Only eight miles from downtown Milwaukee, the Mitchell International Airport (MKE) sees more than 3 million passengers each year. That’s a lot of arrivals and departures—and a lot of riders for Uber and Lyft drivers looking to make a nice profit on airport drives.
But in order to maximize your earnings at Wisconsin’s busiest airport, you’ll need to know how to navigate the staging lots and arrivals queues. This involves having a solid airport strategy and knowing how to avoid citations.
That’s why we put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers be successful when driving at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport. We’ll walk you through everything from trade dress to airport peak times, so all you have to do is get on the road. The following topics are covered:
- What should you do before arriving at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- Do you need any permits to drive at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- When is the best time to drive at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
- What is the best Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What should you do before arriving at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport and entering the airport queue?
First things first. Get 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’s a couple 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 Hub closures), or print out a temporary version at home.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
Currently, all rideshare drivers share the staging lot that is located on St. Jasper Avenue off West College Avenue.
Once you enter the staging lot you’ll automatically be entered into the airport queue. Make sure not to log out of the app, cancel rides, or drive off airport property—you could lose your spot.
The queue is ordered first in-first out, so whoever has been waiting the longest will get the next request.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
Once you receive a request, follow the route down South Howell Avenue.
If you’re with Lyft, look for Lyft signs outside Carousel 2 of the baggage claim, where your passenger will be waiting.
If you’re with Uber, follow the Uber signs nearer to Carousel 1 of the baggage claim.
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 Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
Dropping off passengers at the Milwaukee airport is simple. All you have to do is take passengers to the terminal of their aircraft carrier.
That’s it, then you’re back on the road!
When is the best time to drive at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport?
The Milwaukee Airport is pretty busy, and you’re not the only driver in the area who knows that. This is why waiting in the queue can be frustrating, especially when you could be making money on the road.
What that means is the best time to drive at MKE is when the ratio of passengers to drivers is at its absolute highest.
For flight insights, check your Gridwise app. The Airports tab lets you compare queue times to passenger arrival times. At MKE, the best time for driving tends to be around midday, where there’s a spike in departures.
There are, of course, certain times of year that receive more passengers, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years. Still, the best way to understand rider demand at your airport is with Gridwise.
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. You’ll also be able to create custom alerts for arrivals and departures.
What are some good airport strategies?
Pick up a passenger on the way to the airport!
Don’t just be a driver who picks up passengers at the airport—also pick them up when they are heading to the airport. Gridwise does a great job of telling you when there’s also 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, if it’s a short ride, some companies let you jump back in line after you’ve dropped that passenger off.
Fortunately, if a passenger cancels on you, it does not affect your place in line.
Look out for your short ride bump
After waiting at the airport for a passenger, there is nothing more frustrating than getting a ride that’s just five minutes away. That’s why the major rideshare companies have some form of a short ride bump that allows you to jump back into the front of the line if you get a very short ride request.
To take advantage of a short ride bump, simply complete your short ride and watch for a text message or in-app message that gives you the option to head back to the MKE lot for a spot in the queue.
Always be prepared
You never know when law enforcement will show up, so always keep your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration handy. And don’t forget to have your trade dress displayed, as well as be ready to show your waybill (an in-app receipt of your last drive) to airport officials.
Now you should be ready to make that drive to Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport. Happy driving!