The lowdown on Uber Reserve at airports
Uber has announced several new app features, like Uber Reserve, to try and gain a bigger slice of the airport travel market. If successful, TLC drivers could stand to benefit with more riders and simpler pick-ups.
This information is correct at the time of writing on 09 November 2021. Image source: Uber
Airport travel isn’t quite as it used to be thanks to the pandemic, but the number of riders looking for flights to and from the airport is steadily increasing.
As of November 7th, 2021, official data put the number of passengers through US airports at more than double it was at the same time last year (2019).
Uber is seeing this trend too. It found that the number of US airport trips on Uber grew 15% in the last two weeks of September, meaning a new record for 2021. Perhaps this reflects the return of more business travel. What’s more, the number of rides may increase further after travel restrictions were eased on November 8th, 2021, with tourists now able to visit the US if they are fully vaccinated.
To make the most of increasing airport trips, Uber has launched a range of updates aimed at making airport travel easier for riders. These are Uber Reserve at Airports, Ready When You Are and Mobile Ordering for Pickup.
Uber Reserve at Airports
Following the launch of Uber Reserve in November 2020, which lets riders book their trips in advance, Uber has brought the same feature to airport travel.
- Early booking – Riders can book their trip up to 30 days in advance.
- Flight tracking – Booked trips will be automatically updated based on flight information, so pickup times will be adjusted based on whether a flight is early or delayed. Uber is working with flight database OAG on this feature, and drivers and riders will be told of any changes to flight times.
- Complimentary wait time – As part of the service, riders are promised that if they’re not quite ready to get their ride straightaway, drivers will wait up to an hour at no charge. Uber will pay drivers for the time spent waiting.
- Curbside pickup – This is designed to match riders at the curb with drivers more quickly through the use of machine-learning technology.
Uber Reserve at Airports is available for Uber Black and Uber Black SUV at more than 20 airports across the country, including JFK and LaGuardia.
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Ready When You Are
This feature allows riders to request a trip once they’ve landed and be picked up when they’re ready to go. There are options for pickup in 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or as soon as possible.
Ready When You Are isn’t available in New York just yet, but it is being piloted at airports in Nashville, New Orleans, Portland, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Toronto.
Mobile Ordering for Pickup
UberEats customers can use this to order and pay for food in-app from airport restaurants and skip the line when picking up their order.
It’s being piloted in Toronto Pearson airport and is expected to come to US airports over the next few months.
Overall, it’s still early days on whether these features will actually work to cut down the sometimes painful airport wait times for rideshare drivers.
Some drivers have reported still getting surge pricing with Uber Reserve at Airports, while others have complained of having to go back and forth between pickup areas and parking lots, and then losing their place in the airport queue.
But it is a signal that Uber is moving away once again from purely on-demand trips, and making a play for more luxury trips as it adds more traditional black car services.
At INSHUR, we want to make our drivers’ lives easier. For TLC insurance from your smartphone, visit INSHUR today.