I won’t use Uber for food delivery anymore, but I will still use it in a pinch when I need a ride to the airport. That turned out to be a curse, blessing, and nearly a curse again on my way to LAX Airport.
My Wild Ride To LAX On Uber
I was in the San Fernando Valley and had to get across town and over the hill to Los Angeles International Airport. For most trips, I drive and park my car at Mark’s house, then walk over to the airport. This time, I had a commitment until 11:30 am in North Hollywood and a flight at 1:00 pm…there was no time to park in Westchester and walk to the airport.
I ordered an Uber at 11:25 am for my 11:30 am pick-up, but after five minutes the driver canceled. Uber located a new diver…12 minutes away. I navigated to Lyft and ordered a car at the highest time priority… 18-minute wait! Five minutes later, the second Uber canceled. It took a few moments for a driver to be found and then I faced another eight-minute wait.
I had left very little cushion in the first place, but now there was no cushion…now I was unlikely to make my flight. A red Toyota Corolla finally pulled up and I hopped in. Maria greeted me and must have seen the stress on my face. I explained to her that I had an imminent flight and she told me that she would do her best.
Maria is a mother and grandmother. She’s a strong woman who has been through a lot. We had a nice conversation as she (safely) weaved through traffic on I-405 enroute to LAX.
She did remarkably well and as we finally got off the freeway just a couple miles from LAX, it looked like I would easily make the flight. The ETA had me into Terminal 7 at 12:35 pm, which would give me 10 minutes to clear security and get onboard. For Angelenos, that’s pretty remarkable considering how much highway traffic is present on Sundays.
But then Maria made a mistake. She said that she knew a shortcut and before I could say anything else, she made a sharp right turn and sped down a side street before entering LAX on Sepulveda Blvd instead of Century Blvd.
Traffic was jammed. Our ETA went up to 12:45 pm. My heart sank. I figured I would miss my flight and have to take a redeye instead in economy class.
Over the next 10 minutes, there was only silence in the car. We made little progress against the stack of cars and short traffic signals. But at 12:48 pm, we did pull up into T7.
I ran as fast as my leg would carry me to Clear, quickly went through the security checkpoint, and ran to my gate, which was thankfully one of the first beyond security. It was 12:52 pm.
Typically at 15 minutes before departure, those who have not boarded are off-loaded and standbys are cleared. Miraculously, the gate agent and not done this yet. As I reached the gate, she called out, “Klint?” and I nodded my head. I had been literally seconds away from losing my seat to one of the crowd of people in the gate area on standby.
Huffing a bit, I walked slowly down the jet bridge, onto the plane, and settled into my seat in the last row of first class. I barely made it…but I made it.
I’m very grateful to Maria and left her a substantial tip, despite the wrong turn. She meant well and I appreciate that she did all in her power to get me to my flight on time (and did). The fact that two drivers canceled on me is really something I hate about Uber, but in the end, I made it to LAX. Thank you, Maria!