For Uber drivers who work in the vicinity of an airport, there is no more relevant question than, “Is it worth waiting in the Uber airport queue?”
The line that gathers outside of airport terminals can be extremely daunting.
It may leave some drivers wondering whether or not the wait comes with a good enough payout or whether they should simply wait for passengers that are coming from somewhere else in town.
Read on to find out more about the Uber airport queue system and whether or not it is a worthwhile decision for Uber drivers to get in line.
Table Of Contents
How Do Uber Airport Queues Work?
Uber introduced the Airport Queue system in 2015 as a way for drivers and riders to get rides more efficiently and on a first come first serve basis.
Upon entering the airport region, Uber drivers will automatically become a part of the queue.
This is also known as an Uber Waiting lot.
As riders leaving the airport request rides, the partners who are first in line will receive the request first.
So, those who have been waiting for the longest will receive priority.
So long as the partner waits within the boundaries of the designated airport region, they will still be a part of the queue.
Even if they are further than other drivers from the rider at the time of the request, they will still be able to accept the request and move to pick up the Uber rider.
Uber also makes it simple for drivers to check their position in the queue.
As soon as they join, a number indicating their position will be visible on the top of their screen when the application is open.
Before entering the queue area, drivers can also check how many other partners are waiting by clicking on the airplane icon.
Note that any rideshare driver that attempts to leave the queue area, turn off their mobile device, or briefly go offline, will face removal from the queue and will have to rejoin at the back of the digital line.
How Long Should You Expect To Wait?
The amount of time that you can expect to wait in the airport queue varies depending on a few factors, including:
- How busy the airport is
- How many other rideshare drivers are there
- How many partners are already waiting in the queue
Drivers that come at the right time might be lucky.
Some may only end up waiting for twenty minutes for a ride, but in most cases, drivers wait for at least an hour and sometimes more.
Even if the airport does have plenty of waiting riders, the queue can be so long that it takes a substantial amount of time to break through to the front of the line.
Riders waiting in rideshare hold lots can stay for up to four hours before they have to leave.
The Lucrative Benefits of Airport Rides
Often, riders have to travel quite the distance from the airport to their final destination.
This is common when airports are far from city centers, resulting in long trips – sometimes forty-five minutes or more.
So, yes, airport rides tend to be more lucrative for drivers; potentially resulting in over one hundred dollars for one or two trips.
It is simply a matter of whether or not a driver is willing to risk the hours of wait time that could come beforehand.
- Guide to the LAX airport
- Guide to the Chicago airport
- Guide to the Denver airport
- Guide to the San Francisco airport
When Are the Best Times To Wait in the Queue?
According to Uber, trip demand from 4 am to 4 pm is relatively low, with a longer wait time in the queue.
From 4 pm to 4 am, customer demand is higher with shorter wait times.
However, this is a broad range of time.
A safe bet for waiting in the airport queue is to get behind the wheel during a night shift, such as midnight to 5 am – when the odds are that most of the other Uber drivers are sleeping.
The red-eye flights that come in the late hours of the night or early hours of the morning will not yield as many riders, but the line is likely to be shorter than it is during the daytime.
At this time, passengers are often so in need of a ride that tips are likely to be higher, even for a short trip.
Morning flights are also a good idea to capitalize on.
Dropping a passenger off for a flight at the crack of dawn might warrant simply hopping in the airport queue afterward rather than driving right back to the city.
Pre-Match and Re-Match
Uber has two features that make it easier for drivers to prepare for a ride at the airport: Pre-Match and Re-Match.
When a driver is already waiting in the queue, they will be able to utilize the Pre-Match feature to prepare for the rider.
This will notify when a driver is in a higher position in the queue and will receive a ride request soon.
This will enable a driver time to leave the waiting lot and go to the pick-up area of the airport.
Drivers that drop their passengers off at the airport will receive priority in ride requests from the airport.
After six minutes without a request, the driver will then automatically become a part of the Uber airport queue.
Common Uber Queue Issues
While waiting in the Uber queue, drivers may run into a few headaches.
There are, of course, long wait times.
A driver cannot leave the waiting lot or designated queue area at any point without sacrificing their place in line, which often means long periods without using the bathroom.
Then, there is always the chance that the driver will receive a ticket for loitering if they do not situate themselves properly in the waiting lot or pick-up area.
If this is the case, Uber is not responsible for the ticket, and the company will not assist in paying it off.
Sometimes, there are cheaters who make the system difficult for everyone else by using phony GPS software to join the airport queue while not being present.
Avoid Long Queues and Reduce Wait Times
When it comes to reducing the amount of time in the queue, there are a few steps that drivers can take to ensure that their pickup request goes as efficiently as possible.
1. Utilize Airport Alerts for Rider Demand Information
A tool that drivers have at their disposal is flight alert applications.
Knowing when flights full of passengers are coming in is the key to anticipating rider demand.
The more flights that are coming in, the higher the demand for rideshare drivers will be.
Higher demands are more likely to mean that the queue will go quickly.
2. Keep Departing Passengers in Mind
Departing passengers might be the key to getting a good spot in the Uber queue.
Drivers should note that dropping departing passengers off at the airport will automatically get them a spot in line for pickup requests.
If they have to drive back into the city, anyway, then they might as well earn extra cash while doing so.
3. Avoid Traffic as Often as Possible
Of course, Uber drivers should always take traffic at certain times of day into consideration.
It is not worth wasting energy and gas to leave for the airport during rush hour, only to have to wait even longer for a request at the airport itself.
4. Let Riders Come to You
Patience is key when it comes to waiting for riders.
Passengers will come right to you for a ride in times of high demand or at unconventional times of day when there are fewer rideshare options available.
5. Keep Your Car Clean and Accessible
The last thing that you want as an Uber driver is for a passenger to cancel the ride for an unclean or unsafe vehicle.
Not only will this reflect poorly on your record, but it will mean that you would have to wait even longer for another passenger, should you choose to stay in the queue.
Be prepared by ensuring that the seats and trunk are pristine and clear of any obstacles.
Worth the Wait?
There is no arguing that rides from the airport can be more lucrative than a standard ride in the city, but joining the Uber airport queue is more about the time spent waiting.
Waiting for hours on end for a pickup request might simply not be worth it.
However, there are steps that drivers can take to ensure that the process is worth their time.
These include utilizing airport alert applications to scope out times of day with high demand, shorter lines, and little to no traffic will make the whole process a lot simpler.
For passengers who need an airport drop-off, it might be worth sticking around in the queue afterward to head back to the city for some cash.
If an Uber driver does it smartly and preparedly, then waiting in the airport queue can yield a solid profit.
Otherwise, skip the trip and stick to the city for more prolific and easily accessible rides.