The Price Premium for Airport Ubers Around the World

You’ve made your way through passport control and finally spotted your luggage trundling its way along the carousel… now it’s just a matter of getting home. After a long and tiring day of traveling, the thought of getting on a packed bus or train with all your bags can be an unappealing prospect. A taxi, on the other hand, will whisk you and your souvenirs from the airport to your front door quicker than you can say, “Did we definitely get all the bags?”

Of course, in the world of taxis, rideshare company Uber is king, having logged 2.1 billion trips across the world in the first few months of 2023 alone. Hailing an Uber from an airport can be a bit more complicated than from anywhere else; in many airports, for example, there are dedicated rideshare pick-up spots that riders need to find. At some airports, it seems Uber can lock riders into pricier premium options, and other airports require departing rideshare users to pay a surcharge.

But have you ever wondered how much more you’ll have to pay for an Uber coming home from an airport than from anywhere else? We went in search of the most expensive airport Uber premiums in the U.S. and around the world.

What We Did

The team here at set out to discover which airports around the world carry the highest Uber price premiums, i.e., the airports where taking an Uber home is more expensive than a regular, non-airport Uber trip into the city.

We began by compiling a seed list of major airports globally and on every continent and, for each airport, selecting a nearby town or village. Then, we calculated the distance and price of an Uber trip from each airport to its respective city center and the distance and price of taking an Uber from a nearby town or village to the city center.

This enabled us to rank the top airports where taking an Uber home carries the highest price per kilometer premium.


  • Taking an Uber from Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Chile to the center of Santiago costs 203.5% more per kilometer than taking an Uber the same distance from the closest town to the city center. That’s a higher Uber premium than anywhere else in the world.

  • It’s more expensive to take an Uber home from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, than any other U.S. airport (116.4% per kilometer price premium).

  • In Europe, the top three most expensive airports from which to take an Uber home are in the UK, led by Gatwick Airport in London(70.3% per kilometer price premium).

Chile’s Busiest Airport Is the Most Expensive for Ubers

After tackling the crowds at Arturo Merino Benítez International — Chile’s busiest international airport — travelers looking to make the onward trip to Santiago’s city center have a nasty surprise on their hands: an Uber will cost them 203.5% more per kilometer than it would cost someone from a nearby town or village heading the same way. That’s a higher price premium than any other airport in the world.

In January 2024, strict new regulations in Chile will effectively prohibit a huge proportion of current rideshare drivers from operating, a move Uber is rallying against. “If [the law] is put into effect as it is today,” comments Federico Prada, Uber’s general manager in Chile. “Drivers will be reduced by almost 50% and prices will become more expensive … there are certain people who need to travel in one way or another and they will have to do so paying extra. That seems like an injustice to their mobility.”

Four Californian Airports Among the Most Expensive in the U.S. to Take an Uber From

In the U.S., the John Wayne Airport in Orange County comes top, from which taking an Uber to the nearest city (Santa Ana) costs 116.4% more per km than if you hailed it in the closest town. This airport is one of four in our ranking that are situated in California, a state where Proposition 22 — which exempts companies like Uber from giving employee benefits to drivers — was recently cemented in state law.

Next comes Logan International Airport (110.2% price premium). Uber drivers haven’t always found it easy to make their money’s worth ferrying passengers from New England’s largest airport to Boston; the temporary closure of the Sumner Tunnel, which carries traffic from Logan to the city, meant the route was often gridlocked in Summer 2023. “I try to not take the rides coming from the airport,” commented one driver. “It’s so frustrating because only to pick up one to two people, you lose three hours or four hours of the day.”

Gatwick Airport in London Has Europe’s Priciest Uber Premium

Catching an Uber from London’s Gatwick Airport to the city center costs 70.3% more per kilometer than catching an Uber going the same way from the closest town. That’s a higher price premium than any other airport in Europe. Another London airport comes in second place — Heathrow Airport (69.7%), from which the longest-ever Uber journey (at 422 miles) originated.

