George Bush Intercontinental Airport is an epic airport. Not only is it Houston’s go-to airport, but it’s the 2nd busiest airport in Texas with more than 20 million passengers traveling through the airport each and every year.
For rideshare drivers that means a TON of opportunity to earn a lot of money by working the airport.
However, if you’re going to maximize your earnings at airports, you’re going to need to make sure that you are permitted to work at the airport, know how to navigate the airport, and have a solid airport strategy.
Well, we want to make sure every rideshare driver maximized their earnings when driving at Houston’s airport, so we’ve put together a guide to help rideshare drivers be successful when driving at IAH.
See the topics covered in this blog post below:
- What do I need to know or do before arriving at George Bush
- Do you need any permits to drive at George Bush Intercontinental?
- Where is the rideshare waiting area at George Bush Intercontinental?
- What are the passenger pick up rules at George Bush Intercontinental?
- What are the passenger drop off rules at George Bush Intercontinental?
- When is the best time to drive at George Bush Intercontinental?
- What is the best George Bush Intercontinental driving strategy?
Let’s dive in!
What do I need to do before I arrive at George Bush Intercontinental 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: Get your free airport vehicle decal:
At IAH, not only do you need your trade dress, but you also need a permit to be able to pick up passengers. sticker for the airport. Luckily, it’s very easy to obtain. Just complete the below steps:
- Collect the following items
- Texas driver’s license
- Proof of insurance
- Proof of vehicle registration (form or receipt, not the sticker)
- Your phone with the Uber Driver App
- Visit the Ground Transportation office at 2800 North Terminal Rd, Houston, TX 77032 between 8:00 and 4:00 Monday through Friday
- Upon arriving at the permit office, let them know that you are a rideshare driver and show them your Uber or Lyft driver app. You’ll then receive a form to fill out and you can pick up your permit. This airport permit works for George Bush International and William P. Hobby Airport.
Where is the Uber/Lyft waiting area at George Bush Intercontinental Airport?
There is one major staging area at IAH where rideshare drivers from all TNC’s can wait. This lot is located at 5703 Will Clayton Pkwy.
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 George Bush Intercontinental Airport?
Every terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport has a designated zone where rideshare drivers should pick up their passengers. When you receive your ride request, you’ll be directed to go to the correct designated area depending on your terminal where your passengers will meet you.
Check the pink sections on the map below to see where these designated pick up 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 IAH 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 George Bush Intercontinental Airport?
Dropping off passengers at George Bush Intercontinental 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 George Bush Intercontinental Airport?
As we said at the beginning of our guide George Bush Intercontinental 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 IAH 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.
You can also use Gridwise airport alerts to remind you when rider demand is increasing. You can simply set up alerts that will remind you when demand at the airport is at a certain level so you don’t need to continuously check.
What airport strategies should I use?
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 IAH and actually earn money instead of snacking on candy from Sunoco. I’m not the only one who does that, right?