Tuesday 29 October 2013

Dubai's new Al Maktoum Airport is open for business (DWC)

Get a window seat: you may get this view when landing at
Dubai's new Al Maktoum Airport

Dubai's newest airport opened on October 26, 2013. Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC), as it is officially named, welcomed its first passengers, arriving on a Wizz Air flight from Budapest.

You might be asking yourself, "Doesn't Dubai already have one of the busiest airports in the world? And isn't it undergoing expansion right now?"

Yes, indeed. Dubai International Airport (DXB) served 57,684,550 passengers in 2012, making it the 10th busiest airport in the world, and, yes, it is undergoing major expansion. But that's still not enough to meet the demands of Dubai's growth, and its vision for the future. They are talking about Al Maktoum Airport becoming the largest in the world, serving 200 million passengers (!).

Dubai World Central is an immense development centralizing aviation, cargo, logistics, conference and residential facilities in the heart of the Middle East. It is said that the airport alone may eventually serve 160-200 million passengers (for perspective, the world's busiest airport, Atlanta, served 95 million last year). It's an ambitious plan, but that's Dubai's middle name.

For an introduction to Dubai Al Maktoum Airport, from it's initial flights to lofty goals for the future, check out this story from Innovation Village, or watch this opening day news report from Phil Buzzard of BreakingTravelNews.

Getting to/from Al Maktoum Airport

Of course, our interest is in the ground transportation, so that we can share the most complete information available on how to get to and from this new airport.

Ibn Battuta Metro Station
There is no direct metro connection... yet, but bus F55 will
take you from DWC to Ibn Battuta station.
While it will eventually be superbly connected to the city of Dubai by metro, and Dubai International Airport (DXB) by light rail, for now travellers flying to Al Maktoum Airport have to be patient.

Here are your ground transportation options:
This is all based on our best knowledge so far. We are continuing to scour resources from additional details as they become available. If you are familiar with the airport, or will be traveling to DWC in the near future, we welcome any additional information you can share. Input from travelers is always appreciated!

Fancy ceiling above Starbuck's at Ibn Battuta mall
If you take the F55 bus to Ibn Battuta Metro Station, and decide to pause
for a coffee before boarding the Metro, check out the ceiling
above the Starbucks at Ibn Battuta Mall.
Speaking of the Dubai Metro...

Dubai Metro
Dubai metro platform
And, finally we couldn't resist... because we know you may go shopping at Dubai Mall:

Dubai Mall
Your really can buy anything at the Dubai Mall!
Related reading:

Sunday 27 October 2013

New taxi scam at Sydney Airport (SYD)

Taxi Number Two Of New South Wales, Australia
Taxi in New South Wales

A new scam emerged in Sydney earlier this month. You could be prone to it if you take a taxi from Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport (SYD).

In this scam, the taxi driver says his electronic payment system is not working.

This is actually a very common scam around the world, but in this variation, the driver says he can process your charge on a manual machine. If you agree, what happens next is that your credit card number is fraudulently re-sold.

If you encounter this scam, we advise that you say no to the manual machine, and pay cash.

Sydney Internaltion Airport - taxi stand
Taxi line-up at Sydney Airport

If you've gone ahead and used the manual credit card machine, check your credit card statements. There are more details in the original article, Taxi credit card payment scam emerges in NSW.

Avoid the risk and arrive stress free: book a private car transfer from Sydney Airport from IHateTaxis.

Related reading:

Monday 7 October 2013

Avoiding taxi scams at Costa Rica's airports (SJO, SYQ)

Backseat in San Jose, CR Taxi
"The taxi driver did not speak any English. He did recognize the name of the hotel and was able to get us back.
I took this picture from the backseat of his taxi as we zipped through the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica.
I thought the little Santas and the small shoe were interesting, as was the reflection
that I got of the front seat passenger and the driver."
randysonofrobert on Flickr

It's kind of important to have a taxi driver who speaks English, don't you think? For anyone who has been in the back seat of a cab with a driver who doesn't speak the same language, that would be an understatement. This is especially important if you are travelling to anything other than the most well known hotels.

So it might seem like a relief when, upon your arrival in Costa Rica, your San Jose airport taxi driver greets you with "Hello". It would be natural to think how great it is that you found an English speaking driver.

But that may not be the case.

In September 2013, an investigation revealed that hundreds of Costa Rican taxi drivers had fraudulently obtained their English diploma, which is mandatory to obtain an airport taxi license. The scam involved language-school workers selling fake English diplomas to drivers who had not attended a single class.

Dealing with the Fake English Diploma Scam: We suggest that some small talk as you greet your driver, and your bags are stowed, may reveal if your driver had adequate English to understand your directions.

Taxi Driver - Costa Rica - San Jose
Try conversing with your Costa Rican taxi driver before you get in the cab!

Costa Rica's capital city of San José is served by two airports. San José Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), handles most international flights, whereas San José Tobias Bolaños International Airport (SYQ) handles general aviation, private aircraft, charters, domestic flights and international flights to nearby Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica's 2nd busiest airport is Liberia Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR).

Related content from IHateTaxis:

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Avoiding taxi scams at Rome's airports (CIA, FCO)

Colosseum Taxis
Rome is notorious for taxi scams...
The tricky thing about the taxi scams at Rome's airports is that they are carried out by the official taxis. It's baffling and practically impossible to avoid, unless you avoid airport taxis entirely.

We tell you how to avoid the taxi scams on the taxi pages in both our Rome airport guides:

That's why we're so impressed with Amanda Ruggeri's recent blog post about the problem, as she lives in Rome, is not easily fooled and isn't afraid to challenge the status quo. In Don't Take a Taxi at Rome's Ciampino Airport. Here's Why, Amanda pulls back the covers and reveals how the scam works (she even explains what the Aurelian Walls are!):

The good news is that there are alternatives - here's what we recommend  from each airport:
... and be glad that transportation in ancient Rome has evolved since the days of the chariot.

Related reading: