Uber is rolling out several new features designed to improve the airport journey, so customers in select cities can book a trip to the airport 30 days in advance and send flight information to the driver so they can track their progress in real time.
With airport traffic steadily increasing in the wake of the pandemic, Uber sees an opportunity to cement its position as the first choice for transportation and deliveries for air travelers, as well as make improvements for drivers, who have long complained about the current messy system.
The company is rolling out the Uber Reserve pre-booking feature at more airports across the United States. The company is also working with the flight database OAG to add flight tracking information.
When booking a flight in advance, passengers are required to provide flight information and, within 24 hours of landing, receive notifications of any potential delays or early arrivals.
Uber’s algorithm responds to any time changes, automatically adjusting the booking time and informing the driver. And if there are multiple changes to the arrival time, the app makes sure that passengers aren’t exposed to in-app sounds.
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Uber Reserve debuted nearly a year ago in dozens of markets. Before that, pre-booking a car was the exclusive domain of car rental services.
The company has argued for years that such features were not necessary when a car could be called to your door in about five minutes. The concern was that instead of responding to immediate ride requests, drivers were wasting time waiting for a scheduled customer.
In addition to trip information, Uber also offers 60 minutes of free waiting time at no additional charge. So if you’re not ready to get into the car after landing, the driver is waiting for you for an hour. Passengers may not face additional charges. But the company compensates drivers for the time they spend waiting.
And if you don’t like planning things in advance just yet, the company is rolling out another new feature called Ready When You Are. Customers who request a ride once they land can choose to be picked up within 20 minutes, 10 minutes or as soon as possible. It depends on the speed of disembarking the plane and moving through the baggage area.
And Uber has a new feature to make automatic roadside pickups less complicated. The company uses machine learning to predict demand in advance and then dispatch a certain number of drivers who can be matched with riders more quickly.
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