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What Are The Difference's Between A Direct Airport Transfer And A Shuttle Bus?


Many people are planning their summer holidays with the goal of getting the best value for their money. We rely on travel agents to give us impartial advice on the best options available to us in most cases without reading between the lines. Seldom are we told about the subtle differences between products with the primarily goal of the travel agent to earn the highest amount of commission.

Take airport transportation for example.

What can you expect to receive if you book a direct transfer? What is the standard waiting time involved with a shuttle bus transfer? How many stops are we likely to encounter? How many other people will be sharing the vehicle?

Below I am going to highlight the main differences between the two forms of transportation giving you a better insight and allowing you to arrive to your own conclusions.

What benefits can I expect to receive if I pre-book a direct airport transfer?

  • Generally speaking it is the most efficient and the fastest method of arriving to your destination.
  • Once you exit the baggage hall you are met by your representative or driver who will be waiting for you with a clearly marked sign.
  • After presenting your transfer voucher you are assisted with your luggage and swiftly escorted to your awaiting vehicle avoiding any queues or waiting.
  • Your vehicle is exclusively for you and you will never have to share with other holidaymakers.
  • Value for money as most fares are calculated per km/mile so you know how much you are paying.

What benefits can I expect to receive if I pre-book a shuttle bus transfer?

  • Cheap prices catered for the budget traveller.

What are the disadvantages of pre-booking a direct airport transfer?

  • The main difference is the price.  In most cases you are paying slightly more than a shuttle bus transfer.

What are the disadvantages of pre-booking a shuttle bus transfer?

  • Waiting times at the airport can be lengthy. The purpose of the shuttle bus transfer is to ensure there are no empty seats. This is done by packing customers from different flights onto the same bus until it is full. Flights are usually delayed and that results in delays for other passengers.
  • The fleet is usually a lot smaller than direct transfer companies. If a bus is not available then you will have to wait for one to return before you set off.
  • Sharing with others might not seem like a bad idea at first but after a long flight you will probably be on the bus for a minimum of 45 minutes with screaming children. Most vehicles do not have air conditioning which in warmer climates is unpleasant. Does the passenger next to you take as much pride in his personal hygiene as you do?
  • Dropping passengers off will cause delays. They have to disembark and then point out their luggage to their drivers which will usually involve unloading suitcases in order to get their bags.
  • If your accommodation is the furthest or last on the list you can expect a lengthy island tour before you arrive.
  • The return back to the airport is the same process. The chances are that you will arrive at the check-in desk at the same time which will result in more queuing.


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