Like a lot of flight attendants I live out of base, so my commute home means jumping on a flight from JFK to LAX. And since we got rid of our car last February, I then take an Uber or Lyft to get the rest of the way home.
We’ve already written a step-by-step on how to take Uber from LAX, which in short requires a person to get off airport property by taking a shuttle bus to a nearby hotel or car rental agency before requesting a ride. It’s an easy trick and I do it all the time.
But the shuttle buses are finally getting wise to the idea, and some are making it increasingly difficult to use.
Over the past few months a couple of times when I’ve stepped onto a shuttle, the driver has asked me if I had a reservation with their business and refused service when they found out I did not. And for the first time ever, I saw a shuttle bus last night that specifically advertised *NO UBER* intermittently on it’s electronic sign that in the past only listed the name of the hotel it was servicing.
It’s been over a half year since Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Lyft and Uber may be able to begin picking up riders from LAX in the future. But as of last night, it still didn’t work.
In the meantime it’s still pretty easy to use our original work around. Here are three more tricks we’ve used to address the sometimes-difficult shuttle situation.
1. Walk off airport grounds. Jim experimented walking off airport grounds and it’s easy to do so long as you’re traveling light. Plus, it’s free.
The easiest and safest route is to walk straight down World Way from Terminal 1 until it becomes Century Boulevard. Continue walking along Century until you reach Airport Boulevard. Once you’ve crossed the street, you’re off airport property and can request an Uber or Lyft.
This is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from Terminal 1 (about one mile), and is sometimes faster than waiting for a shuttle anyway. Some of my SouthWest flight attendant friends told me they usually opt to walk to their hotel from LAX, rather than wait for their shuttle because it’s faster.
A few tips: If you’re coming from the far end of the airport at Tom Bradley International Terminal, add about 10-15 minutes to your walk. If you’re coming from terminals 4-8, cut through the parking lots to cross over to the other side where terminals 1-3 are, then follow the directions above. Avoid walking off airport property straight from terminal 8 as the sidewalk disappears and it is extremely unfriendly to pedestrians.
2. Take a taxi off airport property. Taxis are more expensive, but you can cut down the cost of a traditional taxi trip by using the taxi to only get off airport property, then take an Uber or Lyft the rest of the way to your final destination.
If you take a cab, tell the driver to take you to the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. It’s on the corner of Century Boulevard and Airport Boulevard, and is just barely off airport property. From there, request you’re UberX or UberPool to get you to your final destination for a fraction of the cost of the traditional taxi.
3. Take a shuttle bus. Even though the shuttle buses are becoming a little more difficult to use, it’s still pretty easy and my go to. Here are a couple tips that have helped me avoid the socially awkward conversation about not having a reservation.
Tip #1: Choose a shuttle bus that has a large crowd getting on it. I’ve only ever been asked about having a reservation if I was getting on by myself or one of a small number of people getting on.
Tip #2: Have an idea of what you’re going to say in advance to any questions you might get from the driver about having a reservation. I’m a terrible liar, so I have a few 100% true pre-formed responses that I use whenever asked about reservations.
For example, when being asked if I have a reservation at a hotel I say, “No, but I’m meeting someone who’s there.” And it’s true, I’m meeting my Uber driver! Plus, my response is sufficiently vague yet personal, that I’ve never had a shuttle bus driver pry into it.
When being asked if I have a reservation at a car rental agency I respond with a question saying, “Oh shoot, I don’t. Do reservations have to be made in advance? Are there usually cars available last minute?” And it’s true, I don’t have a reservation. And while my questions may imply I’m interested in renting a car, they are in fact only general questions because I’m a generally curious person. The driver always assures me that there are plenty of cars available and welcomes me onboard.
— Laura Rowley