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Until recently, getting a ride to and from the airport meant that you either had to find a friend or family member who could drive you, or call an expensive taxi cab. Nowadays, you can make the whole process simpler with rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.
One question that many people have when using rideshare vehicles for airport transportation, however, is how much luggage they’ll be able to fit in the vehicle. This question depends on a variety of factors, including the number of passengers traveling together and the type of ride you request.
In this post, we’ll look at the various Uber services available for airport transportation, as well as which option is right for your luggage and passenger transportation needs.
Understanding the Uber Services Available
Uber currently offers a variety of passenger transportation options across the world, from boats to bikes to BMWs. But for the purposes of this post, we’re going to focus only on the options available at most standard airport pickups and drop-offs within the United States. That being said, Uber airport pickup may not be available in all markets. To see if it is, visit Uber’s airport transportation guide.
Assuming that Uber airport pickup is available where you’re traveling, here are the options you can reliably expect to see:
And here are the Uber services that, while common, are not available in all markets:
Let’s look at each of these services in more detail to understand which is appropriate for your airport transportation.
UberX is the standard (and cheapest) Uber service. It’s what you use when you need a private driver to get somewhere, but don’t need a car that is large or luxurious. For many travelers, UberX will be all you need to transport your luggage. UberX vehicles can technically transport up to 4 passengers, though in practice that will be a tight fit.
All UberX cars will have some sort of trunk space, which you can generally expect to be empty. UberX drivers will be used to passengers having luggage, and will often offer to help you put the luggage in the trunk if they are able. As long as you don’t have any unusually large items, an abnormal amount of suitcases, or a large number of passengers and luggage, UberX should be fine for your airport transportation needs.
UberXL vehicles are vans or SUVs that can transport up to six passengers. XL rides may or may not be fancy, but they’re guaranteed to use larger vehicles. If you have a large number of people (perhaps you’re traveling with your family) or even a smaller number of people with large suitcases, then UberXL is our recommendation.
UberPOOL is a service that allows you to save on your Uber fare by sharing your ride with other passengers. For rides within town, it’s a great option as long as you don’t mind your ride taking slightly longer. If you’re going to the airport, however, we don’t recommend UberPOOL.
The main reason is that you never know what other passengers will be carrying with them. There might be plenty of room for you and your luggage when you set out, but then what happens if you pick up another passenger who needs to fit a stroller into the back of the vehicle? This could result in some awkward situations, so we suggest staying away from UberPOOL when it comes to airport rides.
If you’re looking for an Uber ride with a bit of extra luxury and a highly-rated driver, then UberSELECT is the way to go. In terms of transporting luggage, expect the same amount of space you would with UberX. UberSELECT is only available in certain select cities at this time (see what we did there?).
When you want to travel in luxury, UberBLACK is the option to choose. You’ll get a ride in a high-end black car with a professional driver. You’ll pay more for this added quality, but it can be worth it if you’re traveling for business and want to impress a client (or arrive in style for a date).
For the purposes of transporting luggage, expect the same capacity as an UberX vehicle. Do note that since you’ll be traveling in a luxury car, you should be careful about where you place your luggage. Your driver doesn’t want the dirty wheels of your suitcase scraping against their leather interior.
Need to travel in roomy luxury? UberSUV is the option for you. UberSUV is the XL version of UberBLACK: professional drivers in a black luxury SUV with room for up to six passengers. As this is the largest and highest-end Uber service, expect to pay premium prices.
As far as capacity goes, you should be able to fit as much luggage in an UberSUV as an UberXL. You’ll just look a lot fancier doing it. As with UberBLACK, be conscientious of the vehicle’s high-end interior and ask your driver where the best place would be for your luggage.
Uber Airport Etiquette
When getting a ride to or from the airport, there are some general pieces of etiquette you should keep in mind.
1. Be at the Right Pickup Location
Airports have designated locations for picking up rideshare passengers. When you open the Uber app, you’ll see the pickup location(s) to choose from. Be sure you’re at the location by the time your ride arrives, as airports can’t allow drivers to sit in certain areas for too long due to security and efficiency reasons.
2. Notify Your Driver of Your Luggage Requirements
Once you request the ride, call your driver to inform them if you have a large amount of luggage. If a driver is picking you up at the airport, they’ll expect you to have luggage. But if it’s an especially large amount, it’s courteous to inform them to make sure that they have sufficient trunk space and luggage capacity for you and your baggage.
3. Request the Appropriate Uber Size for Your Luggage Needs
We know it can be painful to pay the higher fares of UberXL, but it can be very frustrating for a driver to be in the airport pickup line, having waited there all day, only to find that you have too much luggage to fit in their vehicle.
This wastes both your and the driver’s time, as well as being inconsiderate to the driver and other travelers. By choosing the correct size in advance, you’ll be helping everyone in the long run.
Get Easier Airport Rides with Uber
We hope this guide has given you a better idea of which Uber option is best for your airport transportation needs, no matter how much luggage or how many passengers you have. If you want to get $20 in Uber credit for taking your first Uber ride to or from the airport (or wherever you want to go), sign up for Uber and use the promo code WINTER36. If you want to see how much it will cost to use Uber for your airport transportation needs, then check out our Uber fare estimator.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.