Thursday, 26 September 2013

Avoiding scams at LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

Anti-gypsy-cab sign, La Guardia Airport, NYC, NY, USA.JPG
It is unsafe to accept a ride from drivers who approach you at La Guardia.
Even if they look official, these pirate taxi drivers are breaking the law.

There are so many problems with travellers being scammed at New York's LaGuardia Airport that they have taken to placing free-standing signs around the terminal.

The best advice we can give you is the following:

Do NOT accept a ride from anyone who approaches you in the terminal. That includes:
  • A driver who says they just happen to be returning to their car after stepping into the terminal to use the washroom
  • A driver who tells you there are no taxis outside but you can skip the waiting line by going with him
  • A limousine driver who says their passenger pick-up was cancelled at the last minute
  • Anyone who offers to help you with your luggage

This is an airport where it really is important to use only official taxi and limousine providers.

Head directly for the taxi stand located outside each terminal for official taxi services. You will find uniformed LGA Taxi dispatchers available to assist you before you start your ride.

New York Taxi Stand at LaGuardia Airport Photo i096 by Grant Wickes
Taxi queue at LGA (Photo courtesy Grant Wickes)

You can also follow the signs to the Welcome Centre/Ground Transportation Counter (near baggage claim). The staff here can advise you on your options. Better yet, read up on your choices before you go with our LaGuardia Airport (LGA) Transportation Guide.

Bonus Tip: Ignore non-uniformed people offering to assist with baggage. Seek out uniformed porters or airline employees for baggage assistance.

Here are some other interesting stories about ground transportation at La Guardia:

Related content from IHateTaxis:

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Amazing Race Canada - Week 10: The Toronto Islands finish fine

All eyes were on Toronto last week as the first season of The Amazing Race Canada wrapped up.
Toronto from Harbour Islands (6264452871)
Toronto skyline, viewed from Toronto Islands
The race finished on the Toronto Islands, a small chain of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, just offshore from the city. Even if you aren't familiar with the islands, you are probably familiar with the Toronto skyline, the shots of which are taken from various spots on the islands.

As the action at the finish line has been well covered, we'll focus on where it all took place, with a visit to the Toronto Islands. While often referred to collectively, the final leg of The Amazing Race Canada actually took place on Olympic Island. [continue reading]

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Amazing Race Canada - Week 9: 1 ferry, no airports!

The excitement continued on The Amazing Race Canada in Week 9 - if you missed the episode, you can watch it, and get full details on the official website.

As far as our coverage goes - as we have focused on the airports visited on the race - we were left a bit stumped as to what to post for Week 9.... as there were no airports involved!

The teams began in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but we had covered Halifax's Airport in our Week 8 blog post).
NL Ferry3 tango7174
On the MV Atlantic Vision ferry, Marine Atlantic,
between North Sydney (Nova Scotia) and
Port aux Basques (Newfoundland and Labrador)

Next, the teams took the ferry from North Sydney to Port aux Basques, on their way to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Ferry service in the area is provided by Marine Atlantic.

As a result, during the entire Week 9 episode, there were no airports!

Instead, we did a blog post this week on the 5 Busiest Airports in Canada - with lots of extra trivia and information. Check it out.

We look forward to more Amazing Race blog posts - with airports! - as the race goes into the final stretch...

Go teams go!!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

5 Busiest Airports in Canada 2012

Did you know where Canada's busiest airports are? How many have you visited? Do you have any favourites?

1. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Inuksuit (Toronto Pearson Airport)
  • Official name: Toronto Pearson International Airport
  • Named for: Lester B. Pearson, the 14th Prime Minister of Canada
  • Passengers served in 2012: 34,912,456
  • Distance from downtown: 27 kilometres
  • Other airports: YYZ is the busiest of Toronto's main airports, but is the most remotely located; Toronto Billy Bishop City Centre Airport (YTZ) is located downtown (it's Canada's 9th busiest)
  • Trivia: YYZ is one of only two airports in North America with scheduled flights to all 6 inhabited continents; the other is New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK)
  • Good news: Construction is underway on Metrolink's new Union Pearson Express, a rail link between Pearson Airport and Union Station in downtown Toronto; the UP Express will begin service in spring 2015
  • Transportation tip: Your best bet for a Toronto Pearson Airport transfer is a shuttle - full details on all options in our YYZ Airport transportation guide
  • Or, to arrive stress free, pre-book your private Toronto Pearson Airport transfer from IHateTaxis

2. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

RK 0908 9604 Spirit of Haida Gwaii the Jade Canoe
  • Official name: Vancouver International Airport
  • Passengers served in 2012: 17,596,901
  • Distance from downtown: 12 kilometres
  • Trivia: YVR is one of the few big international airports to have a terminal for scheduled floatplanes:Vancouver Airport South
  • Transportation tip: The Canada Line SkyTrain, built for the 2010 Olympics, is your best option if you are heading downtown - details on all options in our YVR Airport transportation guide
  • Or, to truly arrive stress free, treat yourself to a private Vancouver Airport transfer from IHateTaxis.

