Ranked as the 17th busiest airport in the United States with over 38 million passengers a year, MSP International Airport is seriously no joke. That stacks up to a LOT of arrivals and departures—and a lot of riders for Uber and Lyft drivers looking to make a nice profit on airport rides. In fact, if you’re a rideshare driver in this area, the aviation hub is probably already a popular destination for your riders.
But if you’re hoping to maximize your earnings at Minnesota’s busiest airport, you’re going to need to know how to navigate the staging lots, arrival queues, and required airport permits.
To help you out, we at Gridwise put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers see success when driving at MSP 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 MSP International Airport?
- Do you need any permits to drive at MSP International Airport?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at MSP International Airport?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at MSP International Airport?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at MSP International Airport?
- When is the best time to drive at MSP International Airport?
- What is the best MSP International Airport strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What should you do before arriving at MSP 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.
You can order a Lyft decal from your Dashboard and print a temporary emblem while waiting for yours to come in the mail.
In addition to the app decal, you need to have an airport decal on the inside windshield directly behind the rear view window. Order yours by filling out an application here, then pick the decal up from Landside Operations T2 Office, 3350 East 72nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55450. You’ll need your drivers’ license, a debit or credit card for the $25 permit fee (the only payment methods accepted), and an update on your driver status.
Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft do not reimburse Minneapolis’s permit fee.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at MSP International Airport ?
Currently, all rideshare drivers share the staging lot that is located on Post Road.
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 MSP International Airport?
There are two terminals at MSP International Airport.
If your passenger request comes from Terminal 1, drive down Glumack Drive, past “Parking” and “Commercial Lane.” Stay in the left lane and continue toward “Ticketing” and “Departure Drop Off,” then take a sharp left to “App-Based Ride Services” and pick up your passenger in the lot on the left side at doors 6 or 7.
If your passenger is at Terminal 2, drive down Humphrey Drive past “Commercial Lane.” Take the next left in the “Authorized Vehicles” area, then pull over and pick up your passenger from the lot on the left side.
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 MSP International Airport?
Dropping off passengers at the Minneapolis airport is simple—all you have to do is take passengers to the terminal of their aircraft carrier, along either the North or South curb.
When is the best time to drive at MSP International Airport?
The Minneapolis airport is pretty busy, and you’re not the only driver in the area who knows that. This is why the queue can be frustratingly long, especially when you could be making money on the road rather than waiting.
What that means is the best time to drive at MSP 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. The best time for driving is typically 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 that 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 is 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 will 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.
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 MSP 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 MSP. Happy driving!