It’s not always obvious which Uber service you should use when traveling to the airport, carrying luggage, or traveling with a big group.
You have to figure out how many people each Uber service can fit, how much luggage the car can accommodate, and how much the ride will cost.
In this post, learn how to use Uber for airports and trips with large groups so you end up requesting a ride that can fit your group and your luggage.
Which Uber service to use when you’re carrying luggage
- 1 person with luggage: UberX or Comfort
- 2 people with carry-on luggage: UberX or Comfort
- 2 people with large pieces of luggage: UberXL
- 3 people with luggage: UberXL
- 4 to 6 people with luggage: 2 Uber Xs or 2 XLs
Is Uber available at your airport? Check uber.com/airports
Most airports allow Uber drivers to drop you off, but not all airports allow drivers to pick you up.
To find out if you can get picked up from the airport you’re flying into, head to uber.com/airports and search through the listed airports. Uber has instructions that help you figure out where to go to request your ride.
What is Uber’s airport fee?
Many airports charge Uber passengers a surcharge for airport drop-offs and pickups. The typical charge is around $4.
Upfront fare estimates include airport fees, so there won’t be any surprises after your ride is over. Uber adds the fee to your fare and forwards it to the airport, so you don’t have to worry about any secondary payments.
Do Uber drivers have to load your luggage for you?
Uber drivers do not technically have to load your luggage for you, but most will offer to help.
When a driver sees you approaching with luggage, they will get out of their car and meet you at the trunk to indicate that they want to help with your luggage. If the driver pops the trunk and stays in the vehicle, that’s your sign to load your own luggage.
- For economy services like X, Share, & XL: Your driver does not have to load your luggage, but they likely will.
- For premium services like Uber Comfort, Black, SUV, Lux: Your driver will load your luggage for you. They may not technically be required to, but nearly all will offer to help with your bags.
Why do drivers load your luggage even if they aren’t required to? To prevent damage to their car. As one driver said, “It’s about a 90% probability that if they remove their own luggage they will drag it over the bumper on its way out.”
Get the right Uber ride type when you have luggage
Many Uber users who avoid the late-night bar scene will only ever use Uber to get to the airport and back.
The conventional wisdom to take an UberX for groups of 4 or less and an XL for groups of 5–7 doesn’t always apply to airport trips because luggage can take up a lot of room, especially if you’re a heavy packer.
Smaller UberX cars can’t hold much luggage, so you may need to request the larger XL service even if you only have 2 or 3 people.
UberX: For groups up to 4 (Or 2-3 people with luggage)
UberX is a low-cost Uber service for up to 4 riders. A group of 3 will be comfortable in almost any Uber X car. UberX drivers favor small, economical vehicles that technically can fit 4, but it’s a tight squeeze.
If you only have carry-on bags, you can fit around 3 people in an UberX. If you have large pieces of luggage, only 2 people will fit in an UberX, and you should probably upgrade to an XL to ensure that all of your bags will fit.
Uber Comfort: For groups up to four in a vehicle with more legroom
Uber created a service for riders who want more room than an UberX but may not need a full-sized UberXL. Uber Comfort is a newer, larger vehicle with more legroom, headroom, and trunk space.
Comfort is a great option for airport rides when you want to be sure that you’ll get a large sedan and not a compact or a hatchback.
Vehicles that qualify for Uber Comfort are full-size sedans, minivans, and SUVs.
UberXL: For groups of 5–7 riders (Or 2-4 people with luggage)
UberXL is the correct service if you have more than 4 people in your group, but no more than 6 or 7.
If your group has luggage, an Uber XL will only fit around 4 people. And if you have lots of bags or very large bags, an XL might fit even less than 4.
Some XL vehicles have small third-row seating, and some are larger SUVs with plenty of room for groups and luggage. You never know what you’ll get, so if you’re pushing the upper capacity limit, it’s wise to order 2 rides.
Uber Black and Black SUV: For those willing to pay for a more luxurious vehicle
The Uber Black and Black SUV service is made up of larger, luxury SUVs and sedans driven by commercially insured drivers. Like an XL, Uber SUV vehicles can hold 5–7 passengers.
UberSUV is the most expensive option — Minimum fares are around $25, and you’ll pay about $4/mile.
Scheduling an Uber with Uber Reserve
It’s possible to schedule an Uber ride up to 30 days in advance or at least 2 hours before your ride.
When you make a reservation, you will see an upfront price for your trip. Your reservation will be offered to local drivers, and you will be notified when a driver accepts your reservation.
To schedule a ride: On the Uber home screen, tap the clock item next to the “Where to?” box.
Enter the date, time, the pickup and drop-off location, then select a ride type. Finally, confirm your details to complete your reservation.
What to do when you request the wrong Uber service
Mistakes happen. Sometimes you order an Uber and discover that it’s not large enough for your group or doesn’t have room for all of your luggage. What should you do?
If your Uber doesn’t have enough room for you, your group, or your stuff, you can:
- Have a second person in your group download the app and request a second UberX or XL
- Cancel the ride and order an XL
Beware of cancellation fees: If you cancel 2 or more minutes after you requested the ride, you’ll be charged $5 for X and XL and $10 for Uber SUV.
You’ll also be charged that fee if the driver shows up and you take more than 5 (or sometimes 7) minutes to arrive at the driver’s car.
If you re-request other Ubers and end up taking a ride, you have a good case to contact Uber and ask for a refund on the cancellation fee. More about Uber’s cancellation fee.
Never pressure the driver to carry more people than they can fit. It’s unsafe, illegal, and it puts the driver in the uncomfortable situation of putting their foot down and refusing to take extra passengers even if it makes the customer unhappy.
An UberX/XL complication that happens sometimes: UberXL drivers can receive UberX requests, so it’s possible to request an UberX and have an XL car arrive instead.
Let’s say you mistakenly request an X with five people in your group, and a driver in an XL vehicle arrives. Your group can fit into that car, but you requested the cheaper UberX ride even though you should have requested an XL.
If that happens, the driver can later ask for a fare adjustment so that you pay the correct XL price for your XL-sized group.
How much will your ride cost?
The Uber app has up-front pricing that shows you how much your ride will cost before you request it. All you have to do is enter your destination into the app and price estimates will appear.
You can split Uber fares inside the app
It’s easy to split a fare using the Uber app. After your ride starts, tap on the driver’s picture, find the “Split Fare” button and select the other passengers you want to split the ride with you. Each person will be charged equally, with a $0.25 transaction fee.
Alternatives to Uber for airport rides: Blacklane and GroundLink
Taking an Uber to the airport is cheaper and more convenient than a cab, but the lack of a reliable scheduling feature might make you anxious when you have a plane to catch.
Blacklane is a ride-hailing app that allows you to schedule your ride in advance with professional drivers who are commercially licensed and insured.
It’s more expensive than Uber, but it can be a more reliable way to get to the airport.
GroundLink is a black-car service that focuses on airport and corporate transit. You can schedule your ride online, in the app, or via 24/7 customer support.
- Lyft at the airport: Which ride to take
- How does Blacklane stack up to Uber?
- What is GroundLink? And when it might be better than Uber
Nancy Arvidson says
What Uber to take for 4 people with 4 or 5 pieces of luggage.
Doug H says
UberXL or Uber Black. Try to imagine the group and luggage in the average minivan or midsize SUV. If that seems like a tight fit, you might need to split up into two groups
What Uber to take 1 person and 3 pieces of luggage
Doug H says
UberX. Unless you have very large luggage that wouldn’t fit into the average sedan like Toyota Prius, Camry, Honda Accord etc