quote and makes me very happy, since I've recently retreated from fearsomeness of any description.

But really, though: doesn't Tacitus deserve some scornful stylistic analysis?

It's good to see you stopping by. I should post more to keep up with the distinguished traffic. ;)

1/09/2006 11:51:00 PM  

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