Newest Review: ... card, was given a preliminary booking reference and awaited final confirmation to drop into my inbox. As German Transfer are a brokerage ... more
Member Name: collingwood21
Advantages: Punctual service, Polite and helpful drivers, Online booking in English and German
Disadvantages: Took 24 hours to inform me there was a problem with my initial booking; Can only pay by credit card
It is not often that you book an airport transfer with a company that proudly announces it has saved over 8.8 million kg of CO² since it was founded. But then German Transfer isn't your usual sort of airport transfer company. They claim to be the leading "transfer brokers" in Germany, and as a brokerage this makes them a little bit different to other airport transfer services I have used in the past. Rather than simply booking your journey to one of their own cars, they instead use one of their contractors to provide the service for you. What is so special about this? Well, it allows them to "optimise utilisation of transfer journeys, resulting in fewer cars on the road". In other words, if your transfer booking can be combined with someone else's booking, it will be. This means that they can run a more efficient, greener service. How very Germanic.
I found out about German Transfer when I was browsing the Berlin Airport website, looking for information about how to travel to my hotel once I had arrived in the city. Public transport connections looked to be good, but my hotel was some distance away and my flight arrived rather late in the evening, so I decided the best way to go would be to book a transfer to and from my hotel. The airport's recommended partner was German Transfer. At first I thought that this might make my transfer more expensive, but after requesting a quote from the company through their website and shopping around a bit online, I found they were actually quite competitively priced and decided to go ahead with my booking.
=== Booking experience ===
German Transfer helpfully provides two versions of their website - one in German and one in English. Booking is a straightforward process, and just required me to select the airport I was using and give the postcode of my hotel to provide instant quotes. Should you wish to go ahead with your booking, you will also be asked to provide the times of your flights and how soon before departure you would like to be dropped at the airport. All very easy; I paid by credit card, was given a preliminary booking reference and awaited final confirmation to drop into my inbox. As German Transfer are a brokerage rather than a regular taxi company, the confirmation takes about 24 hours to reach you and has to be made at least 3 days before you want the transfer to happen. My first booking was rejected because of some problem with my credit card, and unfortunately I wasn't informed of this until the next day when I was emailed to say my preliminary booking was cancelled. This left me with a bit of a scramble to rebook my transfer before the 3 day deadline - it fortunately went through without any problems the second time, and I was emailed a set of confirmation papers providing the detail of each journey the following day. I still have no idea why my first payment was rejected, but on the basis of my experience I would advise fellow travellers to book as far in advance as they can in case this problem arises.
I paid Euro58.80 for a transfer between Berlin Schoenefeld airport and my hotel near Potsdamer Platz in the centre of the city and back again; this was a journey of about 25 minutes each way, and includes the booking fee for credit card purchases. At the time of purchase this worked out at around £51. I should add that the only payment option I was offered was via credit card, so the booking fee was unavoidable - likewise the fee my credit card company cheerfully added on for converting my purchase from Euros to sterling. Something to bear in mind if you plan on booking this company from outside the Eurozone!
=== Transfer experience ===
I arrived in Berlin late on a Thursday evening, and was very pleased to see someone in the arrivals hall holding a card with my name on it. Our driver politely welcomed us to Berlin and helped carry our luggage to a spotlessly clean minibus waiting outside. I had expected to share the journey with other travellers arriving on my flight, but we ended up having the vehicle to ourselves, which meant we got a quick, comfortable and direct journey to our hotel.
The return journey to the airport did worry me somewhat, however. I wasn't given a collection time on the paperwork, just a note that I would be contacted the evening before collection to confirm when I was going to be picked up. I had told German transfer that I would like to be at the airport about 2 hours before departure (not that I don't trust Easyjet or anything), but as my flight was mid-afternoon I wanted to fit in a last bit of sightseeing in the morning and was therefore anxious to know how much time I would have. As it happened, I needn't have worried. When I returned to my hotel for my last night, I found a message waiting for me in my room from reception - German transfer had called and confirmed collection at 1pm the following day. Excellent; now I could relax knowing I had all morning to do what I wanted. The second transfer arrived punctually, and was polite and friendly at the first driver. Once again there were no other passengers to share the trip with, so we had a nice quiet ride back to the airport with the minibus to ourselves, arriving just after check-in had opened.
=== Conclusion ===
Whether or not you are bothered about the amount of CO² your airport transfer company expends, German transfer are an excellent choice if you needing taking to or from airports (or train stations for that matter) in Germany. While I was a bit annoyed that they took 24 hours to advise me that there was a problem with my initial booking, everything else went smoothly and the service provided was very efficient, punctual and friendly. Booking and enquiries are happily accepted in English, which makes them a great choice if you are a tourist with only basic knowledge of German - you can make all the arrangements from the comfort of your own home and then relax while you are collected and whisked off to your hotel. I thought the price was good value for the service I received and I would happily use them if I visit Germany again.
=== Details ===
My experience was with the economy service - German Transfer also provide a business class service, which costs more but uses Mercedes cars rather than a shared minibus.
If you need to cancel your booking, you can do so up to 48 hours before the journey at no charge.
German language website: http://www.german-transfer.de/index.php?lang=de
English language website: http://www.german-transfer.de/index.php?lang=en
Summary: A great airport transfer service in Germany