Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is probably the worst airport I have ever had the pleasure of traveling through.
Honestly… and I’ve been to a bunch of US airports, large and small. Inside, it’s cramped and dingy, and hasn’t kept up with the traveler amenities that so many other airports have. Outside, it’s a mess— a poorly-planned horseshoe layout that can’t handle the bloated volume of travelers that drive through each day. Everyone gets in the same flow of traffic, no matter what terminal you’re going to, and since the onset of ride share apps like Uber and Lyft, the congestion is beyond. I kid you not: sometimes it takes as much time for me to get to the airport as it does for me to get to my terminal from the airport’s entrance.
LAX is taking steps to try and alleviate this congestion, but many people aren’t going to like their proposed solution. They are banning curbside pickup for taxis and Uber and Lyft rideshare drivers. To reduce traffic congestion in the airport’s Central Terminal Area, taxis and ride shares will need to use the nearby LAX-it pickup area. Bold move, LAX! And one that’s going to annoy scores of your travelers, who will (with luggage, babies, golf clubs and dogs in tow) now have WALK or board shuttles just to get to the terminal. That’s before you suffer through security lines and customs and bad fast food… isn’t travel fun these days?
There are some exceptions to this new rule: Friends or family can still pick you up curbside. Professional livery or personal chauffeur services are also exempt and can pick you up curbside as well.
This might be a good time to share that, while I love Uber or Lyft in a pinch, I have always preferred using a professional chauffeur service when I travel, for a few reasons:
- I like to book in advance and know there will be someone there to meet me.
- I want the people driving me on the LA freeways to be trained, qualified and professional, capable of calmly traversing five-lane highways. I am precious cargo, LOL.
- Having experience with the ongoing saga of LAX helps when you’re trying to get out fast.
If it costs a little more, I’m all for it (and often, it doesn’t… more on that later).
My Go-To Car Service
Blacklane is a new favorite service I’ve been using since the summer and the experience has been lovely. Not only are the rides easy to book, but the easy-to-use app keeps all your info organized, sharing driver details with you an hour before pickup. (Everything from their name to their contact info is included, so you can chat if you can’t find one another.)
Blacklane does more to separate itself from smaller chauffeur companies offering similar services, including the ability to cancel or change pickup details up to an hour before, which would likely be a no-go for a smaller limo company. Life (or, an airport delay) happens, and it’s nice to know you can make changes on the fly.
Speaking of airport delays, your Blacklane driver will track your flight and will wait up to an hour after your scheduled pickup time at no additional charge, so you don’t have to worry if your plane, or your luggage, are taking their sweet time.
Their service isn’t just domestic. Blacklane is a Berlin-based company which provides access to drivers all over the world, and allows you to find an English-speaking driver no matter where you are. This is comforting if, say, you’re landing in Paris and you want to guarantee that you’ll be picked up by someone you can communicate with.
Lastly, the price you’re quoted IS the final price. There are no fun “airport” or “parking” fees that suddenly get tacked on after your ride has been completed. So while it might look like your ride costs more than, say, an Uber Black ride… watch out for hidden fees that come up later.
Move through the airport, Kardashian-style
Ever wondered how celebrities make their way through the airport? They likely have a “handler” that ushers them through the drudgery that us mere mortals have to endure alone. Blacklane offers a genius airport concierge service that can give you the same feel— your assigned concierge meets you at the curb and helps you float through security, will check you into a lounge, and can even sit with your bags (!) if you have to go to the bathroom or grab some food before you board.
Our family was lucky enough to test this service when we schlepped what felt like 1,000 bags with us across the country to move my son into his dorm at NYU… and it was a game-changer. They handled everything flawlessly, and I got all the home decor magazines I needed to drown out the emotional stress of moving my kid across the country.
I can also remember a time when I was traveling alone with a baby and a toddler, a stroller, a car seat and two carry-on bags. How I managed all that by myself— and figured out how to get it all to a bathroom if there was a diaper blowout?— I honestly don’t know. An airport concierge would have been a worth-it splurge to be sure (check here for pricing which varies— a concierge for a family of four at LAX will set you back $500).
Thanks to Blacklane for giving me the opportunity to use the service. I love it so much I’ve become an ambassador!