3. Montréal Trudeau International Airport (YUL)

YUL U.S. Departures Sector
  • Official name: Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport 
  • Named for: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Canada's 15th Prime Minister
  • Previously named: Montréal Dorval Airport
  • Passengers served in 2012: 13,809,820
  • Distance from downtown: 20 kilometres
  • Other airports: Montreal has a 2nd airport, Mirabel (YMX), but it is used almost exclusively for cargo flights
  • Trivia: Bombardier Aerospace has an assembly facility on site to build regional jets and Challenger business jets
  • Good news: there are plans to build a rail connection to downtown Montreal, but it will not be complete until 2020
  • Transportation tip: Your best bet for a Montreal Airport transfer is the 747 bus - full details on all options in our YUL Airport transportation guide
  • Or, to truly arrive stress free, treat yourself to a private Montreal Trudeau Airport transfer from IHateTaxis

4. Calgary International Airport (YYC)

  • Official name: Calgary International Airport 
  • Passengers served in 2012: 13,638,137
  • Distance from downtown: 17 kilometres
  • Trivia: Calgary's airport was remarkably unscathed and remained operational during 2013's  devastating floods in the area
  • Good news: a new international terminal is under construction, due to open in 2014
  • Transportation tip: Your best bet for a transfer is a bus to nearby trains and Calgary's Bus Rapid Transit System - details on all options are included in our YYC Airport transportation guide
  • Or, to arrive stress free, pre-book your shared Calgary Airport shuttle from IHateTaxis now

5. Edmonton International Airport (YEG)

Central hall of CYEG
  • Official name: Edmonton International Airport 
  • Passengers served in 2012: 6,676,445
  • Distance from downtown: 26 kilometres
  • Other airports: Edmonton used to have a 2nd airport downtown (YXD), used for commuter traffic, but it closed in recent years
  • Trivia: the airport's Living Wall consists of 8,000+ plants, 32 different species
  • Good news: a new Renaissance by Marriott hotel is slated to open on-site in fall 2013, the first Renaissance hotel in the world to be attached to an airport
  • Transportation tip: there is a relatively new Edmonton Airport bus, but ridership is low, and there has been talk of the service being discontinued if it is not more widely used (so ride it if you go!) - details on all options included in our YEG Airport transportation guide

We hope you have enjoyed our feature on Canada's busiest airports. If you have an idea for an airport you'd like to see featured, especially if it has something unique about it's transportation, please let us know - we are always open to ideas!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Chicago taxi driver scams student for $4K

A taxi in Chicago
If you missed it this past week, this taxi scam is one of the worst we've seen. Not only for how deep it gouged, but for how heartless it was.

Here's how it went down: a Chinese student, speaking little English, lands at Chicago O'Hare Airport. His destination: the University of Illinois (there is a bus service, but taking a taxi should cost, at most, about $300). The student was approached in the airport by a taxi driver, told there were no more buses running that night, and his only option was a taxi. For a cool $1000. The student agrees, and off they go.

But that's not the end of the story. We're not sure if somehow the driver caught wind of the fact that the student had a lot of cash on him, or perhaps he caught a glimpse of it, or maybe he was just a nasty dreamer, but whatever the reason, when they arrive at their destination, the driver demands $4,800 (and, no, that's not a typo!). Well, the student "only" had around $4,200, so he gave the driver all the money he had.

Our advice: NEVER trust an offer of a taxi or limo from someone who approaches you in the airport.

The practice of approaching customers to secure a fare is called touting.

Touts prey on newly-arrived passengers, at airports and train stations, taking advantage of them in many ways. Touts prey on new arrivals because:
  • They may not be familiar with the local currency
  • They may not be aware of the typical cost of goods and services
  • They are likely tired and jet-lagged and just want to get to their destination
  • They are  very likely carrying large amounts of cash 
To avoid being ripped off, avoid taxi touts completely.

Related reading: Dealing with Touts

Instead, go to the official taxi stand, or read up on your destination ahead of time to learn options for where you can catch a cab ( was created for this purpose - check us out!).

While we most often see stories about taxi touts ripping travellers off outside of North America, it can happen anywhere. So, get street smart, and know how to protect yourself.

We feel for the student who, in this case, really didn't know any better, and was willing to trust someone who he thought was helping him (the driver told him there were no more buses that evening). If you know a foreigner who is travelling to visit you, always advise them the best way to get a taxi, and what not to do, to avoid being scammed.

Related reading: Airport Arrival Advice

With regards to the recent Chicago scam, you can read the full story here.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Amazing Race Canada - Week 8: YFB, YHZ

Week 8 of The Amazing Race Canada began in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

City of Iqaluit
Aerial view of Iqaluit, Nanavut, Canada.
If you missed it, our Week 7 blog post last week highlighted many of the unique challenges of air travel in this remote region of Canada, as well as the beauty and culture of this unique community.

So, onto Week 8, as the teams departed from Iqaluit Airport (YFB), and flew to Halifax, Nova Scotia, one of Canada's beautiful Maritime provinces.

As with our most recent Amazing Race Canada blog posts, we will focus on the airport and other items of interest in the region (as there are many different sites doing a great job of recapping the teams and the race itself!).

[continue reading]