Sage Advice: Friends Don't Let Friends ... Take a Cab?

By Amy Dickinson | March 11th, 2020

Does an airport pickup refusal equal bad friends?


Couple trying to figure out how to use Uber because their friends refuse to pick them up Image

Dear Amy: We are a group of friends in our early 40s, who have known each other for decades and consider each other closer than family.

When my partner and I travel to see one of these couples, they don’t offer to pick us up at the airport. They have actually said that they would prefer if we just took an Uber to their home, because it is not wise for them to waste two hours back and forth in traffic. At the same time, they don’t expect us to pick them up from the airport, either.

I am a bit traditional. If someone is spending the money to come fly to my city to see me, I should pick up and drop off, or pay for their cab. We have had a candid conversation with our various friends about this, where I stated this, and they stated that their perspective was practical concerning time and juggling multiple responsibilities.

They said that we can all afford to take a cab or car-share. That is definitely true, but these folks seem to think that during college days when we were all scraping by, it was one thing to spend time on airport runs, but now that we can afford airport transportation, we have to choose where we spend our time wisely.

Would it be different if someone was just using the host’s place as a crash pad to do other things? As opposed to making a special trip just to see these friends?

What are your thoughts? Am I not keeping up with the changing times?

Can you please help solve this?

– Curious in New York

Dear Curious: Following is a list of people you are obligated to pick up from the airport: Parents and grandparents; elderly aunts, uncles and elderly or infirm friends; servicemembers, missionaries, or volunteers returning from long overseas assignments; long-distance loves you are eager to impress; kids coming home from band camp.

Here is a list of people you are NOT obligated to pick up from the airport: Friends from college whom you will be hosting in your home for an extended personal visit.

I agree with others in your group. The hours spent on an airport run (which often can turn into more than one run because of delays/cancellations) would be better spent vacuuming the guest bedroom and preparing a nice meal and a fresh cocktail for weary travelers to enjoy, once they arrive.

In fact, unless the circumstance is extreme, I would always rather find my own transportation from the airport; because this gives me the flexibility to dawdle if I want to; without the pressure of someone waiting on me at the cell phone lot. Or – worse – circling the airport like a wayward seagull.

Give this one up.


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In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2020 by Amy Dickinson

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