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There is no Uber in Barcelona! Imagine our horror when we learned this. But how will we get around?! The thought of reverting to sketchy, icky taxis was giving me anxiety. Public transit is great in Europe, but not when you have big bags. And Super Shuttle? Ugh you just don’t want an unpredictable rideshare situation after you’ve just landed from a 9 hour flight. But I found a modern, easy, and affordable solution that you should know about if you’re traveling to cities in Europe!
I actually found out about Welcome Pickups through my hotel, which sent me an email beckoning me to book a ride with Welcome Pickups from the airport. The awkward part was that the price in the Welcome Pickups email (40 Euros) was 25 Euros lower than the price the hotel had quoted me by email when I asked if they could arrange a ride for me (65 Euros). More awkward still, I went directly to the Welcome Pickups website and found that I could book the trip for 35 Euros. I made sure to let the hotel know about my little win there. :)
35 Euros seemed to be the going rate for a ride into the city from the airport if you take a regular cab. I verified this by reading various forums. So it seemed like a great deal: a personal driver who would be there with a sign when we landed? Sounds perfect. If it goes smoothly…..
First Impressions of Welcome Pickups
Welcome Pickups has a very nice website and a sleek easy-to-use interface. It might remind you of Shopify or Priceline. It’s dynamic – no stinky submit a quote nonsense (the price will change depending on the day and time you’re indicate you’re trying to book) and it will recognize your flight information. You’ll pay on the site for your ride in full and in advance. The site says that the fare covers the ride, tax, fees, and tip, so it’s great that there are no surprises. Furthermore, you might not have cash in the local currency to tip your driver, so that removes an added worry.
The Welcome Pickups Process
Welcome Pickups doesn’t assign you to a driver right away if you book well in advance, as we did. But sure enough, 2 days before our flight, we got an email with information about our driver including his name and picture.
This definitely gave me a feeling of ease as we prepared for our trip. One line that gave me some pause and was repeated over and over on the site was that they offer one hour of waiting time only. After that, the driver might leave or charge you waiting fees.
Don't be late!
From your plane and customs line! That you can't control....
Here’s the exact language that they highlighted in orange in our confirmation email:
When we landed, the immigration line was super fast and we were out of the plane and with our driver within 10 minutes. However, I’ve definitely been in immigration lines that took more than an hour. We also didn’t have any baggage to wait for. It still gave me anxiety leading up to the flight that our driver might leave without us or try to reach us (via a phone that was in airplane mode). Most European airports have free wifi so there is some solace in that – you can email your Welcome Pickups driver via an email address they provide. There are definitely some disgruntled customers who have taken issue with Welcome Pickups online about this policy. According to their blogs and posts, Welcome Pickups was very hard to deal with after the delayed / nonexistent pickup and refused a refund. Here’s a grumpy guy on Trip Advisor who did not have a good experience:
I’m confident that my credit card company would give me a refund if I didn’t receive a service I paid for, but not everyone has a great credit card or they may have even paid by debit card. I think my only critique of Welcome Pickups is that this seems a bit harsh and perhaps there is a better way of dealing with these unfortunate incidents. Also take this with a grain of salt – Welcome Pickups online reputation is VERY positive. Their overall Trip Advisor rating is 5 stars and they have over 2500 reviews, most of which are totally glowing:
Welcome Pickups Driver
Our driver, Andre, was right there with an iPad with our name as soon as we walked through customs. He greeted us, offered to take our bags, and walked us outside to a sleek Mercedes Sprinter. It was clean and luxurious inside, with leather seats. He offered us a “welcome gift” which was a nice map of Barcelona and a burlap bag, a sweet gesture. And then we were off!
The Welcome Pickups Ride
The ride was pleasant and quick. We arrived at our hotel without any issues!
The price of this ride seemed comparable to the price of a metered taxi from the airport, according to forums and blogs I read. I did, however, try to book a Welcome Pickup ride for our trip to the train station and later to the airport. Both of these rides seemed very expensive on Welcome Pickups. The ride to the train was quoted on the Welcome Pickups site as 45 Euros. We took a taxi. It cost 18 Euros. The ride to the airport was quoted as 45 Euros. We took a taxi and it cost 35 Euros. So Welcome Pickups is not always the cheapest or even comparable option and it is worth shopping around. In Barcelona in particular, cabs are plentiful and you may be better off taking one.
Welcome Pickups is a modern, reliable option for your European transfers and airport rides. We really enjoyed the experience using them and would recommend them as a great option for your travels. We definitely think things could go wrong if your immigration + baggage claim process takes more than an hour and we hope Welcome Pickups can figure out a way to make that policy work for everyone involved. Finally, they are not always the cheapest, but when they are comparably priced, they are a great and reliable way to get where you need to go in Europe.
If You're Ready to Book.....
To book your transfer with Welcome Pickups, their website is here.
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