We moved to Colorado in the 90’s before Denver International Airport (DIA) had opened and the main airport (Stapleton) was still within the city limits. Before we set off from Longmont, Colorado to pick up some friends, we asked one of our new neighbors for directions…which we promptly forgot. The old, “I thought YOU were listening.” “I was busy with the kids, I thought YOU were listening!” But the neighbor had assured us there was really good signage to enhance his directions. This was pre-GPS.
The problem was, there was a lot of construction in Denver (the infamous Mousetrap) and most of the signs had been taken down. So we decided to do what any well-educated, intelligent couple would do, we decided to follow the planes to the airport. After all they were flying right above us, how hard could this be?
This method was easier than it sounds and did indeed take us right to the airport…to the very end of a runway where small groups of weirdo plane groupies lay on their trucks watching enormous aircraft fly directly over them and land. It was obviously pre-9/11. Without having to ask any of the weirdo plane groupies, it became painfully obvious we were nowhere near the terminal where the normal people hang out. So we stalked a letter carrier we saw in a nearby neighborhood and he explained how to get to the airport.
This brings me to today’s topic, house guests and airport transportation.
For the guest:
Please, for the love of all that is holy, RENT A CAR at the airport! Factor it into your expenses. It will be better for everyone. I promise. This is especially important if your hosts work full time, have young children at home, or are senior citizens who are no longer all that comfortable with driving.
Warning! Warning! If you do rent a car….especially at DIA…ask about tolls at the rental counter! I know you can’t wait to get going to your destination, but this can save you hundreds of dollars. I won’t bother with a long explanation, but forgoing the toll package allows the rental companies to charge you for their post-trip “toll mitigation services”. It’s become a legal scam that fleeces travelers out of a great deal of money. I’m not sure how they get away with it, but they do.
If your host’s home is less than 15 miles away, consider taking a taxi, Uber, or similar service. Keep in mind that Uber rules differ from airport to airport. Look it up before you leave.
If renting a car is simply not an option, here are a couple of tips that will make everyone’s trip more pleasant. If you are flying into a major airport, book arrival and departure times that do NOT coincide with rush hour. There’s nothing worse than starting a much-anticipated trip by getting off a plane and into a traffic jam. Makes folks grumpy. Offer to pay for parking, tolls, and gas. These expenses mount up when you have frequent guests.
For the host:
I think it’s perfectly acceptable for hosts to suggest car rental. This can be done graciously, “Our guests have found it so much more convenient not to be limited by our hectic schedule.”
But if that doesn’t work, track the flight’s arrival time on your phone and use the cell phone lot to wait. Tell your guests to call you once they have their luggage in hand. I love my cell phone lots which are free and usually less than a mile from passenger pickup. Saves time, money, and hassle. I don’t know why more people don’t use them.
Although, for some reason the cell phone lots do remind me, just a little bit, of the weirdo plane groupies.
Thank you for visiting.
photo attribution https://www.google.com/#q=Airport+Images