Uber is one of the best things to happen to travelers since tiny bottles of liquor. I use it constantly to avoid airport parking fees, hefty cab ride costs, and the indignity of showing up in a giant blue shuttle that took three hours to get to the airport. Figuring out the Uber LAX game is a little tricky at the moment, but it’s about to get a whole lot better.
Follow this guide to learn about all things Uber LAX and if you somehow haven’t signed up for Uber yet, click on this link to get $20 off your first ride. Scroll down to the section marked “Big Changes in Uber LAX Policy” for a massive update to LA’s official stance on Uber at LAX.
Going to LAX
This one is easy. Fire up the Uber app on your phone, click which form of Uber you want to take to get to LAX and wait for your driver to arrive. Here’s a basic guide to how it all breaks down:
UberPOOL: This is Uber’s shared ride service. For a limited time, the rides are only $5 if you start west of La Cienega and finish at LAX. For rides that start east of La Cienega, the max fare is $15. These promo fares will expire soon, but UberPOOL is still the cheapest form of Uber. It’s called Pool because you’re basically agreeing to carpool if someone else near you requests a ride close to your destination. I use it a lot and I’ve only had to share the journey with somebody else twice.
UberX: Someone will pick you up in their own car and drive you. I’ve gotten rides in anything from Nissan Versas to brand-new Lexuses (Lexii?). It’s the cheapest way to travel solo.
UberPLUS: Got a bunch of people? This is UberX for a large group.
UberBLACK: If you’re feeling fancy, call UberBLACK. You’ll get a high-end Lincoln Towncar (or similar vehicle) to roll up in style. It’s more expensive than UberX, but if you’re ordering an UberBLACK, you probably don’t care anyway because you’re a straight-up pimp, son.
UberSUV: UberPLUS is to UberX as UberSUV is to UberBLACK. Bigger, more expensive professional service.
UberLUX: A regular Towncar not cutting it for you? Hit UberLUX to grab a ride in a Ferrari. Or something like that. I don’t know. I’m not dumb enough to care about taking UberLUX.
UberFRESH: This won’t help you at all in terms of getting to the airport. It’s a meal delivery service. More of a reverse Uber. Instead of bringing you somewhere, they bring a meal to you from a pre-determined menu.
Going from LAX
This is the tricky part. Getting picked up from LAX by Uber or any other ride-share service has been a mess. The cab industry has fought hard against it, so it’s technically impossible to get picked up at LAX unless you’re at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). All the other terminals will cut off your access to Uber cars, even though there are always plenty near the airport.
Even to get picked up at TBIT, the Uber car needs to have a commercial license. If you snag a ride, a $5 airport fee will be automatically added to your total cost. It’s not a great system, but fear not because there’s a workaround…
The Genius Uber LAX Hack
You know those hotel shuttles that circle round and round picking up guests and whisking them off to nearby hotels? They don’t check to see if you have a reservation. Similar to the Genius LAX In-N-Out Burger hack, use the hotel shuttles to get you off airport property. Make sure to tip your driver for the service, since you’re not actually a guest and you’re taking advantage of their resources. Once you’re at the hotel, though, you can order up an Uber right away and skip the $5 fee. This hack may not be useful come summertime because LA Mayor Eric Garcetti just announced that there are…
Big Changes in Uber LAX Policy
In his State of the City speech on April 15th, Garcetti dropped a bomb:
“Whether it is your daily commute, or getting to and from the airport, we have to make navigating this city more convenient for our residents. So today, I’m announcing that by this summer, at my direction, ride-share companies like UBER and LYFT will be able to pick you up at the airport.”
That’s a huge development for LAX travelers. No more shuttles, no more walking over to TBIT for a ride. I’m not sure if the $5 airport pick-up fee will remain if you use UberX, but I don’t see how they could enforce it with non-commercial drivers coming in for pick-ups. There’s no way to tell if somebody is an Uber driver or not (besides the small U placard on the windshield), so it’s my sense that the $5 fee will disappear if you call an UberX. This is great news.
While the plan is scheduled to start up in the summer, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually gets implemented earlier. It’s not like any infrastructure needs to change. Uber just needs to take the block off of ride requests at LAX. Let the ride-sharing begin.
And speaking of sharing, click on one of those buttons below where it says “Share this:” to give your friends and family the gift of Fly&Dine’s Uber LAX Guide. They’re love you forever and so will I. Also, definitely sign up for Uber and watch how it changes your travel life. For a completely free first ride (up to $20), click here.
Photo via Uber on Facebook