London is just one of many cities around the world that has had a fairly strained relationship with Uber since the rideshare app became available locally, but in November 2023, Uber sought to smooth over tensions with local cab drivers by allowing drivers of the city’s iconic Hackney carriages to accept Uber bookings. “Nowadays more passengers than ever are using apps so Uber opening up to Black Cabs will be a huge advantage to the trade,” says cab driver Hameed Hameedi. “Ultimately, more passengers booking trips means more cash for cabbies and I’m excited that we are now working together.”

Not everyone is quite as happy, though. According to Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA): “We have no interest in sullying the name of London’s iconic, world-renowned black cab trade by aligning it with Uber, its poor safety record and everything else that comes with it.”

In South America, Brazilian Airports Are the Most Expensive to Take Ubers From

Meanwhile, Presidente Castro Pinto International Airport has the second-most expensive Uber premium of any airport in South America. Taking an Uber from here to the nearest city (Joao Pessoa) is 112.6% more expensive per kilometer than going to the city from a nearby town. This airport is just one of 12 Brazilian airports in our top 15 ranking, a list that includes São Paulo–Guarulhos International Airport (29.4% price premium), the country’s biggest and busiest airport.

Uber is not having a great time in Brazil. Not only is it currently fighting a $205 million fine for the “irregular” way it works with drivers, but a new government app launched in Rio de Janeiro promises riders more availability and cheaper fares. Soaring gas prices have also seen local Uber drivers struggle to make their money’s worth from short trips, given that Uber takes a 30% cut.

Tasmania’s Hobart International Airport Has Oceania’s Most Expensive Uber Premium

Next, we honed in on the continent of Oceania. Australian airports dominate our ranking, led by Hobart International Airport in Tasmania, from which taking an Uber to Hobart’s center is 188.6% more expensive per kilometer than going to Hobart from somewhere else. Riders traveling from here also have to shell out a $3.85 rideshare access fee. Also ranking highly are Newcastle Airport (132% price premium) and Cairns International Airport (121.5% price premium).

Three airports in New Zealand also make the cut, including Wellington International Airport (90.7% price premium), the first in the country to accept Uber. Following a landmark ruling in 2022, New Zealand is one country where Uber is legally required to treat drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.

Why Airport Ubers Are Uber Expensive

So what is it about the airport that makes catching an Uber so expensive? A Reddit user looking for answers posed the question on the r/Uber forum. The responses offer a mix of factors, from a surge in demand after a plane arrives to the effort it will take the driver to find bookings in a residential area after dropping off airport-weary riders. Yet another user suggests that it’s because Uber is taking advantage of the fact that travelers at airports are often stuck for transport options.

It could also be because airports aren’t always desirable pick-up spots for Uber drivers. Local regulations might require Uber drivers to get special decals for their cars or even ban cars altogether that were manufactured before a certain year.

If you plan on taking an Uber home from an airport, make sure you research beforehand where that airport’s rideshare pick-up and drop-off spot is located. You might also want to research and download any local taxi apps that can offer you more availability and cheaper fares.


To find out which airports around the world have the highest premium for taking an Uber at the airport, we wanted to see how the fare changes when you take a journey to the city center it serves from the airport itself and the closest nearby village.

First, we crafted a seed list of major airports globally and by continent (top 100 busiest worldwide and top 50 busiest by continent — excluding Africa, where we took the airports with at least 1 million passengers in the countries it operates in) using

Then, we checked if Uber was available for each airport. We excluded those airports if Uber did not operate or the fares showed were for taxis.

Next, we manually selected a town/village next to each airport to draw the comparison.

We recorded the distance and price for a trip from each airport to the city center it serves. We then recorded the distance and price for a trip from each airport’s nearest village/town and the city center. We picked UberX fares where possible, but if a different type of Uber were available, we’d pick it if both the airport and the nearby town had the same option available. We excluded flat fares and trips shorter than 5km.

After that, we converted all currencies to USD (as of November 9th, 2023) and calculated the price per km for each trip.

This allowed us to calculate the price premium (per km) for airport trips (compared to the nearby town) to the city center and rank accordingly.