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Birdie Aug 15th, 2006 04:34 AM

When I questioned my concierge at the hotel on airport transfer service for four people from Heathrow for an upcoming visit she said she could arrange it for 125 pounds. According to her Just Airports is a "gypsy cab" and can quote 47 pounds for an MPV because they may not have the proper level of insurance. Just Airports seems popular on this forum. Anyone have any info to add to her comments?

P_M Aug 15th, 2006 05:25 AM

I'm not buying that. It sounds like she's getting a kickback from the car service she wants to book for you. I would go with Just Airports.

Dukey Aug 15th, 2006 05:34 AM

"because they may not have the proper level of insurance..."

use of the word "may" is probably the telling point

you could also say that Just Airports charges less because they just MAY be willing to make less of a profit or MAY be unwilling to give the concierge a cut, etc., etc.

Just Airports, Swiss Cottage Cars, Ray Skinner (if still in business) all see to be reliable operators.

YOu might want to have a "friendly" conversation with the concierge after you arrive from your Just Airports transfer telling them how you are going to spill the beans in your Trip Advisor review.

Birdie Aug 15th, 2006 05:48 AM

Thank you helpful Fodorites. This is the info I needed. I will give the concierge the benefit of the doubt and assume that a chain such as Marriott may need to be extra cautious in their recommendations. That extra bit of caution, however, is not worth a 150% mark-up to me so Just Airports it is! I will be sure to tell the concierge about my experience.

djkbooks Aug 15th, 2006 07:03 AM

We used JustAirports three times. Vehicles were usually brand new. Drivers were always prompt, courteous, handled our bags, and were excellent drivers.

obxgirl Aug 15th, 2006 07:14 AM

Hi Birdie, Count me as another one who's a fan of JustAirports. For years prior to that we used Ray Skinner's London Transfers. If you google Ray's company (which remains in business) or the other ones mentioned here you'll see their prices are relatively close to one another but nowhere near £125.

Prices quoted by the various car services are for cash payment. The conciege's might be a credit card quote and somewhat inflated because of it.

janisj Aug 15th, 2006 07:17 AM

That is outrageous. And the concierege should be reported to the hotel manager. It is one thing to recommend a car service or limo - but to be that unprofessional . . . . .

He could have said something like " We have had very good service from xyz limos, and I cannot personally recommend justairports" or something like that - but to call them a gypsy cab is silly. And I'll be willing to bet he takes mini cabs himself from time to time.

BTW £125 is more twice what a black cab would charge if you just walk out to the taxi rank at LHR

OldeBrit Aug 15th, 2006 07:32 AM

Just a thought. With four people and all their luggage - wouldn't you need a large Limo, SUV or Van? I think Mini-driver cars are just regular sized cars. Maybe that's why it's 125GBP?

W9London Aug 15th, 2006 07:39 AM

Proper car service companies always should ask the number of people travelling and how many pieces of luggage you have. They will then dispatch whatever vehicles that should fit everyone/everything.
I use different companies, and sometimes they come with a regular sedan, or an estate wagon, or a MPV.

In any case, GBP125 IS a total rip-off!!

janisj Aug 15th, 2006 07:40 AM

OldBrit: - Since justAirports isn't a one-off gypsy cab that isn't an issue. They have many vehicles including minivans. 4 passengers would not be a problem . . . .

Birdie Aug 15th, 2006 09:42 AM

Both quotes were for an MPV so we should be covered for space. Thank you to everyone for your posts. I feel much more comfortable with Just Airports. We would have been able to charge the transfer to our room if we had gone through the hotel; still not worth the huge increase.
Obxgirl-Thanks for both of your posts. We're getting excited!! I haven't been able to justify buying that Chanel clear tote though!

Neopolitan Aug 15th, 2006 10:39 AM

Your problem is that you even talked to a hotel concierge about a car service which does not give kick-backs to hotels concierges, so her reply is not the least bit surprising. Book yourself directly with JustAirports. Then if you want, ask the concierge if she can provide a service for an equal amount. I'll bet she can't. If she can, then take her offer and cancel the reservation with JustAirports.

