Picking up a friend, family member or business acquaintance at the airport can be a challenge given all the security precautions in place.
Here are some top tips to make your next airport “taxi” trip a breeze:
Arranging the Meeting
Know the airline name, flight number and connecting city of your arriving party. If the flight is delayed or your traveler misses it, it will be virtually impossible to track down your party without this information.
WHN TIP – Get the App: Both Flightview Flight Tracker and FlightAware have apps for iPhone and Android in addition to website interface. (FlightAware’s apps are free.) You can track flights by route or flight.
Designate a specific spot to meet your party because only ticketed passengers may go to the gate area. (Choose something like Baggage Carousel #6; Door #3; near the elevator; by the American flag, etc.)
Some airports now have cell phone lots where you can wait for arriving passengers who can call you when they arrive.
Before You Head to the Airport
Go to the airline’s website and check if the flight is on time or if it’s been re-routed to another airport. Look for the “Flight Status” widget or section (usually on the home page), type in the flight number or the flight’s origin and destination cities.
If your pick-up has to change planes, request a call after boarding each connecting flight, or if there is a flight delay or cancellation.
Save the flight information to your phone or have a hard copy handy for checking airport monitors for flight status.
Clear out your trunk or back seat of your car so you’ll have enough room for luggage.
WHN TIP – Stranger Pick-Up: Picking up a stranger? Provide the traveler with your name and arrange to meet at baggage claim. Once there, hold up a sign with his or her name on it in big bold lettering, and be prepared to show your ID.
At the Airport
Not parking but doing a “curbside pickup”? Understand that most airport pick-up and drop-off areas have a time limit – you may not be able to wait for very long.
If you are meeting a child, disabled or elderly passenger, you may be able to go to the gate, but you will have to go to the airline’s check-in counter to get permission first. Alternatively, you can request that the passenger is brought to you at a security point.
Holidays are major theft periods, so don’t wander away from your party’s bags. When standing at the baggage claim carousel, handbags to a friend or relative, or hold onto them while you are waiting.
For Passengers with Disabilities
According to Transportation.gov, when a passenger with a disability requests assistance from an airline to move through the airport, the airline is required to promptly provide the requested assistance, such as guide assistance for an individual who is blind or wheelchair assistance for an individual with a mobility impairment.
To receive such assistance, the passenger must self-identify to airline staff at the airport as the person with a disability needing this service.
Airlines are required to provide assistance to passengers with a disability as they navigate through different portions of the airport, this includes:
- Assisting you from the terminal entrance (or vehicle drop-off point) to the gate location where your flight is departing, including the security checkpoint, and onto the aircraft to your seat; and
- Assisting you from your aircraft seat on an arriving flight through the airport to the gate location of your connecting flight (if you have a connection); and
- Assisting you from the gate location of your connecting flight to your seat on the aircraft; and
- Assisting you from your aircraft seat on an arriving flight through the airport to the baggage claim area, terminal entrance, or vehicle pick-up location.
WHN TIP – Plan Ahead: The passenger with a disability should make reservations as early as possible and advise the airline what type of assistance is needed. For more tips, read Transportation.gov’s Traveling with a Disability.
Photo Credit: Chuttersnap