The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) saw over 33 million visitors in 2019, making it one of the busiest airports in the United States. Located seven miles from Philly’s downtown area, the aviation hub is home to 25 airlines with nearly 500 daily departures. It’s also the largest airport in the state both in passenger traffic and physical size.
This all means high potential earnings for rideshare drivers who are driving in the Philadelphia area. Those millions of passengers need rides to and from the aviation hub– and that’s where you come in.
The Philadelphia International Airport allows Uber and Lyft vehicles at the pick-up and drop-off terminals, but before heading that way, there are a few 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 Philadelphia International Airport, we put together this blog post to serve as a guide. The following topics are covered:
- What should you do before arriving?
- 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 the Philadelphia International Airport and entering the airport queue?
To pick up passengers at PHL, you’ll need your trade dress, which (as you know) is the Lyft or Uber decal that goes on your front passenger windshield facing outward.
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 at the Philadelphia International Airport?
The Philadelphia International Airport has one designated staging area for rideshare drivers to wait in, and it’s located at 1 International Plaza Drive off of State Highway 291, at the end of the Airport Recirculation Road. Note that if you wait in the Cell Phone Lot, though, you won’t be able to receive requests.
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.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at the Philadelphia International Airport?
The driver who has been waiting the longest 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 rider. This will be located at the Arrivals level off of Arrivals Road. Make sure not to wait or circle around if your passenger is delayed– instead, head back to the stage lot.
You might also be allowed to Pre-dispatch, which is when you receive a text and in-app message urging you to head to the terminal. While on your way, you should receive a ride request. If you don’t, no worries. Just head back to the staging lot (within 15 minutes), where you’ll be at the front of the line.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at the Philadelphia International Airport?
Luckily, dropping off passengers at OHL is a lot easier than picking them up. Just head to the departure level at the passenger’s carrier of choice.
That’s it, and you’re back on the road!
When is the best time to drive at the Philadelphia International Airport?
Turn to your Gridwise app for information about all arrivals and departures at PHL, as well as delays and cancellations.
Typically, midday is the best time for airport driving; most passenger arrivals and departures occur sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 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. 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
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 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 the passenger off.
Be ready to present your waybill
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
The fact is, 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 Philadelphia International Airport—and maybe sneak a cheesesteak in between.