Here’s a neat little trick. Grabbing an Uber at an airport is expensive or downright impossible because they’re not allowed to operate at the airport. Here’s an Uber airport fare hack that you need to know about.
In this guide, we’re going to show you a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do and how it works.
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Uber Airport Fare Hack To Save Money
Taking a ride with Uber has become a pretty natural part of the travel process and we’ve taken the rates for granted – surge or not.
Requesting an Uber from the airport can sometimes be an adventure but we all know the prices are more expensive and it’s not something you can control right?
With this Uber airport fare hack, you’ll be able to save money riding from the airport to your destination. Let me show you how.
How much money can you save?
The reason why requesting a ride from an airport is expensive is because of the marked up rates and airport surcharge ($4 USD).
So how much can you actually save with this Uber airport fare hack you’re about to learn?
The best way to show this is through an example from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
Without the hack:
- $36.79 USD for Uber Pool
Using the hack:
- $29.84 USD for Uber Pool
- $6.95 USD in savings
Notice that this saving is more than the airport surcharge. Taxes are a factor and a small change in distance.
So the hack is actually super easy once you know it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do this Uber airport hack to save money.
Step 1: Get online
Okay I know this one’s pretty obvious but for someone like me that doesn’t have a roaming data plan and travelling to the US, I needed to get on the airport’s wifi first. LaGaurdia (LGA) in New York uses Boingo (which I despise) but does offer 30 minute complimentary access. Do that first!
Step 2: Open your Uber app and set your destination
Do what you normally do with Uber which is to open the app and set a destination. You’ll notice that it’ll geo locate you and if it’s accurate, to the airport.
At this point, it’ll either present you with prices or it’ll tell you they don’t allow pick ups at the airport.
If it lets you, remember the prices that you see here whether it’s Uber Pool, Uber X, or something else.
Step 3: Change your pick up location
Whether they allow pickups at the airport or not, the next step is to change your pick up location. On the Uber app, use your finger to change the pin location and select somewhere very close by. I recommend either an adjacent hotel or a local neighbourhood street. Let the app calculate the new prices.
At this point, compare the prices that it displays to what you saw in Step #2. Pick the option that makes sense.
Step 4: Call your driver
Since you’re not at the adjacent hotel or local neighbourhood, your next step is to immediately call the driver that you’re paired with.
Let the driver know that you’re not at the actual pick up point set on the app (say that it might be a glitch) and tell them that you’re at the airport.
In a majority of the cases, they’ll change course and pick you up.
Watch how my first attempt went down
Having first heard about it from a friend, I was curious how this Uber airport fare hack would work in real life.
To be honest, I was pretty nervous but well, I guess you should just watch to see what happened.
What to be careful of and the hack’s nuances
Before you try this, there are a couple of things you need to know about to give you the full picture.
Airports that don’t allow Uber – Not all airports allow services like Uber to operate. In this case, you won’t be able to do this hack since drivers will be hesitant to break the rules since there are hefty fines if they are caught. In these instances, you will need to legitimately make your way to that adjacent hotel/neighbourhood for pick up.
Check all car classes – Sometimes it feels like there’s no rhyme or reason to the rates between classes like Uber X and Uber Pool so when you check your prices, make sure to look at all classes.
Using the hack in reverse – For our trip to Istanbul, I tried this hack in the other direction (from the city to the airport). I picked a location just outside the airport. When he asked to confirm the drop-off, we told the driver the terminal we wanted to go to. If you get to the end of the vlog, you’ll see what happened. Spoiler: It worked and no Uber never adjusted the fare.
Works globally – As far as I’ve tried, I’ve had successes in the United States, Canada, and Turkey so while I can’t say for certain, this Uber airport fare hack should work around the world.
If the driver says no – In the event that the driver refuses to redirect to the terminal, cancel the ride right away. The reason why you need to call your driver right away is because the cancellation fees kick in 1 minute (Uber Pool) or 2 minutes (Uber X), or 5 minutes (Uber Black) after the driver accepts and you cancel your ride. If you’re unable to avoid the cancellation fee, you can dispute the charge and explain that you accidentally marked the wrong pin and the driver wasn’t willing to come to you.
Safe way to do this hack – If you’re not willing to take the risk, you can simply head over to a hotel, neighbourhood, or parking lot that you can walk to and get picked up from there. Conversely, you can also get dropped off here and walk over. This works the best with hotels that are connected to the airport by bridge.
Frequently asked questions
Yes this Uber airport fare hack should work all around the world.
Yes, this works the other way around as well. Instead of your destination being the airport terminal, point to a location just outside the zone where the price drops considerably. During your ride, let the driver know that you want to be dropped off at the airport.
If you’re using this from the airport, the risk is that when you call to redirect your driver, they may not be willing to do it and cancel your ride. There’s also a possibility they’ll go to your pick up location and force a no-show which will incur a fee.
If you’re using this going to the airport, your driver may not be willing to deviate and drop you off at the location you selected outside of the airport.
If possible, you could try to make it to that location if it’s a location that you can reach on foot. If you’re not able to, cancel the ride. Try to do this within the first 1-2 minutes of requesting your ride. If not, you will be charged an Uber cancellation fee. You can try to dispute this fee.
No, this travel hack is conditional on Uber being allowed to run at your specific airport.
Most aren’t aware of this travel hack as you can imagine this isn’t an advertised scenario.
At a minimum you can save the $4 USD airport surcharge but often it can be significantly more.
Hope this hack is helpful to all of you! Leave in the comments below your experiences with this. Did it work? Did you encounter problems? Let me know!
What you should read next
Travel Resources For Your Next Trip
If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.
Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.
Data: We’ve been a huge fan of wifi hotspot devices like PokeFi because their rates are so good and you can use it globally but recently, we’ve really loved using eSIMs. The best one is Airalo. Save money by getting region-specific eSIMs and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.
Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.
Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.
Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.
- Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
- RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
- SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
- Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
- InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.
If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.