Airport Express SFO stood me up (a service to avoid) & UBER saves the day

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Bumpertunites, weather and your Delta options (and what NOT to do) – Part 1
Airport Express SFO stood me up (a service to avoid) & UBER saves the day – Part 2
Delta Air Lines DeltaONE 757 seats and service SFO to NYC (and back) review – Part 3
The Radisson Blu Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco review – Part 4
Delta Same day change, regional upgrade certificates and open space – Part 5
Are Delta Mileage Runs still worth it anymore? (a hard look at the numbers) – Part 6

airport express site for sfo

I love UBER. I use it almost every single month and often many times a month. I have never had a “bad” UBER ride. I have only given 5 star ratings to every UBER driver I have ever had other than one I gave 4 stars to because the car was not as clean as all the others I have ever been in. But UBER is not 100% guaranteed to be available at all times day and night and I had a really early flight to JFK the next day so I wanted to have a set pickup time for just after 4:AM. So I decided to try Airport Express.

They say on their website (bolding theirs btw):

We are friendly, on-time and our goal is to make our customers 100% satisfied with their Bay Area airport shuttle service and ground transportation to and from San Francisco International Airport or Oakland Airport.” – airportexpresssf.com

Well that sure sounds great and really impressive. In practice, yeah, really not so much. Here is my experience with this service from SFO airport for a $30 round trip prepaid fee ($17 / one-way).

call log to airport express

As you can see from the opening ad on their website you are to call when you land and be directed to where you are to go. I did that and in under 2 minutes was at the right location for pickup. There was a helpful lady who asked me what service I was waiting on and told me she had radioed in and it would be about 15 minutes for pickup. To be fair, my flight was a few minutes late so that was fine. But after almost half an hour I called to see what the delay was.

I was told by the company that a pickup would not be available for a “very long time”. Really? I had a confirmed prepaid reservation and was stood up by Airport Express. I told them a confirmed pickup at both the airport and the hotel was exactly why I went with their service. What a complete #FAIL. I then said I wanted a refund and it would be nice if they would at least honor the request for pickup to make up for this. The rep said fine they would give me credit back in full and still pick me up at my hotel. Impressive, at the time.

uber-pool cheaper than airport express from sfo

Then I fired up my UBER app. Well what do you know, they have something called uberPOOL to and from the airport and the fee will only be $15 each way. But, I would have to share the ride with one other person.

when airport express did not pick me up uber did delta points blog

No big deal as you see UBER pairs you up with someone who is going very near to where you are going and my fellow rider was only a few blocks away from my hotel so even though I was the 2nd drop-off it was just fine. Quick, painless and simple. I like it.

Now let’s compare this to my return to the airport at just after 4:AM local time with Airport Express. First off, I did fire up my UBER app to see if there were UBER drivers around this early. There were many so I would have been fine sticking with them. But Airport Express did show up to pick me up and I was the first one in the van (of many). You see they had a 10 passenger van and we proceeded, for the better part of an hour, to drive up and down and around the dark streets of San Francisco picking up people until the van was completely packed with riders. I was almost car sick. Thanks for that Airport Express!

So Airport Express did pick me up, at least, as promised. They have not, many weeks later, made any attempt to credit me for my prepaid fee as promised. Honestly I am not surprised as when I went to read the company’s ratings on the web they are not very good (shocker – said no one)!

What I will take from this little adventure is I am done with services like Airport Express. UBER was better and readily available, no more expensive, quicker and got me where I needed to go. Between them and LYFT I think just about everywhere I go I will be covered. I will not be stuck in a “cattle car” and have to prepay for a service that may or may not be reliable. – René
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7 comments

  1. I believe you could have solved your problem by taking 30 seconds for reviews on SFO Express. It is common knowledge they are horrible.

  2. @Joe – Thanks for the input all the way from the Philippine’s! Online reviews can be correct or not – I have shared my personal experience.

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