Why I’ve Started Using Blacklane For Airport Pick-Ups

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In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

If you don’t yet have a Blacklane account you can receive a 20% discount on your first ride by using promotion code 6X6KHRHN during the booking process (this can be entered right after you enter credit card information). We receive a future discount as well, and appreciate the support!

Tiffany first wrote about Blacklane back in 2016, and about how she often finds it to be a good alternative to Uber. I’m unfortunately a creature of habit, so when I’m used to using a service I just keep using it whenever possible, and often don’t want to learn the ins-and-outs of something new. So for whatever reason I didn’t start using Blacklane for over a year after that post, even though I usually trust Tiffany’s advice 100%. I finally used Blacklane for the first time a few months ago, and have been using it ever since.

I’m using Blacklane to supplement Uber and largely replace airport pick-ups arranged through hotels. This won’t be for everyone, so let me explain where I see value in Blacklane.

I try to avoid taxis at airports

I’ve had horrible luck with taxies over the years. From drivers nearly falling asleep on me, to drivers getting lost (even in a city with supposedly the most competent cabbies), to drivers claiming I damaged their car, to drivers refusing to take me to my desired destination, to drivers taking me the long way, it seems that more often than not getting from the airport to the hotel in a taxi is an adventure.

So for cities where where public transportation isn’t good, I use one of two methods to get from the airport to the hotel:

  • I order an Uber
  • I order a hotel car

Yes, ordering a hotel car can be expensive, but until recently I thought it was money well spent. When you’re coming off a long flight the last thing you want to do is get in an argument with a driver, be in an unsafe car, or wait in a long line.

I used to use Uber for airport pick-ups, though increasingly am finding this to be a not-great option:

  • Many airports don’t allow Uber to do airport pick-ups
  • When you’re in a foreign country there’s often a huge communication barrier when it comes to actually meeting up with your Uber driver at the airport
  • Increasingly I’m finding Uber drivers play games when it comes to airport pick-ups (or something)

Let me give a couple of examples. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, a few months ago, I ordered an Uber on arrival. The outside roadway by the airport isn’t that big, and the driver’s location showed as being near where I was. There weren’t that many cars, so I figured I had to be missing something. I texted the driver, he texted back where he was, and I went there. Long story short, I spent 20 minutes trying to find him, and in the end I just canceled the ride. I’m not sure if this was a game and he just wanted the cancelation fee, or what.

A couple of months ago at Heathrow I tried to order an Uber from Terminal 3. All the Uber drivers at Heathrow seem to park in one area off the airport premises, and it’s a good 15 minutes until they get to the terminal. Four times in a row drivers canceled on me about 10 minutes after accepting my ride — it took nearly an hour before I was in an Uber. What a waste of time.

What is Blacklane?

Before I share why I love Blacklane for airport pick-ups, let me explain the very basics of the service (they have both a website and app). While Uber is more of a ridesharing service that’s on-demand, think of Blacklane more as an easy way to arrange a high-end car service in advance.

The idea is that you can book a driver in advance, and they’ll meet you wherever you want to be met whenever you want to be met, and you can typically cancel up until an hour before the scheduled ride. So they can meet you in the arrivals hall of the airport and can have a sign with your name on it (or whatever name you’d like — you could have them make the sign for Miss Vanjie, if you’d like).

With Blacklane all gratuity, tolls, and taxes are included (which is also how Uber used to be, but nowadays they’re actively soliciting tips).

The thing to be aware of is that Blacklane is more of an UberBLACK competitor, rather than an UberX competitor. So Blacklane isn’t going to be cheaper than a taxi.

Why I use Blacklane for airport pick-ups

Blacklane is useful because it’s consistently cheaper than what you’d pay for an airport pick-up from a hotel, yet it’s so much more reliable and practical than trying to be picked up at the airport in an Uber. The driver will be waiting for you in the terminal with a sign (if that’s where you want to be met), and you’ll be driven in a nice, air conditioned car (usually a Mercedes Benz E-Class, or equivalent).

Maybe it’s a sign of how easy my travels have become thanks to things like TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry, but often the most stressful part of a travel experience nowadays is the process of getting from the arrivals hall to my hotel, and Blacklane takes the stress out of that.

