When I worked for SuperShuttle in the late nineties, I accidentally left a customer’s luggage on the curb.  It was raining, I was tired, and the customer didn’t bring the luggage up to the van.  I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do to ameliorate the situation.  Fortunately, when I got back to the airport, the bag was sitting in the same place where I had left it.

Back in the day, nobody cared.  Al Queda was the name of a German guy who lived in my apartment building and the airport cops were a bunch of Police Academy rejects.

Since then, I’ve been anal retentive about airport runs.  Doing transfers isn’t about dazzling the client, it’s about being consistent.  A client on his way to the airport wants to arrive on time.  A client coming from the airport wants to get home quickly.   If you make these things happen, the client will be satisfied.

Since an airport run is a relatively simple operation, the key is to avoid stupid mistakes.  Here are a few tips for making the customer happy and avoiding catastrophe.

Get the right updates – Don’t rely on the dot com world for flight updates.  The only accurate updates come directly from the airlines.  It’s best to call early and often to track your flight.

Arrive early – Airports are unpredictable places.  During busy evenings at LAX, it can take 45 minutes to get from the holding lot to the terminal.  Security alerts are another concern.  You can be the best chauffeur in the world, but if you’re MIA when the client arrives in baggage claim, you’re toast.  The client will never forgive you.

Bring everything into the terminal – “Everything” means the run sheet and your cell phone.  If the client is a “no-show,” you’ll need to start making calls and confirm the trip details.  Never take the chance of missing a client by going back to the car.

Grab a luggage cart – Clients always appreciate the gesture.  If you’re picking up a large party grab two.

Print the sign neatly – This is always an indicator of a great chauffeur.  It’s a small detail, but the sign is the first thing the client sees.  In addition, always print the first initial.  You’d be surprised at how many “Wongs” are in the world.

Correctly read the client – This is the most important thing a chauffeur can do.  Is the client young or old, are they a man or woman, are they a New Yorker or Angelino, are theya hippie or conservative?  It all matters.  How you respond to a client in the first 10 seconds of a run can determine the outcome of an entire trip.  Always remember that “confidence” is the name of the game.

Take control in baggage claim – Nobody understands baggage claim better than an experienced chauffeur.  Direct the client to the location where the bag drops on the carousel instead of letting the bag roll around.  If it looks like a flight is missing its luggage, direct the client to the baggage office before the line gets impossibly long.

Confirm trip details – Never rely on a reservationist for accurate information.  When the client gets in the car, turn around, make eye contact, and confirm the trip details.

Turn off the GPS – GPS is for losers.  It tells the client you don’t know what you’re doing.  A big part of any run is to instill confidence and sell yourself.  If you need GPS, you shouldn’t be a chauffeur.

Tell the client the route – Tell the client the route and then ask if it’s alright.  It’s important to take an alpha position in the car.  If the client wants to take a different route, do it without question.  If you get stuck in traffic, it becomes their problem.

Offer amenities – Some clients need to be offered the water and candies.  Without the offer, they won’t touch a thing.

Give out your business card – At the end of a run, thank the client and give them your business card.  Requests are the lifeblood of a chauffeur.  A lot of clients will put in a request if you simply tell them.


If you’re new to this whole thing, it’s important to remember that a lot of clients just want you to shut up and drive.  It’s nothing personal.  Passengers are nervous on the way to the airport and tired on the way back.   Flying is a stressful experience that brings out the worst in people. The secret to great airport limousine service is to be prepared and anticipate the client’s needs.  Most people simply want to get from point A to point B in a safe and timely manner.  If you fulfill this need and follow the above tips, your job will be easier and your career will flourish.