Uber airport, is it worth it?

One question that divides drivers working for the Uber platform is whether it is worth waiting at the airport to get a fare. The Uber airport system works differently from the normal fares and booking system outside airports. Hence the question of this article.

Global answer

My answer would be yes and no. Or that it depends on the circumstances.
The fare applied at the airport is obviously even less that the standard one. £1 per mile and 15 p per minute is not the end of the world. Okay, okay, the base fare of £10 is much higher than the £2.50 that you get outside an airport. It can be a good fare if the journey is a long one over 15 miles. But we need to take into account the waiting time at the airport that is clearly variable depending on the activity of the airport and the number of cars waiting.

Uber airport virtual queue

We should always check the number of vehicles present in the virtual queue as well as the activity at the arrivals terminal. Generally, the waiting time in Heathrow and Gatwick airports is reasonable. This is less the case in Stansted and Luton airports. A queue of no more than 150 cars in Heathrow should result in a non-eternal waiting time there. About 1 hour max. The same queue with less than 50 in Gatwick might be worth a break in the waiting area. This provided that the activity of the arrivals is busy.

Never wait in Stansted or Luton airport regardless of the level of activity in terminals. You could end up there lingering for 3 or 4 hours with a queue not moving. It seems that there are some dodgy virtual queue scam happening there. What a waste of money and time would that be especially when you could end up having a fine for waiting too long in a private parking! Unless a ping is showing up after a drop off in one of these airport, waiting there is a no-no.

Let’s do the Maths

Some people would argue that the fare is not high enough to wait in an airport. All right, let’s do the maths. Let’s take two people in Heathrow airport, driver 1 and driver 2, one waiting after a drop off and the other one leaving straight to central London.

First of all, the one waiting at the airport would use his waiting time to have his break, maybe have a nap, eat, possibly do his prayers and go to the toilets. The one heading towards centre London would still be starving, wee in unsuitable places and miss a well-deserved break. Hey, these are not proper maths, are they? Here it is:

Driver 1:
Time spent: 45 minutes waiting + 40 minutes to central = 85 minutes.
Money earned: £30 + potential tips from friendly tourists.
Driver 2:
Time spent: 40 minutes to central + 2 average trips in jammed central of 40 minutes = 80 minutes.
Money earned: £16
And driver 2 had to drive all the way to central empty handed spending fuel.

Even if this example is not what always happens, it is often the case. So, it could be worth waiting in Heathrow or Gatwick provided that the waiting time is not too long.

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