The World Aviation Festival, organised by Terrapinn, at Excel London welcomed 3,000 participants and featured CEOs from the world’s major airlines and airports as speakers. With the theme of “rethink, rebuild, recover,” delegates and dignitaries talked and discussed varied topics such as travel experience, commerce, IT, digital transformation, distribution, loyalty, marketing, operations, communications, and innovation.

Undoubtedly, the travel industry has changed more dramatically in the last year than it has in the previous decade, and as it works to recover from the pandemic, it must re-establish traveller confidence. Automated biometric and contactless technologies are at the forefront of this movement, exhibiting the potential for a safe and smooth passenger experience.

I represented Travel Radar on the second day of the World aviation festival and had the opportunity to listen to Neil McGonigle, Uber, Head of Cities UK. Neil spoke on improving the airport travel experience. And this intrigued me.

Neil McGonigle, Uber, Head of Cities UK
Neil McGonigle, Uber, Head of Cities UK, delivering his speech at WAF © Nida Zakaria

 Uber: Making Airport Travel Easier & Enjoyable

As airport traffic continues to rise in the aftermath of the epidemic, Uber sees an opportunity to strengthen its position as the preferred mode of transportation for air travellers, as well as improve conditions for drivers who have long complained about the existing chaotic system.

Neil focused on delivering how uber is dedicated to making the airport travel experience better, safer, and more consistent for travellers around the world. He continued to speak on how services such as ‘Uber Reserve’,  ‘ Express Match’, and ‘Ready When You Are’ allow for greater predictability and control in the hands of the riders at airport pickups.

“All of these new features arrive at a time when the corporation is feeling more optimistic about its financial prospects”, said Neil.

Let’s talk about the aesthetics of these features in detail.

Recovery growth | World Aviation Festival
Post Pandemic Recovery Growth of Uber © Nida Zakaria

Uber Reserve:

Uber Reserve at Airports will allow users to reserve a ride up to 30 days in advance. The new function, which includes a complimentary one-hour wait period, is linked to airport departure and arrival KPIs, allowing it to follow planes and instantly change reservations if one is delayed or missed. Uber’s machine learning technology has also been improved to allow for a feature that matches riders waiting at airport curbsides with drivers more promptly.

Flight tracking:

Based on the flight information you provide, uber will automatically alter your reservation so that your driver is ready and waiting at the airport when your flight arrives—on time, early, or late.

Complimentary Wait Time:

If you aren’t ready to board your ride right away after landing, the driver will wait for you for up to 60 minutes at no additional cost.

Curb Side Pick Up:

Your driver will meet you at the curb so you can walk right off the plane and into your ride.

Ready When You Are:

If you don’t enjoy preparing things so far ahead of time, you can request a ride once you arrive, but you’ll only be picked up when you’re ready. ‘Ready When You Are’ allows riders to choose a pickup time that works best for them, whether it’s in 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or as soon as possible. It also adds a level of certainty that a car is on the way.

Uber Eats (Mobile Ordering Pick Ups):

Customers who use Uber Eats may order and pay for their meals on the app and skip the line at select airport restaurants. This feature is now being tested at Pearson Airport in Toronto and will be rolled out to other US airports in the coming months.

According to Neil, airport trips are a strong target for revenue development because they are often longer and have higher prices. According to the company, there was a 15% rise in airport trips in the last week of September, so the new reserve function might allow drivers the opportunity to earn more money, plan their day ahead of time, and have more control over where a pickup begins.

 

 

 

 

 

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