‘Sure Klaus, we pick you up and drop you off 24/7 so if your flight departs at 0445 hours no problem at all’ – that was the reassuring charming voice at the other end of the telephone line with me inquiring about options for a transfer service from the family place to Izmir’s Adnan Menderes Airport.
And yes indeed: in case you were wondering my family and friends are taking to the skies and roads again. That includes amongst others my mother-in-law, our daughter’s best friend, or as in this story told my wife and very soon me, too. All this in the context of with what before a certain pandemic struck had been my rather regular triangular trip linking home in Turkey with Istanbul (usually more direct flights) and thereafter connecting to London, mostly Gatwick or Stanstead hubs, respectively,as it were.
It is not because we did not want to fly or were afraid of being airborne between April and July but there were simply not enough available routes; those carriers that were up and running at times charged exorbitant fees, European destinations at times requiring to break the bank with well over 6000 TL per ticket. Alternatively and refraining from commenting about politics the route via Belarus was for quite a pro-longed period the only way of getting in and out of Turkey in case the United Kingdom was your destination or place of origin (not forgetting about Qatar as an alternative but even more expensive…). Certainly we will all fondly remember the almost daily and most helpful travel alerts courtesy of our British Embassy before everything collapsed. What’s more, spending a further fortnight in quarantine or even only facing the hypothetical prospect of doing so after an extended nationwide lockdown was a non-starter anyways. Anxiously waiting for travel corridors was what we did and as Turkey is a role model nation in so many aspects no surprise then that more and more flight paths became bookable again.
Which brings me to the overarching issue of this piece: once wheels down how to hit home figuratively speaking? Here is what is at stake: use public transport all the way, opt for a mix of public and private modes of journeying, or decide to go entirely private.
Over the course of the past decade or so this subject popped up on a regular basis in these pages but what really prompted me to write about it anew is a combination of the restricted travels options situation, for sure the monetary dimension and all of the above paired with the practicality plus hygiene aspects.
Now I let you in on a secret: my wife recently had to manage to board with well beyond the 30 kilograms allowance which luckily has become standard on international routes as far as a leading local flag carrier is concerned my family is rather fond of booking with but as we ‘transported’ goods and belongings to and from the wider family after such a long hiatus extra luggage was the order of the day. Yet in the end, an initially somewhat higher price plus paying for add-on baggage and once factoring in all desired extras – good seat, good meal, nice beverages– made perfect family budgetary sense turning out cheaper than so-called budget airlines’ competing offers. However, all this made logistics somewhat more delicate: how to navigate an airport after having been dropped off in front of it, hands full with more than your average staple diet of baggage lifting it onto the X-Ray conveyor belt? And before even contemplating that maneuver, how on earth to ever get those chunks of luggage from our fixed abode to the airport doors?
Let me discuss three traveler’s stories with you and they are valid for either Mugla International Airport or Adnan Menderes Airport with travels completed during September of this year.
First, airport to resort – no luggage or only hand-luggage plus ‘trendy suitcase on wheels’… out of experience, when traveling light, take it easy as in affordable, too. After exiting the airport get a local (shuttle) bus to the main overland coach station, and then a connecting service to our town. Services are offered whilst not as frequent as before with an ever increasing number and are very affordable. Once at the other end hop on another usually free shuttle and they shall deposit you pretty near your intended last stop. You may very well buy tickets online including reserving your preferred seat; almost all coaches are now 2+1 and very comfortable.
Second, airport to resort – mid-sized luggage, perhaps more than one passenger… in this case you may want to embark on your initial leg of the onward journey by yellow cab allowing to being deposited almost next to the departing overland coach at the main bus station (same as above no matter Bodrum or Izmir). The driver would normally help you with loading and unloading your luggage but please be warned that many local yellow cabs have very limited room for heavy luggage; as mentioned earlier a good solution for not too much, not too little luggage. And then we would use a yellow cab at the other end, too.
Third, airport to resort – full 30 kilograms allowance at least multiplied by two passengers and perhaps even arriving or departing in the middle of the night… in this latter case scenario there is only one convenient choice – go for a private transfer company often arriving in the form of a people carrier not a small vehicle picking you up right from behind exiting the customs barriers at the airport. Some companies expect you to carry your luggage; others might wait inside with a personalized board featuring your name and help you with the heavy loads. You can opt for a shared shuttle or a completely private transfer if you are alone or with partner and/or family. Certainly costs are more advantageous once sharing.
Of course there is a cost factor – a shared shuttle door to door is just about 25 % of an individual private transfer with prices correct September 2020 regardless of paying in TL, Euros or Sterling. Then there is the time factor attached, too – a non-stop trip to the departure hall is of course the fastest option and even more so should you come over for a short period of time only.
Besides, you can come and go as you please and no need to stick to perhaps complicated timetables trying to match a midnight flight with the last public overland coach out.
My verdict: the choice is ours, and we should thank all our tour, car, cab and shuttle operators to help us getting safely and timely from A to B, and that includes each and every one of our local minibus, coach or public bus operators, too.,, ever more so in difficult times.