Last year, the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) saw over 50 million visitors, making it one of the busiest airports in America—and based on aircraft movements, the sixth busiest airport in the world. As a hub for American Airlines and a home to the Charlotte Air National Guard Base, it’s safe to say this is a major airport.
And with great airports comes great rideshare opportunities. Millions of annual passengers means major earnings for Uber and Lyft drivers who are driving passengers to and from the aviation hub.
The Charlotte airport allows Uber and Lyft vehicles at the pick-up and drop-off terminals, but before heading that way, there are a couple rules you’ll want to know. To maximize earnings (and avoid a ticket), it’s important to understand how to navigate the airport, join the queue, and legitimize your vehicle.
To help rideshare drivers be successful at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, we put together this blog post to serve as a guide. The following topics are covered:
- What should you do before arriving at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport?
- Do you need any permits to drive there?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area?
- What are the passenger pick-up rules?
- What are the passenger drop-off rules?
- When is the best time to drive at the airport?
- What is the best driving strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What should you do before arriving at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and entering the airport queue?
To pick up passengers at CLT, you’ll need your trade dress, which (as you know) is the Lyft or Uber decal that goes on the windshield of your car.
Uber sends out this decal when drivers sign up. If you’ve lost yours since then, there are a few easy ways to replace it. You can request that a new one be mailed to you, pick one up at your local Greenlight Hub (be wary of recent closures), or print out a temporary version at home.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area?
The Charlotte Douglas International Airport has one staging area for rideshare drivers to wait in, and it’s located on 5608 Wilkinson Blvd. (do not wait for requests on Stafford Avenue).
Once you get to the staging lot, you’ll automatically be entered into the airport queue. You’ll be able to check your place in line in the Lyft or Uber app. Unfortunately, if the lot is full you’ll need to leave the airport.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers?
The driver who has been waiting the longest time in the staging area gets the next rider request. Make sure not to enter out of driver mode while you wait, or you’ll lose your spot in line.
Once you get a ride, a pin will be placed at the pick-up spot for you to meet your passenger. For Uber drivers, this pick-up will be at Zone E of the lower Arrivals level. For Lyft, a pin will be placed at a pre-approved meeting location at Zone D of the lower Arrivals level.
It can get tricky, so keep an eye on Google Maps and don’t hesitate to reach out to your rider.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport?
Luckily, dropping off passengers at CLT is a lot easier than picking them up. Just head to the departure level at the passenger’s carrier of choice. Make sure not to linger there to avoid creating traffic.
That’s it, and you’re back on the road!
When is the best time to drive at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport?
Turn to your Gridwise app for information about all arrivals and departures at CLT, as well as delays and cancellations.
Typically, midday is the best time for airport driving; most passenger arrivals and departures occur sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
With Gridwise Plus you’ll be able to see airport data 24 hours in advance, so you can lock in a solid airport strategy the night before you head out.
What are some good airport strategies?
Pick up a passenger on the way to the airport
Count on Gridwise to let you know when there’s a peak in airport departures, so you can hang around near hotels at that time to maximize your chances of an airport ride.
Do not cancel on a passenger after you’ve accepted a fare
If you do, you’ll be bumped to the bottom of the queue and your wait starts all over again. The good news is that if it’s a short ride, some companies let you jump back in line after you’ve dropped that passenger off.
Be ready to present your waybill and keep your app updated
A waybill is essentially a receipt of the last trip you completed. Be prepared to present this to airport officials or law enforcement while waiting for arrivals.
Always be prepared
As always, you never know when law enforcement will show up. Keep your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration handy, and don’t forget to have your placard displayed.
Congrats! Now you’re all set to make some pick-ups and drop-offs at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Happy driving!