Baby Boomer Travel, Over 50 Travel, Travel Tips

Airport Taxi Scam

In our travels, we’ve been very fortunate so far to not have been scammed or robbed. We did lose $20 in Jamaica, but it was just a dumb mistake on my part. However, while in Paris, we got taken for a ride, caught up in a taxi scam. Airport taxi scams are actually quite common and you don’t want to get caught in a taxi scam whiille traveling.

We were going from Orly airport to our hotel near Charles de Gaulle airport. It was about 6:30 PM on a Thursday night and we were tired and didn’t relize that it was about 18 miles distance between the two airports.

After gathering our luggage, we headed for the taxis. You know how there are generally a few eager individuals offering you a ride. Generally, we avoid them and head straight for the official taxis. They usually have set fares. As we approached a man in a bright yellow vest which said taxi on it asked if we needed a taxi. We were literally 15 feet from the taxis. We were then directed to a man who took us past the taxis with their green lights on to a bunch of taxis with red lights on.

He asked where we were going and when we told him, he said in English, that’s very far, it will cost you 150 euros. Say what?? That was far more than the hotel we would be staying at. I use the Tripit app which I love and it said this fare should have cost between 60 and 80 euros. I pointed this out to him and he said there was so much traffic. It felt really fishy to me, but we had been directed by someone who was right up front and looked official.

airport taxi scam

Reluctently we got into his car. Then we ask if he takes credit cards, he did not, cash only and there was no meter. We decided to get out. He said ok, I will get you a car that takes credit cards. He runs off and brings back another driver who takes us to his car that also had a red light on.

Again, I really didn’t have a good feeling but he had a meter and he took credit cards. I decided to map ourselves to our hotel on my phone. We were moving along the correct route, we ran into a traffic accident, but stayed on the correct route. We were within 2 minutes of our hotel and the meter was reading 80 euros, which was what Tripit had said it should be. I was good with that.

Then he flies right past the exit which would have taken us to our hotel in a block. I said, “hey, you just passed our hotel exit.” He said, “no mam, I will take you to your hotel. I know where I am going.” My phone reroutes and now he is taking us a minimum of 8 miles out of our way. We literally went all the way to Charles de Gaulle airport, looped through the airport and back tracked on the opposite side of the freeway to our hotel.

I was furious. When I confronted him he started acting as if he had no idea what I was saying. When we got out of the car, he said he did not understand, he only spoke French. He wanted 145 euros, but lowered it to 140. He spoke pretty good English when he wanted us to get in his car.

Oh, side note, this guy wasn’t even mapping the route……..hmmm, wonder why? Maybe because we would have seen he was taking us on a joy ride.

Lesson learned and I hope you will learn from our mistake. ONLY use taxis that have their green lights on. Be sure that they take credit cards even if you pay cash. Map your route yourself. Even though we did, it didn’t really help, he just played dumb, like he had no idea what we were saying. Get Tripit, it will map your route and tell you what a fair price to pay should be. Otherwise don’t get in the taxi. You may be about to get scammed.

2 thoughts on “Airport Taxi Scam

  1. We’ve only been to Paris once, years ago, but I well remember the guy with the 3-day beard trying to hustle me into accepting his cab ride after I took a subway from DeGaulle into the city. Luckily I’d heard about the gypsy cabs so I just looked him in the eye and said NO. A friend had previously had his pocket picked and his wallet stolen, as soon as he arrived in Paris, and that really messed up his trip. It’s a shame the city never cleans up this mess; but of course many Parisians wish the tourists would just stop coming. I guess we’ll just go to Disney World next time 🙂

    1. We live and have always lived in areas where tourists frequent in great numbers. While I am always grateful when the high season is over I always understand why they want to visit, just like why we want to visit. Really don’s like scammers though.

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