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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Information for driver-partners

Riders at SEA can request rides with Uber when leaving the airport. Learn how to receive these trip requests and get in on the action.

SEA Regulations for driver-partners

Per SEA regulations, drivers must adhere to the terms below. Failure to do so may result in a citation or even restriction of access to airport trips.

Please note that Uber will not pay for any citations that you may incur. If you receive a citation, the Port will allow a 10 day period for appeals if you believe the citation was unjust. If you fail to appeal or pay the citation invoice, these will be sent to Uber to pay the Port, however you will receive email communication and the corresponding amount will be deducted from your earnings.

  • When on airport property, the Uber driver app must be open at all times (driver-partners must not go Offline until exiting the airport area)
  • We’ve instituted a special first vehicle in is the first one out (FIFO) system at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The FIFO system only works within the designated, geofenced area and driver-partners waiting elsewhere will not receive trip requests through the Uber driver app.
  • The Uber sticker (trade dress) must always be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield. Driver-partners can obtain this Uber sticker at their local Greenlight Hub.
  • The Port of Seattle no longer allows pickups at Sea-Tac Airport and may issue you a citation unless your vehicle has a valid and visible TNC endorsement decal on your windshield.
  • The For-Hire permit must be available to display to airport staff upon request.
  • Driver-partners may not wait longer than 10 minutes in the loading areas.
  • Driver-partners must keep headlights on at all times.
  • Driver-partners must not exceed the posted speed limit of 10mph.

Pro tips

  • Driver cancellations: Trip cancellations can take away from the great Uber experience that both riders and driver-partners expect. Please remember that driver-partners who improperly use the app and intentionally disrupt the service, including excessively canceling rides or asking riders to cancel rides, may lose the ability to receive trip requests to and from the airport through the Uber Driver app.
  • Ground transportation and airport security staff: Airport rules are as important as traffic rules. Airports expect driver-partners to follow the instructions of the airport staff.

Pickups at SEA

How pickup requests work

It is easy to receive trip requests from riders leaving the airport. However, these trips work a little differently than other requests.

Waiting for requests

At SEA, Uber’s technology uses a first-in-first-out (FIFO) queue. This means that, in order to receive a trip request, driver-partners need to enter a designated waiting area, located within a “FIFO zone”. Driver-partners will then be placed in a virtual queue where the first driver-partner to enter will be the first to receive a trip request.

To meet environmental goals, the Port of Seattle will only allow Uber vehicles with a blended MPG rating of 45 or higher to wait for airport requests at the waiting area. You can check your vehicle’s MPG rating here. However, if your vehicle does not meet the MPG rating you may still be able to receive requests through Re-Match.

The waiting area is located at 2902 S. 171st Street SeaTac, WA 98188. (see map below). Driver-partners can continue to use the 3037 S 160th Street holding lot to wait for trips.

Some things to know about FIFO queues:

  • Proximity to the terminal within the FIFO zone does not create an advantage for driver-partners or move you closer to the top of the queue.
  • If there are no driver-partners in the FIFO zone, trip requests will go to Uber driver-partners in the area - outside of the FIFO zone - based on proximity and other factors.
  • You can lose your place in line if:
    • You go offline on your Uber driver app
    • You drive outside the FIFO zone
    • You do not accept multiple incoming trip requests in a row
    • You cancel multiple rides (if the rider cancels, you will remain at the top of the queue)

Picking up your rider

Once you accept a trip request, the pickup location at SEA is located at the “TNC/Rideshare” zone on the 3rd floor of the parking garage, to the left of the taxi line (see map below). The entrance to the parking garage is on the left hand side of the drive right before entering arrivals.

Drop offs at SEA

How drop off requests work

Uber is a reliable option for travelers heading to the airport.

Based on the operating agreement with SEA, riders can be dropped off at the Departures or Arrivals drives. If you’d like to receive a trip request afterwards, you’ll need to keep the Uber driver app on to maintain your place in the FIFO queue.

Re-Match

Starting on December 5th, 2017, Re-Match will be turned on at Sea-Tac Airport.

Re-Match allows all partners, including those that don’t meet the MPG restriction, who just completed an airport dropoff to temporarily receive a pickup request without having to go to the Staging Lot.

To qualify for Re-Match, partners must complete a dropoff at the airport. If you're in the terminal and don’t receive a request after a few moments, it means there was no pickup available and you need to leave the terminal drives.

If you don’t receive a Re-Match trip, you can still head to the holding lot to wait in the FIFO queue for an airport request only if your vehicle meets the MPG restriction. Please do not loiter in the terminal, as idling at the curb can still result in a citation.

If you do receive a Re-Match trip, follow the route and use the south entrance to reach the pickup location at the 3rd floor of the parking garage. You may want to call your rider to let them know that you are on the way!

Frequently asked questions

  • My car does not meet 45 MPG, does this mean I can pick up riders at Sea-Tac Airport at any time?

No. Only driver-partners with cars that meet 45 MPG or above will have access to use the airport's holding lot. However, under the conditions of the Re-Match pilot cars that don't meet the MPG restriction will be able to pick up only if they receive a Re-Match trip after completing an airport dropoff.

  • Can I just drive to the terminal to qualify for Re-Match?

No. Partners will only be eligible for Re-Match after dropping off at the airport.

  • Does Re-Match increase my wait time in the Holding Lot?

During times when there are many dropoffs the opportunity for Re-Match is higher. At these times the wait times at the holding lot may increase. However, Re-Match usually reduces the number of cars in the FIFO queue such that overall wait times generally remain about the same as before.

  • What is the fastest way to go from Departures to the pickup location?

SeaTac Airport has requested that drivers use the Airport Expressway and the return-to-terminal loops to reach the pickup locations. Please do not exit on 170th street as those intersections can become very congested.

  • I’d like to know more about Re-Match.

You can learn more about the Re-Match program by listening to this podcast.

Pro Tips

Helpful tips for airport trips

1. Getting your car ready

Air travelers can have lots of luggage with them, so you may need to free up trunk space to fit it all in.

2. Helping with luggage

It may take some time for riders to load their luggage into your vehicle. The airport is a busy place, so an extra set of hands can speed things up and help get your riders to their destination faster.

3. Identifying your riders

Asking your riders for their names before starting a trip can ensure that you’ve picked up the right person out of the crowd.

4. Checking the arrivals schedule

Checking the arrivals schedule at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can help you maximize your earnings with information about when flights will be landing at the airport and when it will be busiest. See SEA ARRIVALS SCHEDULE.

5. Making music optional

While tunes are nice to cruise to, riders may prefer silence after an early morning or late night flight. Asking them what they prefer can go a long way and help provide a great experience!

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