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What airport transfer is and how it works

The airport transfers service is constantly increasing in popularity and is often the best way to move on longer distances compared to Uber or regular taxi. Let´s see why.

Driver waiting for passengers In this article on travel-tour-guide, we will discuss about a travel service which is getting every day more and more popular among travelers moving around either for holidays or business: it is the airport transfers service, actually known with different names depending on country and language.

During your travels, probably happened more than once to come across drivers, each one holding a board with a name on top, waiting for their customers in the arrival hall of the airport. Also, you probably wondered what are the main advantages to use of this form of transportation compared to taxis or Uber, where to book a similar service and if the price range is compatible with the budget of any traveler, or if it is suitable only for "business" or "first class" passengers. But let's begin from start...



Let's first look what an airport transfer, so defined by modern travel industry, actually is: we will do this trying to use simple words and examples that are easy to understand, leaving aside all the technical, bureaucratic and legislative aspects that govern this important transport category. In a few words, seen through the eyes of a casual traveler who use this service, airport transfers look like normal car rental, but with the big difference that in addition to the car, the client "rent" (please pass me the term) also the driver. So let's see in more details where to book airport transfers, how to use such service and why choose it instead of other ways of transportation, like taxis, Uber or even public transport.



The very first step necessary to use airport transfer service is, of course, to make a reservation through a web site. In fact, differently from taxis or other shuttle service, you can't (or, better, you really shouldn't) grab an airport transfer car once on place, or most of the advantages of using this form of transport (especially related to cost and guaranteed availability) may simply vanish. There are numerous agencies, booking centers and local operators that provide a website designed specifically to book airport transfers. The rules, however, or the "terms and conditions" differ from operator to operator: for example, some agency may require upfront payment of the journey, even if you are booking months in advance, while others accept more friendly payments directly to the driver on the day of the trip.

During our travels around the world we have been able to test different airport transfers companies and we found particularly convenient and friendly the service provided by Best Airport Transfer, especially for flexible payment methods and for the cancellation policy that in many cases does not impose any charge, even if canceling a few hours before the scheduled pick-up time. Booking an airport transfer on the mentioned website is very simple: just enter or select the departure location, the destination location and then choose the type of vehicle you want, selecting from a simple sedan-class car to a large bus, going through all the intermediate categories. Obviously the selection of the vehicle depends on how many passengers you are booking for, however, even if you travel alone but want a particularly spacious minivan, you have the possibility to choose such vehicle as well. Once the selection has been made, a booking form lets to enter further information, like your contact details and everything the driver needs to know in order to provide the requested service (therefore, complete addresses, number of baggage, etc.). The credit card is necessary only for guarantee and, unless otherwise instructed by yourself, the payment will be made in cash to the driver.

Another airport transfer booking center that we have used is Taxi Airport Pickup, which works very similarly to the other one already been described, but has a more modern web site design (we know that someone like older website designs, but others prefer a more modern look, reason for which we are suggesting two agencies). In all cases, after submitting the airport transfer reservation, an agent will carefully check that everything is correct and well squared-up, before sending you the confirmation e-mail. In the same e-mail you will find the mobile phone number of the driver, which can be called for any last-minute questions or emergencies. That's all! You are now ready to enjoy your trip without worrying about anything else and without getting crazy among taxis or public transport on the day of your journey.

We have also to mention that the same airport transfer companies offer also the opposite direction transfers, specifically from your hotel or apartment to airport, but also any other kind of transfer from and to railway stations and cruise ports, using exactly the same philosophy.



Now that you know what is an airport transfer service and how to book it, you may just wonder why use airport transfers and why bother making a reservation, if once on place you may still grab a taxi, call Uber, get a shared shuttle or use public transportation. Well, let's see what are the main advantages of airport transfers compared to other forms of transportation and why you won't be able to travel again without it, once you tried it.

  • Your driver will wait for you in the arrival hall. Once you have collected your luggage, maybe huge and heavy, you will not have to go around the airport to look for the taxi stand and do the queue (often long) to get into a car. Or even worse, you won't have to look for buses or train stations, queue for tickets and walk with luggage to the departure point. Furthermore, should the flight be delayed, the driver will wait for you anyway, without additional charges, as all the flights are constantly checked (this is the reason for which you need to provide arrival flight number on the booking application).

  • No risk of being overcharged by dishonest drivers. To who has never happened to run into an abusive driver, or in a taxi with a tampered taxi-meter, and pay twice or three times more the actual cost of the ride? This eventuality is particularly frequent after landing in a country for the first time, perhaps without knowing the language, the roads and the actual costs of the services in the city that we are visiting. The abusive drivers, but also regular taxi drivers, know this very well and usually they do not hesitate to shamelessly take advantage from such situation. In the absence of effective controls from the authorities, all over the world, our only defense is to book an airport transfer well before leaving our home country, as the rate printed on the confirmation e-mail will be exactly the amount to pay.

  • Airport transfers have fixed-price (no taxi-meter). As already mentioned, the rate written in the booking confirmation e-mail matches exactly what you will pay, regardless of red stop lights, detours, traffic, bad weather or any other type of unexpected event. Therefore, the budget for your travels will more protected, since there will be less unexpected expenses as well.

  • Once you booked an airport transfer, the service is guaranteed. Once you get the e-mail confirmation of the airport transfer, the availability of the service is formally guaranteed, which is not obvious if you travel without a reservation or if you look for a taxi on the spot, perhaps (imprudently) even last minute. Did you ever call a taxi to go to the airport, and this came after a whole hour? Holding a confirmed transfer reservation, the driver will arrive exactly at the booked time and there will be no risk of "sold-out" or late transport, neither during peak days or times.

  • Airport transfers are often cheaper. The prices of airport transfers, especially on longer distances, are much more convenient compared to taxi (for a short ride between 2 addresses in the same city, a taxi or Uber may be cheaper, but when the distance become 20, 30, 40 miles and beyond, perhaps along extra-urban roads, airport transfers becomes progressively more and more convenient). And airport transfers may be convenient also compared to public transport. Suppose that from Milan city you need to get to Milan Malpensa airport and you are a family or a group of friends of 5 people. Cost of the tram ticket to get to railway station: 10 Euros. Cost of Malpensa Express train from Milan city to Malpensa: 65 Euros. Total: 75 Euros. Cost of airport transfer in a comfortable minivan for 5 people: 89 Euros in total. With the huge difference that the driver will pick you up at the hotel and will drop you in front of the entrance to the departures. No luggage to drag who knows where, maybe in the rain or on a hot summer day.

  • Flexible payment methods. If you wish, you can pay for the ride at the time of booking, so you can travel with less cash and without the need to rush to a money change agency as soon as you land at the destination airport. And if you need to cancel, no problem, the payment is refunded without any charge. The payment is of course still possible also in cash or with a credit card to the driver, as long as this payment method is allowed by the agency where you are booking.


Well, we just discussed how the airport transfer service works, how to book it and what are the countless pros of airport transfers vs taxis or other types of transport. As you can see, it is a normal service, even low cost for everyone and not just for VIPs or business travelers, as it may appear to be initially. We hope to have clarified all your doubts: now you just have to to book and try. Have a nice trip!


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