FauxSteMarie Sep 7th, 2006 10:32 PM

Concierges customarily get tips from places that they recommend. I know for a fact that, if you don't tip them, you don't get recommended again.

That goes for car services, private guides, restaurants, etc. It isn't a crime. It is how those people earn their livings.

Of course, you are free to do your own research and avoid ever having to tip the concierge, but, if the concierge helps you out as an individual, you tip too--or I hope you do. My hunch is that the base salary is low and the living is done from the tips. It is just the way it works. One hand washes the other.

djkbooks Sep 7th, 2006 10:48 PM

JustAirports is NOT a "gypsy cab". To my knowledge, independent drivers with their own vehicles participate.

We've engaged them three times in both directions with excellent service. Each time drivers were prompt, courteous, careful drivers, and took care of all our bags. Vehicles were nearly brand new and well maintained.

Note that if you pay cash with JustAirports the fare is considerably less.

I, personally, would be highly suspect of a hotel recommending 125 pounds transport versus 47 pound with JustAirports...

Sarvowinner Sep 7th, 2006 10:51 PM

I know everyone raves about JustAirports but we didn't didn't have a very good experience with them last December.

When we arrived at the hotel, I went inside to get some change to pay the driver while the other three unloaded the luggage. The driver chased me inside and demanded payment (the bags weren't unloaded yet). I paid him the agreed amount plus GBP 8 as a tip. He demanded another GBP 2 pounds saying the tip didn't pay for his parking fees at LHR. We had exited within the 45 minutes of arrival time.

I refused to pay him any extra and he was most unpleasant.

Also we were leaving on NYE and needed a car for 3.30pm and Just AIrports added a surcharge of 50%. I pointed out that I thought this was unreasonable as it was daytime and NYE was not a public holiday. We ended up using Eagle Cars recommended by the hotel who charged us less than the standard rate quoted by JustAirports.

Neopolitan Sep 7th, 2006 11:03 PM

Sarvowinner, I sure hope you contacted Just Airports and let them know what happened. If so, I doubt that that driver is still with them.

If you are talking about this past New Year's Eve, I'm also not surprised about the surcharge as there was an underground strike on New Year's Eve and taxis and cars were impossible to get -- starting at about noon on that day.

Birdie Sep 8th, 2006 05:26 AM

As the OP, I wanted to let you know that Just Airports worked out very well for us. They were where they were supposed to be as we came out of baggage claim. The driver wasn't very talkative but he was polite and a good driver. I had not booked a return car but was able to do that a couple of days before our return flight. Again they were prompt, efficient and polite. I never had any trouble with communications either by email from home or by phone in London. I highly recommend Just Airports.
I did not say anything to the concierge. When a different concierge made recommendations and reservations for us I made sure to tip him.

FauxSteMarie Sep 8th, 2006 06:23 PM

When you hire someone through a concierge, please note you are doing it as a convenience transaction. Service providers will always charge you more that way because they include the tip to the concierge in the price. You could call it a "kickback" but it is the way the tourism industry works.

travelgirl2 Sep 8th, 2006 06:41 PM

We used justairports and were satisfied.

I think it is common for the hotels to charge more for transportation services. In Rome, we were quoted a price of 75 euros by the hotel for transportation to and from the airport. We booked it ourselves at a rate of 40 euros from romashuttle. From the airport, we had a private pickup and the van to ourselves. Going to the airport, it was a shuttle with two other people already in the van, which was no problem for us.

FauxSteMarie Sep 8th, 2006 06:45 PM

As I said, the reason for that is the fact that the concierge and/or the hotel gets a commission for the recommendation. If you do your own research, you can always find what you want at a lower price.

Some people regard the convenience of just allowing the hotel/concierge to handle it as more significant than the price--which is why concierges exist at all.

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