Would I use Blacklane in a city with great public transportation? No, generally not.

Would I use Blacklane for a ride to an airport? Generally not, because I like the option of leaving whenever I want, rather than having to schedule a ride in advance.

Is Blacklane a good option for someone who is looking for the cheapest possible option from the airport to the hotel? No way.

But if you value reliability and a hassle-free experience getting to your hotel, I think Blacklane is great. As someone who used to often spring for a hotel car, I’ve fallen in love with Blacklane — it’s reliable, and basically provides an experience that’s on par with a hotel car, except it’s cheaper.

Furthermore, I also find the process of arranging a Blacklane car to be easier than arranging a hotel car. To arrange a hotel car I either have to call the hotel or send the hotel an email, and often you have to go back and forth by email. Heck, some hotels don’t even publish their email addresses on their websites. In the case of Blacklane I can put in my request for a car before boarding my international flight, and then consistently the car will be there when I arrive.

One Blacklane pricing example

I think this post is too long already, so I don’t want to provide too many examples, but let me give one. Beijing is a city where there’s no good public transportation from the airport to the city. I’ve had some bad experiences in taxis going from the airport to hotels in Beijing.

Let’s say you’re staying at the Park Hyatt. The hotel directly charges 880CNY for an airport transfer, which is ~140USD. That’s ridiculously high. Meanwhile Blacklane charges 72USD including everything, so it’s about half the price, and this is for a comparable car. That’s before any discounts, and at a minimum you should be able to get a $10 discount per ride (more on that below).

It goes without saying that a taxi would be much cheaper, and also that there may be cheaper car services out there. But the beauty of Blacklane is that it’s one service you can use globally, so you’re not spending the time researching, planning in advance, emailing back and forth, and wondering about the reliability of a service. To me that’s worth it.

Other ways to maximize value with Blacklane

When it comes to maximizing value with Blacklane, there are a few more things to be aware of:

Bottom line

Blacklane won’t make sense for everyone, and that’s fine. As someone who used to find it worthwhile to sometimes pay for a hotel transfer from an airport, Blacklane has been awesome. Blacklane is easy to use, cheaper than a hotel car (and typically cheaper than UberBLACK), everything is included, and I’ve had good experiences with the service so far.

If you haven’t yet given Blacklane a try, I’d recommend doing so. Or if anyone has a tip for another comparable service they recommend or prefer, I’d love to hear it (though I’m a slow adapter!).

If you don’t yet have a Blacklane account you can receive a 20% discount on your first ride by using promotion code 6X6KHRHN during the booking process (this can be entered right after you enter credit card information). We receive a future discount as well, and appreciate the support!

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. Blacklane is just way too expensive for normal families. But sure, if you have money or sponsors then it’s a good service. There isn’t much other services that is more expensive than this.

  2. The Airport Express train runs directly from Beijing Capital Airport to the city center. I’ve use it every time I visit. If that’s not an example of good public transportation, I don’t know what you expect.

  3. Very interested in your Beijing example. It’s been maybe five years since I was at the airport there, but I found the taxi experience horrible. The lines were bad, but the worse part was the condition of the car. As a former auto safety advocate, I am ready to pull my hair out when taxis don’t have seatbelts, either because they are securely hidden under the seats, covered over with a plastic covering for the entire back seat, or otherwise gone or rendered unusable. Assume this wouldn’t be a problem with Blacklane? In Ho Chi Minh city, our taxi from the airport broke down on the highway at night. I’d certainly pay a premium to avoid those situations. What happens if your plane is late?

  4. I have been using Blacklane for years – however, depending on the location I have lowered my expectation of the quality of car. In some countries the Mercedes magically transforms into a Standard Kia Forte, or Renault Logan. But I’m still very happy with their service

  5. @Lucky you should try Sixt mydriver, if you already haven’t. I’ve had good experiences in various European countries with them. I also know you love a good German company 😉

  6. As far as I know, Blacklane is a German company. You might also want to check out their German competitor MyDriver, which is owned by German rental car company Sixt.
    I haven’t tried Blacklane yet (though I’ve only heard good things), but I’ve always been happy with MyDriver. They offer the exact same service, and I think both arrange transfers to pretty much all international airports globally.

