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Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

Ohio, USA
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Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

I posted this originally in the Alexandria, VA, forum and it was suggested that I post it here as well. So for your reading enjoyment....

Recently I had a business trip to Alexandria, VA. Typically I just fly in/out of Regan National and either get a hotel shuttle (when available), use the metro or grab a cab (if tight on time). However, this year the airfare into Regan National was just ridiculously expensive and since I avoid Dulles like the plague, I looked at BWI as an option. Sure enough I found a very reasonable rate for a direct flight from Cleveland to BWI. Now, how do I get from BWI to my hotel in Alexandria?

Well, I did some searching on the web and also searched a few of the TA forums. There are a lot of options. I read something about a train to Union Station then the metro to Alexandria followed by a short walk to my hotel…there might have been a bus in there as well. But the discussion of that option also included the comment “I would not want to do this with a lot of luggage” so I kept looking. In the end, I opted for a shared ride service, the Super Shuttle, and that worked out very well for my situation. The major reason that the shared ride worked for me was that I was not in a rush either getting to Alexandria (as I was arriving on Monday in the early evening and my meetings did not start until Tuesday morning) or getting back to BWI (since I changed base following the conclusion of my meetings and spent the night at a hotel next to BWI and caught an early morning flight home on Friday).

A few notes:

As mentioned, the carrier was Super Shuttle (the blue vans with the yellow lettering). However, I booked the trip from BWI to Alexandria through DC Tours (that’s who came up with the best price on the web search). Cost for the inbound trip was $38. The return trip I booked directly with Super Shuttle and that price was $47. So I reckon you can save a little money by booking through DC tours.

On the way from BWI to Alexandria (I was staying at the Westin Alexandria), there were three other passengers, each going to different destinations, and I was at the last stop (which I expected). The drive time was about 90 minutes and I guess the total time from the point where I checked in with the Super Shuttle to arrival at the hotel was a little less than 2 hours. Again, I was prepared for this amount of time and I was not under any schedule pressure, so it was not an issue.

As mentioned, I was moving to a hotel next to BWI for the final night (Four Points by Sheraton). The interesting thing was that the Super Shuttle reservation person said that I could not do the shared ride as a “point-to-point”, and that the end point had to be BWI. OK, minor inconvenience, but I knew that I could just jump off at BWO and take the hotel shuttle back to the Sheraton. But that worked out well since the driver said he would just drop me at the Four Points after he stopped at BWI. There was only one other passenger on the return trip and she was already on the bus when I got on. The return travel time was about an hour, although the bus was nearly an hour late for my pick-up. Again, not an issue for me as I was not on a tight schedule.

Overall, I think the shared ride shuttle provided by Super Shuttle worked well, was fairly cost effective and basically hassle free. It worked well for me as I was on a very relaxed and loose schedule. If you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry, it probably would not be a good option. Plus the combined air and ground transportation costs of flying into BWI were well less than half the cost of going through Regan National. I’ll still consider National as the entry point of choice when traveling to the area, but now I know that I have a very viable alternative in using BWI and Super Shuttle.

Here's the link to the DC tours website with the info on the ride from BWI to Alexandria:

www.dctours.us/…

And the direct link to Super Shuttle:

http://www.supershuttle.com/

Safe travels, y'all!

Edited: 5:06 pm, May 11, 2013
Washington, DC
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1. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

Glad you had a good experience. Others have had reliability issues on home pickups. My biggest issue from the airport is waiting for the shuttle to fill up and then it seems where I live is always the last stop. I also had an issue with a pickup to Dulles for a flight to a connection for an international flight. I had to be in Newark and SuperShuttle cut it a little too close for my comfort of getting to Dulles so I could get through checking bags and security. People have very different experiences with Super Shuttle.

Ohio, USA
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2. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

Good points, lam91897. As I mentioned, I would not use Super Shuttle for a tight schedule, but if you have a relaxed schedule, then they seem like a viable option. Certainly individual experiences will vary. So far I just have this one trip to draw from in using Super Shuttle in the DC area and it was a positive expereince. I have used SS on trips to other areas with similar results.

Maryland
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3. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

I'm glad you were able to make your flight on time. Unfortunately the whole "the bus was almost an hour late for my return trip" thing seems to be fairly common with Super Shuttle and that's why most of my friends and family won't consider using them for going TO the airport and only use them "maybe" to get FROM the airport.

Fairfax County...
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4. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

I think the experience was positive for you because you have the most flexible schedule and care free attitude that most travelers do not have. Glad it worked for you. I also like to stay at an airport hotel if I have an early flight the next morning, that takes the possibility of traffic delays out of the equation.

If I have to go the airport and the shuttle is late an hour, I think I will be upset and anxious. Nowadays, the airlines are very unforgiving if you missed a flight. Other than Southwest, you pretty much have to buy another last minute air ticket. Not to mention that whole hour will not be enjoyable, because you would not know whether that shuttle will show up at all, nor when.

Ohio, USA
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5. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

Regarding the shuttle being late, I recieved two calls saying that they were running late, the first from the driver at about 6:30 PM (the scheduled pick-up was at 6:30) then a short while later from a dispatcher. So they were at least trying to keep me in the loop. Since I was on a flexible and relaxed schedule, there was no issue. I agree that the Super Shuttle would not be a good choice for someone on a strict timetable, but for my schedule it did work out great.

washington dc
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6. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

SS is always hit or miss. I've had them show up 40 min. EARLY and say you have to go now or not at all! I've had them miss my address, requiring a drive around a congested block, and they canceled because it would mess up their schedule. I've had guests dragged for 2 hours all over Virginia coming from Dulles. I would agree with OP that as long as your timing doesn't matter it can be a good option for a solo traveler.

7. Re: Ground transportation from BWI to Alexandria and back; a rev

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