Greyhound or Megabus from Dallas to Houston or Austin? Nope – Take Vonlane, You’ll Thank Me Later
I found myself without a car this last week. Needing to travel to Houston for work, I naturally looked up Southwest Airlines last minute flights. And by last minute, I mean 5 days in advance. Guess how much it was going to cost me to get from Dallas to Houston round trip….Over $500. NOPE. I didn’t want to rent a car because I am just shy of 25 and didn’t want to pay extra fees. So I looked into Megabus and Greyhound. I contacted one of my best friends who commutes from Dallas to Austin regularly, asking her for advice. She said to take Vonlane.
Vonlane was launched in May 2014 to give travelers an alternative to the delays and interruptions that accompany short-haul flights and the hassles of driving one’s own vehicle. The luxury coach service has been well-received by business travelers, such as attorneys, accountants, lobbyists, and service providers looking to bill their time in a quiet, comfortable, and productive environment. Leisure travelers love the luxurious, first-class travel experience at fares below the cost of commercial air travel.
Vonlane has expanded to serve the five largest Texas cities and offer more than 60 daily departures. “We owe our growth and success to our loyal passengers,” adds Danza. “We especially appreciate the folks who take that first ride and allow us to become their very own private jet on wheels.”
Vonlane is a luxury motor coach service for business and leisure travelers. Through its Passenger-First travel strategies, Vonlane strives to offer business travelers an alternative means of transport that eliminates stress and improves business productivity at a reasonable cost. The Vonlane fleet provides travelers spacious, peaceful, and productive environments to maximize billable productive time or relaxation with hassle-free departure and arrival experiences. Vonlane offers luxury coach service in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Visit www.vonlane.com or follow @vonlanemotors.
Boarding the Bus
After I had booked the trip online, I received an email containing my confirmation number and pick up location for Friday’s ride. For Dallas, TX, they pick up at the Double Tree Hotel at Love Field Airport. The hotel lobby makes for a very swanky waiting area with a coffee bar serving Starbucks and snacks. It set the tone and expectation for my trip.
The bus pulled up outside the Hotel fifteen minutes before departure. The driver greeted me outside, took my luggage and stored it under the bus. As I got to the top of the boarding stairs, I was welcomed aboard by the Attendant who introduced herself. She checked my reservation and pointed me to my seat 6C.
Just before we left, and just like on a plane, the other passengers and I watched a safety video. The only two things I missed from the video are the parts about oxygen masks and life vests. But since it’s a bus and not a plane, I don’t really need these safety items in an unlikely event. The video did go into how to open the emergency exits and the workings of a seat belt. In any case, it did feel a bit like boarding a plane especially with the level of professionalism displayed.
After the safety video, our Attendant made PA announcement to reintroducing herself and introduce our driver. She mentioned if we had any questions for the driver to ask her, and she will speak with him. Also, she gave everyone onboard the internet access instructions and told us how long the trip would take. We pulled away from the Double Tree driveway on time precisely 6:00 AM.
The Trip and Onboard Experience
As soon as we got on the freeway, our Attendant asked each passenger if they would like a drink and snack, I had a coffee. Also, she offered me a lap desk to use for my laptop and any other items.
At my seat, I had power, both 110 volts, and 5 volt USB. In the seat insert, there was a menu card offering ‘Just-in-case’ items. Some of these are a Wireless Mouse, Universal Laptop Charger, Lint Brush, Pencil, Pens and a Smart Phone Charger. Also, they have onboard Screen Cleaner for your laptop, Eye Glass Cleaner, and Hand Sanitizer. All excellent just in case items.
Besides Coffee, they have tea and an assortment of soft drinks. To eat in the mornings, Muffins, Yogurt, and Fruit are on the menu. The rest of the day they have sandwiches, wraps, and salads. All of which are complimentary.
Just across from my seat 6c, is a table that seats four. You can reserve a place here and use it as a conference table, or a table where you can spread out your paperwork.
The internet on the bus is excellent. I tested the download speed and got an awesome 30Mps! The upload speed was 10Mps. It is much faster and more reliable compared to that on an airplane, a train or Megabus.
If you don’t want to work, they have Noise-Cancelling Headphones you can borrow to watch satellite television, listen to the in-seat satellite radio or your own device. If you just want to catch up on some sleep they have blankets, pillows and eye masks you can use. All you do is just ask the attendant these items.
Most high-end hotels and restaurants don’t have restrooms as beautiful and clean as Vonlane’s onboard restroom. Unlike Megabus’s room at the back with a bucket, Vonlane’s has a full-size flushable toilet. Also running hot and cold water at the sink and a soap dispenser that actually dispenses soap and not air. Imagine that! All of this with plenty of room to move around inside, unlike an airplane restroom.
Arrival and the Finishing Touch
As we approached Houston, we took the expressed lane and just flew by traffic parked on the highway. Just looking at the parked traffic, I was happy I didn’t drive. Our Attendant made a PA announcement that we are only ten minutes away from our arrival just outside the Hyatt Regency Houston.
When we arrived another PA announcement thanking each passenger for riding Vonlane. Then getting off the bus, at the bottom of the last step, our attendant was there holding a small basket of chocolates and thanked each passenger personally.
Our driver already unloaded our bags and had them there waiting for each passenger to pick up. No long waits at baggage claim! Perfect. Since Vonlane picks up and drops off at major downtown hotels, you don’t need to worry about catching a taxi or public network transportation. They were plenty of taxi’s waiting outside the hotel. I used Lyft who were only a minute away from my drop off location.
I’m a fan of alternative transportation methods to driving and flying, but they must make sense in time and cost. My Vonlane trip left Dallas at 6 AM and arrived in Houston 15 minutes early at 9:45 AM. Not bad for a 240-mile road trip.
I could have driven, but I wouldn’t have been productive during the journey and not as refreshed when I arrived. Also, I would not be able to use the express lanes in Houston adding an extra half hour to the drive. I could have flown. Per Google Maps, flight time between Dallas and Houston is one hour and five minutes. But that’s flight time from taking off to landing. It does not include check-in time which is a minimum of one hour at most airports and the time to pick up your checked bags, at least half an hour from the plane arriving at the gate. So, for the sake of argument, the absolute minimum trip time flying, if all goes well, is two hours and thirty-five minutes.
Let’s look at the cost of the journey between Dallas and Houston. Driving one-way, 240 Miles, would cost me around $55 in gas in my SUV. Flying one-way on American Airlines, the seven-day advanced ticket is minimum $195, plus $25 to check a bag. On Southwest, the three-day advanced is $500 round trip and no baggage check fees. Vonlane’s price is $99. And just for comparison, Megabus averages price for the same trip is $33, but remember it’s a bucket in the bathroom, no onboard refreshments, and attendant. Megabus is also not reliable on getting to your destination in the estimated time-frame.
Most importantly for me, when I arrived in Houston I felt relaxed. My trip was stress-free, I worked, and I started this article. .