Very often, when you book a trip on the fly, you have less time to prepare. Such was my latest trip to Colombia. I booked this award trip just five days before take off. I’ll be covering more details about the trip in upcoming reviews. However, this incident at Bogota airport surely started off my trip in the most unexpected way possible. It all happened when I booked an Uber ride.
As usual, I used my Platinum Card in order to check into the Airspace Lounge at San Diego Airport. I flew American Airlines from San Diego to Bogota. I was glad the the flight went smoothly as planned. The connection at DFW was smooth and I was able to access the Centurion lounge at DFW, thanks again to my Platinum Card.
After a timely arrival into Bogota airport, immigration and customs took forever, as there was a long serpentine line. Flight 1123 landed into Bogota on time at 11:10 PM. However, I wasn’t out of the airport until well past 12:30 AM. As soon as I exited the airport, I was accosted by yellow cab drivers, looking to drop me to my hotel. I quickly opened the Uber app on the phone and looked for a ride.
The app showed a few cars around the airport. The first driver accepted the ride. It took him more than the anticipated time. After over 15-20 minutes of wait, he bailed out and canceled. At this point, I was wondering what was happening. I tried my luck again. This time a driver accepted it and then called me.
At this point, he asked me to come to Parking Lot C and meet him near a pedestrian walk way. I assumed that this probably might be a designated area like they have at most airports for Uber pickups. I walked across to the parking lot and waited by the pedestrian walk way.
After a few minutes, the car entered the parking lot and picked me up. As I was loading my luggage into the trunk, the driver politely asked me if I could sit in the front. I obliged. As we drove off and exited the airport to head towards the hotel, he casually said that Uber was not legal in Colombia.
At this point, I was stunned. Here I am in the middle of the night at around 12:30 AM and the driver’s telling me that Uber is illegal while taking an Uber ride. Out of concern, I asked the driver the reason about what was going on. He just smiled and didn’t say much. Thankfully, the driver was extremely friendly and dropped me safely to my destination.
The Pundit’s Mantra
After checking into the hotel, I ran a few searches about the whole situation. It seems that Uber isn’t technically legal in Colombia. However, it seems like everyone seems to have no problem with it. This thread on reddit delves deeper into the inner working of what’s happening with Uber.
What do you think about the whole situation? Would you be comfortable booking an Uber in a foreign country if you knew in advance that it was not technically legal? Let us know in the comments section.