For Lyft and Uber drivers, the airport is a feast or famine proposition. You can always count on a line of rideshare drivers waiting to pick up travers. Depending on the city, the line could be 100 cars deep. If you roll the dice and join the back of the queue, you might spend over an hour waiting only to pick up a passenger headed a couple miles to an airport hotel. There’s a better way.
Tip 1: Know the arrival schedule before showing up
Rideshare drivers who arrive at the airport with a low demand from passengers and a high supply of other drivers already waiting in line should expect to wait. The trick is to know the arrival schedule, so you can time your arrival with approaching aircrafts and have a good understanding of the busy and slow times of an airport.
Don’t rely on the airport’s website for accurate times as those sites aren’t always updated in real time. Instead there’s a slew of apps and websites designed precisely for this activity:
Gridwise: This mobile app provides insights into events and activities in your city, so rideshare drivers can drive smarter, and increase the number of trips they take in a day. The service includes “Airport Demand Forecasts,” which helps keep track of arriving and department flights.
FlightRadar24 app: This app combines information about where airplanes are coming from and going to, and provides on the ground information related to a flight, including weather.
Many of these flight tracking apps exist for iPhone and Android. Others include; Flight View, Liveatc.net, and GateGuru.
Tip 2: Show up to the airport with a passenger to increase the likelihood of an automatic rematch
Uber and Lyft won’t confirm this, but it’s common for drivers to report they receive an automatic rematch as they are in the process of dropping off a current passenger to the airport. And who doesn’t want to skip the line? One way for drivers to take advantage of this is to set their destination filters for the airport while driving around hotel areas in the surrounding towns. Don’t drive around airport hotels because they typically have free shuttles to the terminal. This will increase the likelihood of an automatic rematch.
Tip 3: Focus on flights from larger cities and warmer climates
These flights tend to be full, and you could argue filled with passengers more likely to be familiar and comfortable with using Uber and Lyft.
Tip 4: Don’t worry if a passenger cancels a trip, but never cancel one after you’ve accepted at the airport
If for some reason a passenger cancels the trip, don’t worry, you’ll be placed at the front of the first-in-first-out queue. However, if you accept a ride and then cancel it, you’ll be sent to the bottom of the waiting list.
Tip 5: Check on the length of the line by networking with other drivers
Rideshare drivers can’t see the length of a queue from their Uber and Lyft apps, so outside of knowing the busy airport times, you can’t ever be sure about how long the line of rideshare drivers is. That is unless you use the power of networking. Get to know other drivers and their schedules, and work together to share information.
In time these tips should help you hack the airport line and maximize your time and earnings on the road.