Size matters. And this is especially true when renting a black car service or stretch limo. Weddings, proms, airport transportation, or any other event that requires ground transportation must secure the right size vehicle. Unfortunately, consumers need to be aware of this when they are calling around limo price shopping, because many limo companies will misstate the vehicle capacity in order to get the limo booking.
Airport transportation consumers are not at risk of getting cheated as much as people with stretch limo needs. However, there are some things for which people needing airport transportation should consider, namely their cargo and the number of passengers. If you only have two passengers but six large suitcases, you will not fit in a standard sedan and you will need a large SUV. If the limo that comes to pick you up is not large enough for your luggage, then you will be forced to take a taxi with some of your bags. This is a bigger expense for you as well as a hassle. And if there is only one passenger, well . . . then you will have to separate from some of your luggage. Either way, it’s not a good scenario. So, be sure to be accurate with your passenger and luggage count so that you reserve a vehicle large enough for your belongings as well as your personal comfort. (Quick note: stretch limos do not have more cargo space. The builders stretch the car, not the trunk, so there tends to be very limited cargo space in stretch limos, which is one of the reasons we do not use them for airport transportation.)
A major problem with vehicle capacity in the limo industry comes into play when a limo company tries to sell an undersized vehicle. This is typically done because that stretch limo is either the only one the limo company has, or it is the only one available for that day and time. Whatever the reason, it’s bad news for you, the consumer, and for multiple reasons.
First, you are overpaying for a vehicle. If you order a 10 passenger stretch limo and the company sends you an 8 passenger stretch limo, you just received a smaller stretch for the bigger stretch limo price.
Second, the stretch limo is not insured for over capacity. If you load 10 passengers in an 8 passenger stretch limo, the insurance will be void, leaving everyone in a very precarious situation.
Third, you will be cramped beyond comfort. A limo capacity is typically obtained by the number of seat belts installed (or what should be installed if the limo is built to code). When you’re limo pricing, a 12 passenger stretch limo should have 12 seat belts in the back. This means you will have 12 people sitting side by side uniformly. This may or may not be the most comfortable arrangement. Therefore, if you are going to have 12 people, you may want a slightly larger stretch limo, such as a 14 passenger stretch limo, so that you have some personal space and wiggle room. Certainly, if you have 12 large guys, a 12 passenger stretch is not the correct choice. Remember to also take your apparel into consideration. Bridal gowns and tuxedos should not risk getting crumpled in the wedding limo.
It is important to note that this counting of seat belts does not include the driver up front, and potentially the front passenger seat as well. Some limo companies will sell you a 12 passenger stretch limo, but it only has 10 seat belts in back and they are counting the 2 up front. Unfortunately, the driver’s seat is already spoken for and the passenger seat, if there is one (sometimes they are removed for a cooler location or other supplies), means someone is sitting up front and missing the fun.
For the reasons just mentioned above, you will notice that we actually sell our stretch limos with a number range. Our 12 to 14 passenger Lincoln Navigator stretch limo SUV actually has 14 seat belts in back. (Notice, we don’t count the 2 seats up front). However, the number of passengers who will fit comfortably in the back will depend largely upon the size of the people, therefore we prefer to sell it as a 12 passenger stretch limo that can legally hold 14 people. How many passengers you choose to put back there is your choice, as long as it does not exceed our maximum loading capacity. We do the same thing with our 18 to 20 passenger Cadillac Escalade stretch limo SUV. It’s only fair, but we are a family owned limo company, so we do things a little differently.
So please be warned, if you are ordering a 10 passenger stretch limo, you may see an 8 passenger stretch limo pull up to your door instead. When you are price shopping, ask how many seat belts are in back, and when the limo arrives at your house for your special event, don’t be afraid to check the loading capacity before entering. And of course, for your own personal comfort and enjoyment, consider ordering a stretch limo that is slightly larger than your party size. You are getting a limo because you want to have fun, and while we certainly hope all of the passengers like each other, sitting that close to each other is most certainly not the ambiance you want.
Have fun shopping for your airport car service and your event limo service. Just be sure to ask questions regarding cargo space and personal comfort. Your black car service and limo service should be giving you peace of mind, not sweaty armpits. And that is not stretching the truth.