Lyft and Uber banned at LAX — three secret hacks to get out of the airport

LAX aerial

LAX is arguably the worst airport in the world — and it just hit the lowest point ever, especially for Uber and Lyft riders.

Last month, Los Angeles International Airport banned Uber, Lyft and taxi curbside pick-up outside its terminals. Passengers hailing an Uber or Lyft will have to take a dedicated shuttle from the terminal to a parking lot next to Terminal 1. From here, they can order an Uber, Lyft or taxi.

What does this mean? If you have lots of luggage, you have to lug all your stuff on a freaking shuttle to Terminal 1, unload, then load again onto your rideshare. If you’re a regularly chill person, this means you’ll be reaching for a Xanax 10 minutes after landing.

The reason for the curbside pick-up ban? To help eliminate the already congested airport. I can tell you this much: LAX Airport gives me such anxiety and stress (the congestion, the wait times, the construction, etc) that I purposely have not visited LA in years because of this. I’m definitely not a fan (although, full disclosure, I will be traveling there in March, so I am getting mentally prepared).

Anyway, depending on what terminal you land at, it can take you up to 19 minutes to walk or 15 minutes to shuttle to the Uber / Lyft passenger pick-up area (aka: “LAXit“). Then, it will take about 15 minutes for your ride share to arrive. See this graph below.

Uber and Lyft shuttle map from LA Times.

Because it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get out of congested airport traffic once you’re in your rideshare vehicle, you can expect a minimum of 45 minutes to actually get out of LAX, on top of the time it takes to get to your destination. It took this guy 52 minutes just to hail an Uber.

LAX shuttle travel time by LA Times.

Since “LAXIt” began, LA Times points out it has been total chaos. 

That’s a lot of stress! So much that I’m going to add my affiliate link to Walgreens so you can get deals on pills or whatever to chillax.

Walgreens Weekly Deals
In the meantime, here are ways you can avoid all the madness at LAX.

Three ways to avoid the LAXIt nightmare 

1. Go straight to Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel.

Hyatt Regency LAX Airport Hotel has a 24-hour shuttle from the terminals. If you hop on and get to the hotel, you will have less of a wait time and avoid the congested LAXIt area to get home faster. A hotel spokeswoman told LA Times there hadn’t been any complaints from hotel guests, but who knows how long this will last. For now, it works.

You can also hop on courtesy shuttle buses that take you to private parking lots and car rental companies and hail a ride from there, though it’s not advised since those shuttles are asking for proof of reservations due to the madness.

2. Take a limo or livery service.

Private car with JetsetRuby.

While you were spending all your time ordering Uber and Lyft in LA, you forgot independent car service companies still exist! Best of all, limos and livery services still pick up at curbside. They have not been affected. A private car is a last resort because you’ll be spending more money over a ride share, but honestly, I would rather pay an extra $20 to $50 for this service after a long flight to LAX.

When I lived in Los Angeles, there were *tons* of these independent car companies with rates that were only $20 to $50 more one-way than Uber and Lyft.

One of my biggest pet peeves is waiting at an airport longer than I have to. LAX is the last place I want to spend free time. If you’re like me, and you want to avoid the madness of LAXIt, pony up for a private car service. Trust me. You won’t regret it.

3. Splurge on The Private Suite at LAX.

The Private Suite at LAX

I had the privilege of taking The Private Suite at LAX, and you can read about my experience here. It’s a private terminal/service dedicated to VIPs and celebrities that not only picks you up in a BMW *directly off the jetbridge (you don’t step foot in the airport AT ALL),* but they get your luggage for you while you wait in a luxury-drenched, private suite.

Then once they load your luggage in the BMW, they drive you to *another part of the airport*, away from the madness, and have your driver (Lyft, Uber, private limo, friend, whoever) pick you up at their private address and take the back road out of the airport.

Honestly, If you thought Laguardia Airport in New York City was bad, Los Angeles International Airport really takes the cake. LAX is going through a massive, $14-billion renovation, and ongoing construction has often required LAX to close various lanes. Not only that, airlines are *adding* routes, so passenger traffic to the airport is even higher. In fact, passenger volume increased from 63.7 million in 2012 to 87.5 million in 2018, according to LAX officials.

I lived in Los Angeles for three years, and I definitely don’t miss flying out of that airport! If you’re still flying through, definitely click on Booking Buddy below. They scour through all the top booking engines to bring you the cheapest fare available. It’s worth it.
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Happy travels!

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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