How to convince friends and family to give you a ride to the airport

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Boarding passes in the air if this sounds at all familiar. Your flight is in four hours, and you’ve forgotten to secure a ride to the airport. You check the shuttle schedule, only to learn the next time it comes is an hour from now. You pull up Uber and are promptly greeted with a friendly “2.5x surcharge” notice. You issue one of those desperate “is anyone heading to such-and-such an airport at such-and-such a time?” Facebook status updates and hope for the best. You contemplate enough transportation methods to fill a Dr. Seuss book (“could my suitcase fit on a Vespa?”), frantically scrolling through your contact list for people with cars, preferably who are blood relatives and/or owe you a favor.

Airports are often notoriously hard-to-get-to, often outside the city center and always crawling with people looking for the exact same thing as you are: a ride.

Here’s how to get those poor, unsuspecting friends and family members to drop you off (or pick you up). ‘Tis the season of giving, right?

The very, very public guilt trip

Michele Ursino, Texting in NYC via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Michele Ursino, Texting in NYC via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Best used on: Best friends

She has more social profiles than all the Kardashians combined. She’s useless at multitasking, unless you mean texting, tweeting and Tinder-ing simultaneously. And you know an online guilt trip is the only way to get her to pick you up from your IRL trip. Start with a “stranded at the airport” selfie perched atop your suitcase and post it to Instagram (tag her to ensure maximum subtlety). Write on her Facebook wall to cancel your drinks plans for this weekend because it’ll probably take you at least five days to take the bus home. Finish off with a passive-aggressive tweet along the lines of: “remember that time I drove you to your parents’ cottage in the middle of a snowstorm and we were almost obliterated by a Mack Truck? #goodtimes #goodmemories.” Do your best Dr. Evil cackle and wait for the “I’m on my way” reply.

The reverse-psychology voicemail

Best used on: Moms

“Hi Mom, I wanted to remind you that I’m going on my trip to Munich next week. Just in case you’re looking for me between the hours of 3 and 3:30 p.m. next Sunday, I plan on hitchhiking to the airport. Oh, and I’m going to leave my phone at home so it doesn’t get pick-pocketed while I’m away. So, if I don’t answer in a few hours, just start panicking. I also wanted to remind you that crime rates in my neighborhood have skyrocketed in the past year. Okay that’s all—see you when I get back! Hopefully!”

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The textual barrage

Tore Alvheim, Cell Girl via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Tore Alvheim, Cell Girl via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Best used on: Dads

If your dad sends detailed emails to “noreply@” addresses, calls you whenever he wants to delete an app off his phone, and still signs his texts with a carefully formatted “Love, Dad,” the last thing he wants is to be bombarded by texts from his offspring begging for a ride to the airport—and that’s exactly the evil genius of this method. Seven “please” texts in a row, each sent as a different iMessage, will kick his fatherly tendencies (and technological skepticism) into high gear. Even better if he still hasn’t figured out how to put his phone on vibrate.

The trade-off

Best used on: A high-school acquaintance and/or stranger

When all else fails, there’s always using your exquisitely honed debate skills from pre-law to secure a ride with a friendly stranger (or, you know, that person you haven’t spoken to since high school who happens to have just Instagrammed a photo of her new Prius). Butter them up with a few niceties before bartering whatever marketable skill, future favor or family heirloom. That last one may not help your case when targeting a relative, unless, of course, it’s a younger sibling and they have their eye on something earmarked for you. Is Aunt Bea’s wedding ring worth a ride home from LAX? Maybe.

The souvenir tease

Morgan, Souvenirs via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Best used on: Siblings

Some things never change, and one of them is your siblings’ kryptonite: presents. They can be well into their twenties, salaried and more than capable of buying their own things, and yet put them in any present-receiving situation and they turn into Dudley Dursley on his birthday — fists banging, thundering downstairs with outstretched arms. You know the only thing that will get them out of their sweatpants and into the car to pick you up from the airport is the promise of a really good (or really alcoholic) souvenir. Start your oversell on vacation with a cryptic teaser text so that you can really drive home how much they need whatever kitschy mug/day-of-the-week sock/decorative shot glass you brought home from Iceland for them, like right now.

Main image: iStock.com/Leonardo Patrizi

How to convince friends and family to give you a ride to the airport was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Chelsey Burnside
Author: Chelsey Burnside (22 posts)

Chelsey is a travel, fashion and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Her work also appears in The Coveteur, The Ottawa Citizen, The Toronto Star and various notebooks left in airports.