  7. The best thing about Blacklane is that they will wait for you if your flight is delayed, I had a driver in China who waited for me for more than 3 hours!

  8. If you book in the name of ‘Miss Vanjie’, can you get the driver to just call out your name repeatedly rather than using a sign?

    hahaha

  9. I have used Blacklane a handful of times now and have been generally pleased. The only time that was problematic was in Vietnam when I had to wait for over 30 minutes for the car to show up and even then had problems locating the driver since he wasnt where he was supposed to be.

    Customer Service corrected the problem but, as you mentioned, after that long travel day, I really just wanted to be at the hotel as quickly as possible.

  10. This has already been mentioned. But just as another vote for them, MyDriver, Blacklane big competitor, offers equivalent service, features, abd benefits; often at a lower price.

  11. I have had nothing but great experiences with Blacklane. There is a little bit of fleet inconsistency, as Hasse points out. In Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic I have normally gotten E-Class or A6 sedans. In Mexico City, I got a VW Passat. Still a fine car, but not quite on the same caliber.

  12. +1 for Sixt MyDriver – they subcontract to local cab firms so you get a mix of vehicles, I’ve used them a few times and despite booking the cheapest option which indicates a Prius I’ve had an Audi A6 and a Mercedes Executive van show up

  13. I have found most Blacklane drivers I have had are also Uber Black drivers. My last use of it in New Orleans the driver picked me up at the airport and when he dropped me off at my hotel he picked up an Uber Black fare right away

  14. That’s great info. Somehow I missed Tiffany’s post on it.

    To echo another comment, I’m a bit curious as to what you consider “good” public transit. Perhaps I’m jaded by my extreme dislike for taxis, but even most US airports have good connections to the city center on public transit.

    PEK has a fast and easy train that connects to their quite extensive metro system. It was an easy two block walk from the metro to the St Regis. Sure, the Heathrow Express is a total rip-off, but the tube goes right there! Especially with public transit schedules integrated into google maps, it’s pretty easy to figure things out — especially if you don’t have a lot of luggage.

  15. What happens if you have booked a Blacklane pickup and your flight is delayed? Do they monitor arrivals and adjust automatically?

    Also Beijing has a pretty solid airport public transit option 🙂

  16. I’ve used Blacklane successfully overseas for several years. However, two weeks ago I used Blacklane for the first time for a ride from my home to PHL. Shortly before the scheduled pickup I got the usual email with the drivers name and phone number. The driver arrived right on time but he was not the driver named in the email, he had a different phone number also. The car was not the Mercedes E class as promised but a beat up older Cadillac. The driver was fine, the car was a mess. My complaint email to Blacklane remains unanswered.

  17. We know why you love blacklane now after all these months. Enough to warrant a long article with lots of links.

    I use backpage. More fun!

  18. Yup, my airport Uber fell asleep and we crashed into the median, maybe it’s time to try this.

  19. In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

    >> LOL you could mention that it’s a paid article (because if it’s not, you are not good enough in business).

  20. Using Istanbul as an example the pricing is fairly outrageous even with the 20% discount. 53 euros after a discount from IST to the Levent business district when you can easily find a black car service in a similar Mercedes van for 35-40 euros with a little research. I guess if you’re comparing it to the Park Hyatt sure it’ll be cheaper, but spending 5-10 minutes on google ahead of time will save you even more. To each their own.

  21. How strict are they about the baggage allowance? I see 3 people max but 2 bags…If I’m headed to JFK with two others and we each have a suitcase, do I then have to book the van?

  22. Great post and very helpful. I have been anxious about how to get from the airport to my hotel in Shanghai – China Eastern arrives super earler so the fast train isnt an option. Taxi drivers dont speak english so just giving the direction card from the hotel and hoping for the best doesn’t inspire confidence in me. The hotel wants $150 for a pick up! Hopefully this will offer a mid range option. Any advice anyone might have it would be welcome!

  23. @ sb — Admittedly I travel light, but I don’t think that’s a strict limit. Rather I think it’s intended to be general guidance based on the size of the car. I think you should be fine.

  24. @ Evan — I have affiliate links for Blacklane (just as the affiliate marketing company I use has links for thousands of companies), but I otherwise have no relationship with Blacklane, and this isn’t a sponsored post.

