You could now wait over an hour for an Uber at LAX — here’s how I avoided the headache
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
In case you haven’t heard, pick-ups at Los Angeles International (LAX) are an absolute disaster.
On Oct. 29, the airport moved all ride-hailing pick-ups to the new “LAX-it” lot, a dedicated pickup space adjacent to Terminal 1 at the airport. Regardless of your arrival terminal, you now have to take a bus (or walk) to this lot if you want to use Uber or Lyft. While it’s viewed as a temporary move until LAX’s new Automated People Mover, including a new transportation center east of the terminals, opens in 2023, the airport hopes the move will combat worsening congestion. The thing is, though, it’s done exactly the opposite.
And over the past few days, we’ve heard reports that things have gone from bad to worse, with some passengers reportedly waiting for more than an hour for their rides.
Traffic in Los Angeles is already no joke, and we know the last thing you want to do after a long flight is waste even more time waiting for your ride. If you’re like me, you have food to eat (hello, Jon & Vinny’s!), places to shop and celebrities to find (hello, Chrissy!).
But when I was in the City of Angels for a quick trip over the weekend, I was able to completely avoid the madness with a little something called GroundLink.
GroundLink, if you’re not familiar, is an on-demand black car service that has a website and an app. I ordered my car two days in advance, and I could choose from a standard car to an SUV and everything in between.
I just needed a quick ride from the airport, so I opted for the most basic available service — and they even recorded my flight number so they could adjust my pickup time accordingly. When you book, you can also build in a buffer if you need more time after you land to, say, grab your bag at baggage claim.
Unlike Uber or Lyft, the black car service is still permitted to pick passengers up from any terminal at the curb. I simply walked out of the terminal, told my driver where I was standing and he was there about 10 minutes later. While you’ll definitely have to pay a premium — the 15-minute drive from LAX to my hotel, the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, cost $70 — you can’t put a price on the value of your time (or getting to skip the bus). As an added bonus, my driver had water and phone chargers waiting for me.
But you can even replicate the experience with Uber for a fraction of the price if you order an Uber Black or Uber Black SUV. The same ride to the Hyatt Regency would have cost $26.08 or $35.01, respectively. (Sounds to me like a great time to put your credits from The Platinum Card® from American Express to good use.) As good as my experience with GroundLink was, for what it’s worth, I would recommend grabbing an Uber Black instead. It’s half the price of GroundLink, and you’ll get more or less the same experience. Again, these services are still allowed to pick you up at the curb, no matter the terminal.
It’s not all bad news, either. Uber drop-offs (and those from any other ride-hailing service) are smooth-sailing and not affected by the new policy. Sure, you’ll have to deal with the usual airport congestion you’ll find in virtually any airport, ever, but it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.
Word to the wise: Pay the premium to save yourself some time — and a headache. And no matter what type of service you use, be sure to charge it to a credit card that earns bonus points on travel, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x).
If all else fails, you might just find it’s faster to walk to your airport hotel.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees