How To Pick Someone Up From The Airport? A Detailed Guide

Picking up someone at an airport can feel like a terrifying experience if you don’t know how to do it.

And whether you’re giving your loved one a ride or chauffeuring a business contact, being on time, understanding parking, and knowing how to find the right terminal are essential to creating a smooth experience.

To pick someone up at the airport start with a look at the airport’s website for correct arrival times, info about delays, and the right arrival terminal.

Arrive 20-30 minutes early, and stay tuned to the airport’s arrivals screen while you wait in the correct terminal, use free general parking, paid parking, or curbside pickup if you’re picking up in a car, and don’t forget to bring water and snacks.

So whether you are planning to pick up someone on Seattle-Tacoma , CVG , Denver, or Sky harbor airport, check out these top 5 things before you head to the airport.

Let’s kick things off

people waiting at the airport
Image / Unsplash

Here Is 5 Ways To Help You Pick Up Somebody At The Airport 

1. Check Flight, Terminal, and Parking Information

If this is your first time going to pick up somebody at the airport, we get that it can be intimidating.

The good news is that you can prep yourself with information to help you navigate the experience faster and easier. 

The absolute first thing to do before you hop in the car to head to the airport is to check the airline’s website for information about the specific aircraft’s arrival time, learn about delays, and double-check the arrival terminal.

It’s a good idea to keep this information up on your phone in case you forget something and so you can refresh it for updates from time to time. 

Check an airport map before you go so you can know the ropes of the airport, the terminals, parking lots, and the distance between parking and the correct terminal.

This way, you won’t end up racing from one end of the airport to the other or waste your precious time circling parking areas.  

Confused what to bring when picking someone up from the airport? Pack water, snacks, and a sign if you’re trying to get your guest’s attention at a crowded gate or arrivals section.

Tip: Check out this Travelpro Platinum Elite 21” Carry-On Spinner, a sleek and versatile carry-on that is designed to fit within the limits of most airlines, to save you from the hassle of the airports and the pesky airline fees.

2. Plan to Get There Early 

Use Flightradar24 to track your friend or passenger flight and get real time information.

Pro Tip

When you’re looking for different ways to pick someone up at the airport, the old phrase “better late than never” isn’t going to fly. 

For domestic flights, plan to get to the airport at least 20 mintutes your guest’s plane is scheduled to land.

If your guest checked their luggage, plan to get there for pick up at airport 20-30 minutes early.

Estimate about 40 minutes’ early arrival for an international flight to make sure you get there on time.

3.  Find Out Where You Pick Up: Gate, Arrivals, or Curbside Pickup

Depending on the specific airport’s rules, you can either head to the gate or arrivals area at the stated terminal to wait for your guest or you may need to find parking in a lot or in the pickup parking area outside the correct terminal.

While some airports still allow gate pickups, many airports have banned this practice for security purposes. 

Some airports, such as Tampa International Airport, Bishop International Airport, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport won’t let you pick up your passenger at the gate unless you have a tourist or escort gate pass for arrival pick up at the airport. 

If this happens, don’t worry. Even if you can’t pick up your guest at the gate, you can still head to arrivals without a ticket. 

You can claim your tourist/escort pass online. Make sure to buy your pass a day ahead of time because airports offer passes on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Always check with the specific airline to see if they allow visitors to wait in arrivals or if you will need to wait in the car.

4. Estimate How Long the Exit Process Will Take

Whether you’re waiting in arrivals or in the car, it’s important to have an idea when your passenger will be ready for pickup. 

We’re sorry to tell you that there’s no magic formula that will calculate the time it takes to get through the airport.

Here are a few things to consider that can help make this part easier:

5. Find Out Where to Park

While we’ve put this step last, you’ll want to nail down parking info before you head to the airport. 

The last thing you want is to arrive late to the party to get your passenger. You also don’t want to hog the curbside parking area for an hour or spend time endlessly circling for open space.

To ensure everyone is on the same page and things go smoothly, it’s important to communicate effectively with your guest.

Pro Tip

How long can you wait at airport pickup? If you arrive 15 – 30 minutes early, whether you choose to wait in the car or head to arrivals, most airports have a general parking section that is free for the first half hour.

For example, at Atlanta Airport, the hourly airport parking option is the best since it gives you easy access to every terminal entrance. 

Where Do I Pick Someone Up At The Airport? 

If the airport allows visitors to wait in the arrivals area, then head to the right terminal to wait for your guest to grab his or her luggage.

The arrivals section will typically have a couple of big overhead screens which offer information about which flights have landed already, which flights are delayed, and which flights are in the process of landing.

Keep an eye on these information screens to get the best updates about your friend’s arrival. 

If you’re already at the gate or arrivals area just watch the display monitors for updates and wait for your person to appear.

If you’re doing pick up at airport at a big place such as the Atlanta International Airport, here’s how to pick someone up from Atlanta Airport.

For a domestic flight to Atlanta International, it’s easiest to arrange to meet near the top of the escalator in the arrivals lobby of Terminal North or Terminal South.

Can you pick someone up at baggage claim? Most arrivals sections are within easy access of the baggage claim. 

Read also : 12 Ways To Kill Time In An Airport?

Where Do I Wait For Someone At The Airport? 

Look for designated spots to pick up somebody at the airport. 

The further you park from the gate, the cheaper the lots tend to be. There are usually multiple parking options near the exit gate.

Express and General parking options are usually best for curbside or arrivals pickups.

Parking far away can save money if your passenger just has a carry-on. Consider parking closer if your guest has a lot of checked luggage to haul. 

If you meet your friend or loved one for curbside pickup, this isn’t the time to hug and catch up.

You’ll only have a couple of minutes to stow your passenger and the luggage, so make sure that your visitor is out before you pull up. 

After pickup, just follow the exit sign to leave the airport and head on your way. 

We hope this helps

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