San Antonio International Airport is one of the most important hotpsots for rideshare drivers in the San Antonio area. Whether you want to or not, you’re almost guaranteed to spend some time dropping off or picking up passengers here.
But the good thing is that SAT can be an easy way to maximize earnings for rideshare drivers because there are over 4.1 million travelers coming in and out of the airport each day. That means a ton of opportunity for rideshare drivers.
But if you’re going to maximize your earnings at airports, you’re going to need to understand the ins and outs of San Antonio International and develop a solid airport strategy.
I want to make sure that you are making as much as possible while working at San Antonio International Airport, so the Gridwise team and I have put together this instructional guide to help Uber and Lyft drivers be successful when driving SAT.
See the topics covered in this blog post below:
- What do I need to know or do before arriving at San Antonio International?
- Do you need any permits to drive at San Antonio International?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at San Antonio International?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at San Antonio International?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at San Antonio International?
- When is the best time to drive at San Antonio International?
- What is the best San Antonio International driving strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What do I need to do before I arrive at San Antonio International Airport and enter the airport queue?
Step #1: Get your trade dress
If you’re going to be a rideshare driver in Houston, you’re going to need your trade dress, and if you’re going to dress at Houston’s main airport, you’re REALLY going to need your trade dress! If you are seen picking up passengers with no trade dress, be prepared to receive a ticket!
So before you do anything you must make sure that you have your Uber or Lyft decals. You can easily pick these up from one of the rideshare companies.
To get your Uber Decal you can visit the local Greenlight Hub.
Step #2: Know the airport regulations
One of the nice things about San Antonio International is that you don’t need a specific airport decal to drive there, however, there are a few key rules and regulations that you must follow.
- Always keep one of your rideshare apps on at all times while on airport property
- Don’t wait in any other areas except the designated staging areas (see the map below). Not only is this against regulations but you also won’t be added to the queue. So if there is no room in the staging lot you must leave. This means NO WAITING ON AIRPORT PROPERTY!!!
- DO NOT pick up passengers directly from the terminal.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at San Antonio International Airport?
Uber and Lyft drivers now share a waiting area at the corner of Airport Blvd and Northern Blvd. For directions, simply click on the blue area in the map below and you’ll be routed to Google Maps.
Once you get the staging lot you’ll automatically be entered into the airport queue. It will be up to you to find a spot to wait.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers pick up passengers at San Antonio International Airport?
Pick ups for rideshare drivers at San Antonio International Airport are very simple. There is just one pick up area for rideshare passengers that serves both terminals A and B.
Check the map below to see where these designated areas are located.
The Uber/Lyft app will automatically direct the rider to go to the designated area depending on their terminal.
You should also note that Lyft has launched their “pre-dispatch” feature at SAT that basically tells drivers to start heading toward the pickup area before you have actually received a ride request.
A pre-dispatch message looks like this:
If you receive this message, head towards your pick up point but keep an eye on your app as you may not receive a request. I know, that’s annoying, but just drive back to the TNC staging lot and you’ll keep your place in line.
Please also note that Lyft has been turning this off at airports around the country, so this feature may disappear at any time.
How should Uber and Lyft drivers drop off passengers at San Antonio International Airport?
Dropping off passengers at San Antonio International Airport is easy as can be. You can simply drop passengers off at their requested carrier and that’s it! No special rules here.
When is the best time to drive at San Antonio International Airport?
As we said at the beginning of our guide San Antonio International Airport is one of the busiest in the world and there are tons of passengers traveling through every single day no matter the season. However, you’re not the only driver that knows that. So there is also usually a ton of drivers at the airport.
So the best time to drive at SAT is when the ratio of passengers to drivers is at its absolute highest.
To understand when this ratio is highest, check your Gridwise app and compare queue times to passenger arrival times.
There are of course certain times of year that receive more passengers like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, and the Saturday before big basketball games (Go Texans!), however, the best way to understand rider demand at your airport is with Gridwise.
What airport strategy should you use at San Antonio International?
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.
Look out for your short ride bump
After waiting for some time at the airport for a passenger, there is nothing worse than getting a ride that’s 5-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 look out for a text message or in-app message that gives you the option to head back to the TNC lot for a preferred 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 placard displayed.
Now you should be ready to make that drive to SAT and actually earn money instead of snacking on candy from Sunoco. I’m not the only one who does that, right?