UK Airports During COVID-19: What Uber Drivers Need To Know

UK Airports During COVID-19: What Uber Drivers Need To Know

Airports like Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Stansted are usually ideal places for Uber drivers to pick up passengers and get tips. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we look at whether it might be worth waiting elsewhere.

This information was updated on 10th February 2021. Before you visit an airport, make sure to check the latest government guidance and the procedures specific to the airport.

Can passengers fly to UK airports?

A number of new measures have been put in place in recent days for travellers entering the UK from a ‘red listed’ country, with further changes coming on 15th February 2021:

  • The UK has placed 33 countries on a ‘red list’. From 15th February, people travelling from these countries to the UK will need to quarantine in a government-approved hotel.
  • In England, the quarantine bill will cost £1,750 per person to cover transport, tests and accommodation.
  • COVID tests on days 2 and 8 of a person’s quarantine will be mandatory from the 15th February.
  • Penalties for failure to follow these rules are being stepped up, with a prison sentence of up to 10 years for travellers who fail to disclose that they have arrived from a ‘red listed’ country.

Passengers from other countries who are not on the ‘red list’ are able to come to the UK for essential travel, provided they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test. These passengers must still self isolate for 10 days on arrival even if they have tested negative for the virus. Importantly for Uber pick-ups, though, passengers from non ‘red listed’ countries are able to travel by private hire or public transport to their home or the place where they will self-isolate.

With the increased threat of the virus, it’s important that drivers stay safe while transporting passengers and keep the car well ventilated to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Can passengers fly from UK airports?

People are able to travel from UK airports for essential reasons only: to complete work that cannot be done from home, for medical appointments and for educational reasons. With police presence being stepped up at airports, many passengers will be instructed to go home or they will be given a fine. There will undoubtedly be some drop-offs to do, but with the UK toughening travel restrictions there won’t be any holidayers booking a ride.

What are the rules where I work?


Travellers leaving England will soon have to make a declaration on why they need to travel, which will be checked by carriers prior to departure. Essential travel is permitted, as long as passengers state whether they came from a ‘red listed’ country and quarantine accordingly for 10 days on arrival.


Passengers must present proof of a negative test result or they will not be able to board a flight to Scotland without a valid reason and could be fined £480 on arrival. Essential travel from non-‘red listed’ countries is permitted, as long as passengers self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.


From January 2021, the Welsh Government issued a list of countries and territories that are subject to additional measures where isolation for 10 days is required along with all members of a traveller’s household. Travel must be essential only.

Airport drop-offs and pick-ups 

There have been, and continue to be, some changes to terminals.

  • Gatwick’s private hire waiting area moved to the Long Stay South car park in Zone A (Postcode RH6 0NY) in late October after changes made to accessible terminals (see the map below for more info). All flights are currently operating from the North Terminal.
  • At Heathrow, all flights are operating from Terminals 2 and 5.
  • At Manchester airport, it was announced that from the 11th November 2020, all flights will be operating from Terminal 1until further notice.

New LGW waiting area

However, when it comes to taxi drivers picking up or dropping off passengers, there have been no other major changes at these key airports.

Fees for drop-offs and pick-ups

  • Birmingham: free drop-off, £6 pick-up
  • Gatwick:  £5 drop-off, £4 pick-up
  • Luton: £5 for both drop-off and pick-up outside the terminal
  • Manchester: £5 drop-off, £6 pick-up
  • Stansted: £7 drop off, £10 pick up (orange zone)
  • Glasgow: £4 drop-off and pick-up

Entering the airports

Airports also require anyone entering to do the following things:

  • Wear a face covering while travelling through any part of the airport
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Keep your hands clean on the go by using hand sanitiser
  • Make contactless payments where possible

And of course, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you must stay at home.


Wherever you go to pick up passengers, remember that both you and your rider will need to wear a face covering. Read more about face coverings here

As a private hire driver, don’t forget that INSHUR offers flexible short or long term insurance options. If you’re not quite ready to return to passenger pickup when lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to ease, then delivery work could be a good option. Remember, with INSHUR you are automatically covered to do delivery work at no added cost during the lockdown.



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