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Information for drivers

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

When driving at DCA, learn how to receive these trip requests and get in on the action.

Airport regulations for drivers

Per Airport regulations, drivers must adhere to the terms below. Failure to do so may result in the receipt of a citation or even restriction of access to airport trips. Please note that Uber will not pay for any citations that drivers may incur.

  • When on airport property, the driver app must be open at all times (drivers 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 DCA. The FIFO system only works within the designated, geofenced area and drivers waiting elsewhere will not receive trip requests through the driver app.
  • The Uber vehicle decal (trade dress) must always be displayed on the rear passenger window facing outward. Drivers can obtain this Uber decal at their local Greenlight Hub.

Pickups at the airport

How pickup requests work

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

Waiting for requests

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

Based on the operating agreement with the airport, the waiting area is located at Abingdon and Thomas Ave . If the TNC lot is full, you will need to leave airport property to receive requests. Waiting on the main road—or in the surrounding neighborhoods—to enter the lot is strictly prohibited. You can check to see if the staging lot queue is full in the driver app.

Some things to know about FIFO queues:

  • Proximity to the terminal within the FIFO zone does not create an advantage for drivers or move you closer to the top of the queue
  • If there are no drivers in the FIFO zone, trip requests will go to Uber drivers 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 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

Terminal 1

At Terminal 1, riders will be waiting for you curbside. Always check that your rider’s first name matches what’s in the app.

Terminal 2

Due to construction at Terminal 2, riders can only be picked up at doors 3 or 6 of the upper Departures (Ticketing/Check In) level. Once you accept a trip request, you’ll get a notification letting you know the pickup location where your rider will be waiting. See the map below for more details.

Rental Car Garage

Please note that there is a dedicated pick up and drop off area located across from the Garage A/Rental Car Bus Stop located on National Avenue. Pick up and drop off inside the rental car area is not permitted.

Airport Cancellation Protection

Airport Cancellation Protection is a feature designed to save you time at the airport. With Airport Cancellation Protection, if you get a rider cancellation when you’re already on your way to the terminals, you will be eligible to receive another trip request without returning to the waiting lot.

Dropoffs at the airport

How dropoff requests work

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

Based on the operating agreement with the airport, riders can be dropped off on the Departures level. If you’d like to receive a trip request afterward, you’ll need to keep the driver app on to maintain your place in the FIFO queue.

DCA pickup maps

Drivers may wait for ride requests at the designated staging lot only. You will not receive an airport request outside of this lot (and may be issued a citation).

Follow the signs and enter the Waiting Lot. Keep in mind:

  • The lot is located in Employee Parking Lot B.
  • If you are waiting in the lot, you must do so in a parking space. Failure to observe this rule may result in a citation from police.
  • The lot is "first in, first out"; upon entering the staging line, you will be placed in line for the next trip request.
  • Staging at terminals or elsewhere on airport property is prohibited and may result in a citation.

Pro tips

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 Reagan National Airport can help you maximize your earnings with information about when flights will be landing at the airport and when it will be busiest.


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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