  25. @ Rob — That’s unfortunate, thanks for the data point. Haven’t had an experience that warranted follow-up, but sounds like their customer support isn’t as good as Uber’s.

  26. @ Bgriff — Most rides include some amount of free waiting (typically an hour). If you know your flight is delayed you can always reschedule it, since presumably you’d know before departure there will be a delay of some sort. I haven’t been in a situation where I’ve used Blacklane and my flight was so delayed that it fell outside of the hour of free waiting.

  27. Another great point with Blacklane is that if you are traveling with kids you are able to request a carseat. I use Blacklane all the time for airport pickups. It is great!

  28. @ Andy 11235 — I guess I need to give the Beijing airport express a try, I haven’t done so yet. Agree the tube in London is good, but to give a couple of other examples, LA has horrible public transportation to the airport, and I also don’t love having to make two or more transfers to/from JFK.

  29. You can get from PEK to the Park Hyatt on the Airport Express, switch to the subway and walk 5 minutes. I would say that’s a very good public transportation option. It’s not much different than taking the Airport Express from HKG to Kowloon/HK Island, where most people have to connect to the free shuttle or MTR anyway.

  30. Just to mention – I’ve had that same experience at LHR in the past. Spent almost an hour before a driver finally answered the phone and followed through. Ridiculous. Not sure if this is a trend or what, because in the past it’s been seamless for the most part.

    As for Blacklane, the first time I ever used them was leaving a conference in Berlin to head to the airport. They were late, terrible communication, and I ultimately cancel/disputed the charge until I spoke with management. Not the best first impression!

  31. Got me a lovely new S-Class in Vienna using Blacklane. Price wasn’t terrible to the city center either.

  32. I spent decades taking hotel cars, taxis and limos; in recent years I’ve switched to public transport in 99% of cases. I use Uber for some journeys in the USA but use shuttles to/from airports. I would never take Heathrow express again ( so overrated) because the tube is perfectly fine for me ( although I can appreciate why others might not like it). Latin/Central America ,Africa, India I do still use cars though.

  33. It’s great service. I haven’t yet had anything less than a great experience with them, and I’ve used the service all over the place. In Paris they’re even cheaper than a taxi (I think…or maybe like 5-10 more). I would consider it more affordable for families as they offer larger vehicles at good rates. They have someone waiting to help you along as well, which is helpful when you’re not alone. I don’t understand why people get upset when something costs money…

  34. @Jason it says in the rate description that they are not (that tip is already included). I’ve often felt compelled to give them $10-$15 extra though because of the level of service they provide. I’ve also not tipped extra, and never felt like it was expected.

  35. just to mention, useless in Middle East where Careem has now an amazing welcoming service (driver comes with your name in arrival area) at airports in dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Oman where careem is not available best option is otaxi app (cheaper than taxi but … they are taxi).

    My experience with black lane is :
    – Super expensive (always more or less hotel pick up that I much prefer).
    – Cars are more and more often cheap ones (Skoda, Peugeot, even Dacia…)… far from the black car concept.
    – I much prefer local options and uber (careem in Middle East, chauffeur prive in Paris, otaxi in Oman, Grab in Asia, etc).

    Uber in airport is more and more efficient and if not I take a local taxi (for exemple in istanbul it’s the best option from the airport).

  36. Not quite relevant to this post, but I was actually just in Beijing last week and Didi is the way to go for everything except airport pick ups (since it’s impossible to know where you’re supposed to go to meet them). Back in 2014 and early 2015, I used to use Uber in China, but when Didi bought them out, they closed the app. Until recently, Didi didn’t accept US credit cards and was not in English. Now, the app works so well! It allows you to send pre-written messages and responses to drivers about where you are and translates it directly (as well as translates their message to you) so you don’t have to worry about the language barrier. It’s also dirt cheap and in most cases, is cheaper than taxis. Promise I’m not being paid by Didi, but I had to share because it really did make my last trip so much easier!

  37. I am still confused by saying Beijing and London have awful public transit connections. London as an example has three competing rail lines (Heathrow express, TfL Rail (soon the Elizabeth Line) and the Tube. An hour wait for an Uber?

  38. Anyway waste of time to read and comment. The purpose of this post is to receive credit with referral. Pathetic because it’s waste of reading time and poor content.

