Evil rideshare company Uber has been hunting for ways to stay relevant amidst countless lawsuits and scandals, and it might have just found a winner: airport pickup reservations that can be booked 30 days in advance. For an extra fee, your reservation will automatically change if your flight is delayed.
Uber is rolling out its Uber Reserve advance booking feature to a handful of airports across America, which includes most of the big-name airports that you’d expect: Atlanta (ATL), Charleston (CHS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD + MDW), Dallas (DFW + DAL), Denver (DEN), Fort Myers (RSW), Houston (IAH + HOU), Miami (MIA + FLL + PBI), Nashville (BNA), New Orleans (MSY), New York (JFK + LGA), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), Seattle (SEA), and Washington DC (DCA + IAD).
Uber is partnering with a flight database to add flight tracking information. When you make your reservation, you’ll be able to put in your flight details so your potential driver will be aware of any changes to your schedule.
Now, anyone who has flown knows that the arrival process is not always smooth and simple. Baggage can take forever, and if you’re flying internationally, you might have to worry about customs. Because of that, Uber is offering an hour-long complimentary wait time at no additional charge to riders. Drivers, though, will be compensated by the company for long wait times.
Uber also plans on introducing a few other technologies, too. There will be the Ready When You Are feature, which allows riders to schedule a ride 20 minutes in advance, 10 minutes in advance, or as soon as possible, depending on how long you think it’ll take to get off the plane and get your baggage. The company is also leveraging its new flight info partnership to dispatch drivers to the airport area during busy times so there will be less of a wait for spontaneous rides.
One thing that Uber doesn’t note is how it’ll manage busy pick-up areas. It’s one thing to make life easier for riders by allowing them to have rides waiting for them. It’s another to then have pick-up lanes clogged with waiting rideshares while other folks are trying to facilitate pick-ups as well.
I’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. From my own perspective, I’ve never successfully booked an Uber reservation in advance, though I have most definitely tried. In every case, my ride has failed to depart its initial destination until the exact moment I booked the reservation, or it just hasn’t showed up at all. Here’s to hoping this airport scheme works a little more efficiently, for Uber’s sake.