The last thing you want after a 13-hour trans-Pacific flight, with overtired four-year-old in tow, is to be without pre-arranged transportation, especially from an airport - Los Angeles International - where mainstream public transport is almost non-existent.
Enter Karmel Shuttle. Karmel provides affordable airport transfers throughout the Los Angeles, Anaheim and Southern California regions, and as we soon discover, personal and personable service.
After collecting our bags at the luggage carousel, we call the number we’ve been given. We’re told our driver will here in 10 minutes. LAX isn’t really an airport you want to spend any unnecessary amount of time in (is any airport?), so we’re happy when our chauffeur - Francisco - arrives even earlier than that.
Our transportation is a clean, modern mini-van, that’s quicker end-to-end than any bus or train, and with its spacious interior, much comfier than a taxi or Uber. Francisco is also a great driver, negotiating LA’s (in)famous freeways confidently but cautiously, which is exactly what you want, especially when you’re travelling with children.
For all of this however, arguably the highlight of the experience is the man behind the wheel himself. Like most professionals, Francisco cheerily loads and unloads our baggage at each end (and as a family, we have a lot of baggage). But he’s also happy to have a chat, and even give us a glimpse into his life – and insights into life around here.
Perhaps it’s because he’s used to dealing with Aussies, who he says make up a good portion of his clientele. Or perhaps he’s just downright friendly. Either way, by the end of our 40-minute transfer, we feel like we’re almost friends.
If Francisco’s character is a reflection of Karmel Shuttle - a family owned and operated company with over 20 years’ experience - then this is the introduction to Los Angeles that you’d want.
Karmel also offers shared transport at a lower cost, as well as transfers to other hubs and ports like John Wayne (Orange County) and Long Beach airports, and San Pedro Cruise Terminal – all bookable from your phone or tablet.
You can even charter Karmel for transportation to attractions, or consider one of their ‘Extreme Tours’, with their “Go when you want to go!” tagline.
And if you’re lucky enough to have Francisco as your driver, say hello from us. He may just remember who we are.
The writer was a guest of Karmel Shuttle and stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim Theme Park Entrance. Read our review of the hotel.
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