DISCLAIMER: This is part of a gifted collaboration with National Express. All views are my own
Airport transfers can make or break your trip. If you’re transfer is delayed or cancelled you could potentially miss a flight. The friendliness of airport transfer staff sets the tone for your trip. This is due to the staff being the first bit of exposure you have to the country or city you’re visiting.
For the bulk of my travels and best part of 2/3 years, National Express has been my go to coach service to take me to airports and train stations. I’ve had the privilege of not having to consider others.
For my trip to Vienna; I thought it would be worthwhile to give my say on my experience with National Express. Perhaps give a few tips here or there for making coach travels with the company that bit easier and more enjoyable.
My review will be broken down into the positives and areas that be could be improved upon to make the coach experience better.
Image Credit: Flickr
First of all I’ll start with the most important positive of them all; I made it to Stansted Airport in time for my flight to Austria. In fact I arrived at Stansted before my scheduled time. I had fears about missing my flight (as you always do) cos I’ve had to wake up very early in the morning but thankfully National Express did their bit to ease my fears.
My second positive was me having a lot of legroom where I was sitting. Which was right next to the toilet (or the John I should say – see what I did there). Literally like a bodyguard. Anyone wanting to use the toilet had to come through me. The seats are comfortable to be in also, being made of leather and with plenty of neck space also. Big enough to fit my travel pillow in.
Small tip: Grab one of the two back passenger seats on the left hand side of the coaches when boarding the coach. They tend to be the seats with the most space to relax.
What impressed and surprised me most is that the journeys are just as quick as the Stansted Express train journeys, if not quicker, and cheaper too. On average a train journey from Stratford to Stansted (because I’m from Stratford) takes an hour and that includes a change at Tottenham Hale station midway. Whilst a National Express coach journey takes 50 mins without any stops or changes, which makes things smoother and customer-friendly.
A single ticket from Stratford to Stansted via Stansted Express is around £19 in comparison to the £10-£12 you’d have to pay for a one-way coach journey to Stansted with National and Express. Factoring in both time and cost of journey, I know which one I’m picking 😛
This is not mentioning the fact I have a Young Persons Coachcard, which gives me 33% off standard fares and more often than not knocking £1/£2 off tickets.
I didn’t have much interaction with staff to properly gauge their quality of customer service but I’m happy to say I had no issue boarding the coach and departing it at the end of the journey.
Another plus is the availability of USB ports on the back of seats for people to charge their devices. So there’s literally no excuse for anyone’s to have low battery – especially if you’re rolling with an iPhone.
Areas for improvement
As with a lot of things in life perfection isnt possible. Now it’s time to nitpick about everything that could’ve been better.
The first nitpick is the coach WiFi. This is not the first time that connection has been non existent and I’ve had to resort to 4G when streaming something on Netflix or Spotify. Even though there’s good enough reception on the road.
There was little-to-none lighting till the end. I mean with the times in which I normally go on the coach I guess it makes sense as people often need rest early in the morning or late at night. Although in terms of giving the coach an ambience or atmosphere it doesn’t help.
When returning home, there was a bit of a wait due to delays of a coach arriving at deck but no one let us know that the coach was being delayed. Again this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this actually.
It would be even more reassuring if there was more communication on delays and cancellations of coach journeys beforehand. For example giving updates through its live info board or a member of staff telling us over a tannoy. Regular announcements could also be made over the tannoy to let us know how far we are from our destination.
Small details like this go a long way towards making customers feel more at ease and if anything it is actually good customer service.
The important thing for me is that I arrive at my destination in one piece and neither my safety nor my travels is put in jeopardy. The journeys are comfortable, cost-friendly and quick and reliable for the most part.
There could be more communication from staff on any disruptions to journeys however. In addition perhaps consider giving the coach more of an atmosphere (e.g. playing music, neon lighting etc.)
Have you travelled with National Express? What kind of airport transfer do you normally use to get to and from the airport? Leave your thoughts in thr comments below. If you’re new
Thanks to National Express for hooking me up with complimentary return travel for my recent trip.
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To each and every one of my readers have a very Merry Christmas or happy Holidays 😁 🎄🎁
Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures