Hotel shuttle
Photograph ©2023 by Brian Cohen.

24 Hour Airport Shuttle Ends Daily in the Afternoon at This Hotel?

The shuttle shuffle is not fun.

The 2023 Freddie Awards occurred on Thursday, April 27, 2023 at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian in Chantilly in Virginia near Washington Dulles International Airport; so I thought I would stay at a hotel property nearby which advertises complimentary shuttle service — only to find out that the 24 hour airport shuttle ends daily in the afternoon at this hotel property.

24 Hour Airport Shuttle Ends Daily in the Afternoon at This Hotel?

Not needing to rent a vehicle while I attended the 2023 Freddie Awards, I arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport prior to 10:30 in the evening and called the hotel property in question about where at the airport may I catch the shuttle.

“The shuttle is not operating,” the man who answered the telephone told me.

“So how do I get to your hotel property?” I asked.

“Take a cab or ride-share” was his reply.

So much for the complimentary shuttle service.

I went to the Washington Flyer taxi stand — yes, the same Washington Flyer which used to operate a bus called the Dulles International Airport Silver Line Express between the Wiehle-Reston East station at what was then the end of the line to the airport for five dollars — and I asked a taxi driver how much the 15-minute ride of almost eleven miles would cost.

“About $30.00 or $40.00” was his waffled and indefinite response. Forget that. I instead paid almost $24.00 for a ride with Uber. While waiting for the car to arrive, the shuttle buses from at least six other hotel properties — two of them near where I was staying — arrived and passed by.

I arrived at the hotel property, where I was warmly greeted by the young woman behind the front desk.

“How are you?” she asked after welcoming me to the hotel property.

“Not so great,” I replied. “I just paid almost $24.00 for your complimentary shuttle service.”

A puzzled look came across her face. I explained to her that this hotel property was supposed to offer complimentary shuttle service from the airport.

That was when she informed me that their driver was not there; and that the shuttle service ends at 2:00 in the afternoon on a daily basis.

“That is not what is advertised about this hotel property,” I said. I told her about my telephone call earlier that night.

“He should have told you that we would pay for the taxi,” she replied.

“That is not what he said,” I told her.

She said that I will be reimbursed for the ride. This was reiterated by the manager, with whom I spoke in person the next day. He said that the complimentary shuttle service actually ends at approximately 6:00 in the evening on a daily basis because only one shuttle driver is available from 6:00 in the morning.

“I have a flight which departs at 7:13 in the morning,” I said. “I will need to leave here before 6:00 in the morning.”

“We will arrange for a ride for you,” the manager replied.

Final Boarding Call

Modifying information on the official Internet web site of a hotel or resort property should be easy enough. If complimentary shuttle service between the hotel property and an international airport is offered but not for 24 hours each day, then at least list the times when the shuttle service is active so that the consumer can be better informed as to deciding at which hotel property to stay.

Interestingly, a letter was included with the welcome packet that was given to me when I checked in — and included in the information was that the complimentary shuttle service operated 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

It does not.

Although amends and compensation was given to me, I still have not been reimbursed for that ride to get from the airport. I am not yet naming the hotel property in question until this has first been resolved…

…but the lesson these days is to call the hotel or resort property first and find out what are the actual hours during which the complimentary shuttle service operates, as that information could potentially save a lot of time, money, and convenience — especially if competing hotel and resort properties offer a complimentary shuttle service that operates for a longer period of time during the day and provides more frequent service.

Shuttles between a hotel or resort property and an airport are supposed to provide convenience while simultaneously saving money for the guest — not the other way around.

Photograph ©2023 by Brian Cohen.

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