  39. The car services offered by Blacklane are just not price competitive. For example, W Taipei uses a 7 series BMW for their house car and costs around 100 USD, while Blacklane charges ~$180 before discounts for an equivalent car. St Regis in BKK charges around 100 USD for their house car (Mercedes S Class), which is once again $180 with Blacklane.

    I don’t think booking airport transfers are troublesome since I always use a travel agent and they book it for me. Also, hotel transfers offer a lot of added benefits like better upgrades, in room check-in and in the case of W Taipei, they would check me in at 7am in the morning when my flight arrives.

  40. @ Bgriff — To add onto what Ben said, they do monitor flights. I’ve had it happen a few times, and they’ve waited.

  41. Lol,I was once so stupid that I forgot to use Emirates’ Complimentary Chauffeur Car Service in Dubai (i totally forgot about it) (BMW 7 Series) and instead went for a BlackLane Chauffeur for $97 in a Lexus GS450!

  42. Sorry, BKK transfer with Blacklane is ~$130 with a S Slass equivalent car (so is price competitive with a 20% off discount), but hotel house cars offer a consistent quality (and you have a good place to complain to if it doesn’t), where as Blacklane seems to have bait-and-switched for some of the posters above, and e-mails went unanswered.

  43. just wanted to say horrible example of Beijing as a city with poor public transport…Airport express train runs to the heart of downtown in 20 minutes for $5. And the whole city is within access by great subways (which could admittedly get crowded depending on time of day) after you arrive there.

    On the other hand, almost all major south american cities don’t have any practical public transport from airport to city. Lima, Santiago, Quito, just to name a few. This region might be the best example where Blacklane could have great value add, especially in Lima where the airport is located in a dodgy part of town

  44. In SE Asia you can use GRAB upload the app order a cab and it’s always been there promptly within 5-10 mins of an order being placed, it’s inexpensive and you can pay cash

  45. I have used Blacklane several times and find them to be very reliable and high quality. But now I use Mozio, either through my company’s TMC for business trips or their site for personal trips. They give you a ton of options ranging from ride share to black car. I like seeing several options at once and then deciding what is best for that trip.

  46. I don’t think you have enough Blacklane links in this blog. Blacklane will be really disappointed in your promotional abilities.

  47. My experience with Blacklane is positive in terms of the quality of their service. However, they charge a significant markup compared the transfers booked locally. In some cases up to 300 percent … That’s why I usually stop using them once I familiarize myself with the local providers.

    A very good alternative is also Suntransfers.com, which are more reasonably priced. Their website has the same functionality, but the cars tend to be japanese/korean made (but also of decent size and with the expected features such as airconditioning). The brand name is perhaps not the best choice, as it makes people think they are for leisure only (i.e. driving you to the beach/sun). However, their service is perfectly business like.

  48. Beijing Airport Express to downtown city center in 25 minutes for $4, no traffic problems. At the last stop Dongzhimen switch to Line 2 subway to Guomao station. 10 minute ride costs 50 cents. At Guomao there is an exit that is right under the Park Hyatt hotel.

    If you travel light there is no reason to take a car into Beijing, the traffic can be horrendous.

  49. There’s another similar service called MyDriver (www.mydriver.com), which is operated by Sixt. Really like it!

  50. Hi Lucky, you are welcome to tie up with whichever service provider you see fit. My only concern is that you have not made it clear that you have an affiliate marketing tie up with them (unless I missed it).
    Please put a marker of some sort saying “affiliate post” or “part sponsored content” as your disclaimer at the start of each article only refers to credit cards

  51. I used Blacklane for the first time in Krakow this month for a return to and from the airport. Yes it’s a city with great public transport but our hotel was the opposite side of the city and I didn’t want to ride trams and trains with luggage.
    Great service, great notifications including when your car arrived and who the driver was. Couldn’t fault it and would definitely use them again.

  52. I used blacklane for LHR to the Andaz, and it was horrible. The driver had an older car, was a horrible driver, and then blacklane added charges for parking in LHR even though they weren’t in the original quote, and they are supposedly MANDATORY since the drivers park to pick you up. Needless to say my expected bill was much higher than expected, and in the end I would have rather walked. Customer service was rude and curt.

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