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International Student Services

Airport Pickup

There are a few different ways to get from the Columbia Airport to USC's campus. Many students rely on taxis to take them to or from the airport, but others often use the Airport Arrival Assistance offered by the Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI). Plan ahead and know which method you will use before your plane lands in South Carolina. If you use a taxi or shuttle service, it is expected that you leave a tip of at least 15% for your driver. Cash is usually the most accepted payment method, but some services offer credit card or electronic payment options.

Airport Arrival Assistance

The Columbia Council for Internationals (CCFI) often offers free airport arrival assistance to new international students at USC. You will need to request assistance at least 2 days prior to your arrival date. Due to volunteer availability, there is no guarantee that CCFI will be able to pick you up from the airport. If CCFI is unable to provide airport arrival assistance to you, you should plan to take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, apartment, or residence hall. To request assistance, send an email to

Taxi Services

Calling a taxi in Columbia is not as easy as it is in some major cities that are filled with taxis on every street. You will need to call the taxi company directly if you need a taxi to pick you up. Often, there are some taxis waiting at the airport for new arrivals, but this is not a guarantee. We recommend that our international students call one of the following companies if they need a ride to or from the Columbia airport:

When you call, be prepared to tell the operator your initial pickup location, the number of riders that will be in the taxi, and your final destination.

Uber and Lyft

As an alternative to taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft both require that you download their mobile app and create an account with them before you request a ride. Uber and Lyft are similar to a taxi service, but you control the experience from your smartphone. It has many modern features that most taxi services do not offer. It allows you to have an accurate estimate of the cost and time of your trip; you are able to see your driver's location and picture as they are driving to pick you up; and you can pay electronically and provide feedback about your experience. The Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) has complimentary Wi-fi, so you can utilize Uber in the airport.

Columbia Charlotte Shuttle

If your flight is arriving at or departing from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), you may wish to use the Columbia Charlotte Shuttle for your transportation to and from the airport. This service offers to pick you up from the Charlotte airport and drop you off at your residence hall, apartment, or hotel in Columbia for only $55. The Columbia Charlotte Shuttle is not affiliated with International Student Services, so please communicate directly with the shuttle company if you have any questions or concerns regarding this method of transportation.

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