We Need to Talk About the Airport Pickup Zone

A newly viral Tiktok video on the pure chaos of airport pickups hit over one million views.

If you are wondering what the airport pickup zone is, let me enlighten you very quickly: It's hell, or its closest earthly iteration of it.

Anybody who, after making it out of the airport after a trip, has ventured into the pickup area knows how chaotic it can get. It's technically designed to make your life easier if someone (whether it is a friend or a ride-share) is coming to get you at the airport, but somehow, it makes it more difficult.

In a new TikTok that recently went viral with over one million views, the video poster highlights some of the most unhinged airport pickup area traits in a sarcastic tone. What it feels like, really, is that neither you nor the person picking you up should be there—but at the same time, there's nowhere else you're actually allowed to be. It's as if the pickup area was, somehow, illegal.

"They're not allowed to pull up to the curb, they're not allowed to have a car in front of them or behind them or next to them on either side," jokes the TikToker. "They're supposed to kind of hover above another vehicle."

Plus, it feels like you only ever have five seconds to find your car and hop in it—it's like a timed race. "They're not allowed to slow down," says the video poster. "They have to speed up at that part so their friends or family or whoever [is picking them up] has to do the opposite of a tuck and roll."

Basically, you can't do "anything that is 'designed to do in this area' in this area." The comment section very much agrees. "Seriously why does it feel like we're the getaway car at a bank heist," reads one comment. "They start yelling the MOMENT they sense you tapped your breaks in that zone," says another user. Other commenters jokingly suggested a much more viable option, instead. "I typically just fly the plane to the house," says one of them.

So why, exactly, are airport pickup zones as bad as they are? As Vox has previously reported, one reason why is that the proliferation of ride-sharing platforms has contributed significantly to congestion in these areas over the past decade, and most airports are simply not built for the masses of traffic generated by pickups. Put simply, airports are aware of the problem and some are working on it, but the solution will take some time to play out.

In the meantime, be patient and don't forget that airport staff at the pickup zone are just trying to do their jobs.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She will beg you not to put pineapple on pizza. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.