Apparently my itinerary with AA for July 31, 2020 has automatically been changed. My flight is now scheduled to depart at 6:24 A.M. This leaves me in a quandary as I don't have a car, and I am not sure if an Uber/Lyft will be available at around 4 A.M. to drop me off at the airport. I am thinking of scheduling an Uber/Lyft for around 4:00 A.M? Are their services reliable? Is a ride GUARANTEED in this case?


I’m flying out of Manhattan Regional Airport in Manhattan, KS, USA. My flight is now on July 31, 2020 at 6:24 A.M.

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    For future readers: Scheduling an Uber/Lyft only sets an automatic request for that time. I.e. someone does not choose to accept it a few days beforehand. At least that's the way it was when I did it about a year ago. Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 18:47
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    As an alternative, one option could be to stay overnight in one of the hotels near the airport and utilize the hotel's free shuttle to the airport. I checked the "Four Points by Sheraton" and while they have a shuttle they do mention "limited hours". So YMMV for this option.
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 14:01
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    One good reason to still keep the YellowCab number handy.
    – tallharish
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 20:56
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    TIL that Manhattan is a city in Kansas
    – Strawberry
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 12:42
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    Manhattan, Kansas is not really rural — it's a bigger city than several state capitals — but it is a college town. When Kansas State University is in session, it wouldn't be that difficult to get a ride at 4am, but during summer break, in the midst of a pandemic, matters are different.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 20:07

5 Answers 5


No. You'll definitely need a different backup plan.

Source: It is currently 4:23 am on July 27, 2020 in Kansas and when I try to order an Uber from Manhattan, KS to Manhattan Regional Airport, KS, Uber shows "No Cars Available". (Note: Uber availability is based on your starting point, not your destination. If you start in Kansas City, you can take Uber to the Manhattan Regional Airport at any hour.)

Try searching Google Maps for taxi services that you can call and schedule ahead. It gives several in the area such as govangodialataxi.com.

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    Yes, I have been checking up on Uber as well. I ended up changing my flight itinerary by calling AA. It seems like most of these itinerary changes were computer generated due to COVID related issues. All flights from the regional airport are now being flown to Dallas Fort Worth instead of Chicago O’Hare due to COVID related screening issues I believe.
    – user82261
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 9:36
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    I'd suggest either rent a vehicle or ask a friend to drop you off or ask the airport if you can spend the night in the airport's waiting room/lounge.
    – Nav
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 5:44
  • @Nav could the airport refuse that? Aren't airports always open (I mean the facilities, not the shops)?
    – bracco23
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 8:52
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    @bracco23 not all airports are open 24/7; smaller airports with less traffic flow may be shut down overnight and open the facilities some hours before the first departure.
    – Peteris
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 11:00

The issues with Uber/Lyft along with nearly all other companies (at least in the UK) is that the drivers are not employed and choose when/where they work. It is very important under tax/employment regulations that the company don't get seen as an employer, hence they can't act as an employer.

The company you have made a booking with can't force any driver to work at the time you have booked a ride. They also can't force a driver to leave a high demand area (like the airport) where the driver may get a high tipping customer wishing to go to a 5* hotel to drive an area where tips are less likely.

Hence unless you book with a driver directly your booking is mostly meaningless. (Hotels often have a local driver they know that can be depended on.)


Sounds like your issue has been resolved by changing your departure time, but I'll leave my experience here for future readers.

While it is technically possible to schedule an Uber/Lyft ride in advance, I've never felt comfortable with it for early flights, even in a major metropolitan area (Minneapolis). For one thing, the pickup window is pretty wide - usually around 20 minutes - and I don't want to inject that much variability into my morning. And honestly I just don't trust that someone is actually going to show up. I think that the wide pickup window plays into that perception.

That said, I've never actually scheduled a ride in advance, since I can always find a driver. But if I ever needed to schedule a time-critical pickup in advance, I would pay extra for an established taxi service instead of using rideshare.

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    It just schedules the request so you don't have to remember to do it. It's not any more or less likely to get you a timely ride.
    – Kat
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 19:28
  • Understood, but if I book it myself, I can usually nail my desired arrival to the airport within about 5 minutes. The timing is the main factor for me. Additionally, booking it myself allows me to switch between Lyft/Uber last minute if one of them doesn't have the availability I need. I'm not sure what would happen if I scheduled a ride and no one was available during that window (although that's probably the reason they give such a wide window).
    – Dan A.
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 19:45
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    Good for you Uber and Lyft haven't put traditional taxi entirely out of business yet if you only use taxis when the former aren't reliable enough.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 28, 2020 at 7:42

In case this happens in the future, I would offer one alternative path that might work if you happen to use Uber/Lyft at other times: simply ask the driver if they would be interested in working at that specific time to take the ride. Unless Manhattan has increased vastly in population since I last lived there, anyone doing that sort of service is going to be known or at least familiar to at least a quarter of the population, which means that they're less likely to say "yes" and then flake on you because they know word will get around to people who's opinions they care about.

You're not even violating the spirit (I can't speak to the letter) of the ride service agreement, since you're not asking for work outside that agreement, only if they'd be willing to ensure that they're available at the relevant point in time.

As a side note for others: this is a small airport. The notion of having "a line" to get through security is almost laughable; pretty much everything flying out of it has a seat count in the low double-digits, at most. Before 9/11 pilots regularly flew with the cabin door open so that they could chat with the passengers. While you could land something like a 737 there in a pinch, you wouldn't want to, and I'm not at all sure the runway is long enough to allow take-off afterwards. Ride service from the hotel (singular then, probably still) is "they wake up their driver and have him take you there in the one shuttle bus they have."

  • Very minor clarification: there are multiple hotels, but only one that is particularly "near" the airport. Although I suppose that somewhere like DIA the same distance would put it in the airport, so it is somewhat a matter of scale… Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 22:32

It's funny that anytime I've picked couples up for airport rides and there original plans didn't come through. It was because they ordered a Taxi that never showed and there thanking me. A Taxi is FAR from more trustworthy.

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