4 Highly Effective Strategies This Uber Driver is Using to Maximize Airport Earnings

4 Highly Effective Strategies This Uber Driver is Using to Maximize Airport Earnings


Do you remember what a great year 2014 was?……

Back in those days, we could we still watch a Seahawks game without someone saying “They still should have ran the ball”

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I still can’t believe they didn’t run the ball though

And rideshare companies had yet to slash their rates (again), and decide to take a larger cut on every ride (again).

Well, it’s not 2014 anymore. We all have to accept that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make great money as a rideshare driver. You just have to have a great strategy.

A D.C. area Gridwiser, Vegas, realized this when he started driving for Uber late last year in his town of Newport News, Virginia.

“The thing about driving for Uber, Lyft or Via is that you have to be smart. You need a strategy that really works for you, and that’s what I developed,” says Vegas.

For Vegas, this meant learning how to make airports work for him – and he’s not the only one. In Gridwise’s latest survey, nearly 40% of drivers said an airport was their most lucrative venue.

We caught up with Vegas and a few other rideshare drivers over the last few weeks to talk rideshare strategy, and airport strategy and today I want to share what we learned in this 4 step strategy for maximizing airport earnings for rideshare drivers. We’ll cover:

  1. Always understanding rider demand
  2. Avoiding long queues
  3. Never forgetting about departing passengers
  4. Using airport alerts to improve your awareness of rider demand

Let’s dive in!  

Always Know how Much Rider Demand is at Your Airport

Vegas currently lives in Newport News Virginia but travels to D.C. almost every week to drive since rider demand is higher in the D.C. Metro Area. One of his first stops is always one of the D.C. area airports.

“Once I get near the Fairfax area, I start to think about what airport is going to be surging or have the most rider demand. That’s where I head first,” says Vegas.

He figures this out by turning on his Gridwise app and checking passenger demand. With Gridwise he can even see detailed flight information to see if there have been any canceled flights.

He simply checks the three D.C. area airports and finds out what airports are going to have the most passengers, and that’s where he heads to.

From there, he usually ends up somewhere in the city of D.C. and can make the decision to hang out in the city and wait for a ride, or head over to one of the other airports.

“After I complete an airport trip I check Gridwise again and see when the airport is going to be peaking. If Dulles or Reagan is going to be peaking again soon, I’ll usually head back over.” says Vegas.

Many other rideshare drivers actually use Gridwise to plan when they’re going to be at the airport a day in advance.

“Every night I check the airport graph,” says Jay, an Atlanta area rideshare driver. “I can plan my entire day out right on the app, a full day ahead.”

By keeping a constant eye on airport demand, drivers are able to always know where they should go to find long and lucrative fares.

Avoid Long Queues

While we were talking to drivers about their airport strategy a driver said something that struck me.

“I’m finding more and more that it’s not just about finding where the most rider demand is, but it’s also about finding where there is the least driver supply.”

We could not agree more with this, especially when you’re tackling airports.

That’s why drivers that frequent airports will check the Gridwise airport queue to make sure they are coming in at a time where passenger demand is high, but driver supply is moderate or low.

D.C. drivers like Vegas are also able to add their position in the queue to let other drivers know if they will have a long wait. Working together as a driver community like this helps us all make better driving decisions and be more profitable.

Don’t forget about departing passengers!

Rideshare drivers must remember that the airports have both arriving AND departing travelers and the departing passengers need to get to the airport too. That’s why drivers like Roger in Chicago are hanging close to the common business hotel areas a few hours before a departure peak.

“Two hours before a peak departure you can find me hanging out near the Westin in River North.” says Roger. “More times than not I’ll find a passenger in a HURRY to get to O’hare. Then I can usually pick up a passenger at the airport and head right back downtown.”

Use Airport Alerts to Remind You When Rider Demand is Increasing

Roger can’t always be staring at Gridwise though, not when he’s with passengers.

“Passenger demand at the airport is always changing during the day. Receiving alerts on passenger demand and delays has been critical for helping me maximize my trips to and from the airport.”

Roger uses Gridwise to set up alerts about the information that he cares about. This means everytime that passenger demand is at a certain point or there are flight delays, he’ll receive an alert.

When You Get a PAX, Build Rapport Early

We’ve talked on our blog previously about the power of positive interactions and how you should create as many powerful interactions with your prospect as you can.

Vegas does this by greeting his passengers with a smile and making sure they know exactly when he turns the trip on.

“Many people think showing passengers when I turn the trip on doesn’t matter. For me, this just helps build trust right off the bat. It makes passengers feel comfortable that I’m not a bad guy trying steal from them.” says Vegas.

This type of trust building technique immediately helps Vegas build rapport with his customers and brings their guard down, so sparking a conversation with them becomes much easier.

Now, Vegas has the advantage of being an incredibly charismatic guy… the entire time we were talking he was cracking jokes, smiling, and just having a great time.

But without building rapport with passengers by showing you’re genuinely trying to help them have a better day, it can be tough for that charisma to come out.

That’s why another common tactic drivers use at the beginning of their ride is to ask passengers if they are in a hurry, to show that they are genuinely trying to do their best for them as a customer. If a passenger is in a rush, there is likely not a lot you can do, but showing this concern goes a long way.

After these two positive interactions that build rapport with passengers, Vegas is more easily able to spark a conversation that leads to a fun ride, a great rating, and a nice tip.

BONUS: Be Memorable

We mentioned that Vegas was a charismatic guy before. But there are a lot of rideshare drivers with the gift of gab. There definitely are not a lot of drivers that give their passengers as memorable of an experience as Vegas.


By making sure that he has a way to remember them.

“It’s cool that I get to meet 100’s of people, but I want to remember my interactions. Uber lets riders post messages to drivers after the ride and let them know they appreciate them, but we don’t know who they came from. I like to have people sign my guestbook so I can document all of my interactions.” says Vegas.

We love this. This doesn’t mean every driver should have a guest book in the back of their car or some gimmick. It does, however, help to do your best to make your passengers day. Them remembering you will go a long way when it comes to ratings and tips.  

What’s your airport strategy?

Now we want to hear from you rideshare drivers! Are you driving airports? What’s your strategy? Let us know in the comments below!


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