ground transporation

Ride review: ReachNow car share to the airport

ReachNow

Seattle, like many hip cities, has a variety of car-share and ride-on-demand services – including Uber, Lyft, Zipcar and car2go.

Back in April, we got another – BMW Groups’ ReachNow, which set up its North American headquarters here and announced plans to expand this car sharing program to three other cities by the end of 2016 and, eventually to 10 North American cities.

The fleet of cars caught my eye, and includes the BMW i3, the BMW 3 Series and the MINI Cooper, but my main question was: Will I be able to drive one of the cars to or from the airport?

Back then, I couldn’t.

But starting August 10, nicely coinciding with a week-long summer trip out of town, ReachNow started its airport service, which allows members to pick up a car anywhere within the Home Area, drive to Sea-Tac Airport and park at the Wally Park Premier Garage in one of the 30 spots dedicated for ReachNow cars. From there, it’s a quick shuttle van ride to the terminal.

It works the other way too – from the airport, back into the city – and, thankfully, the cars are accessible at 2 a.m., which is when my flight home to Seattle from Boston landed and I decided to take my test drive.

Finding the car in the garage and exiting the lot was a snap and I felt safe on the 18 mile ride home in a Mini Clubman, which I could park near my front door.

I had promotional credit to cover the ride and the bill ($0.41 per minute) came to considerably less than my other options at that time of night, which were a taxi, a shared van, an Uber ride, or calling in a favor from a friend.

Want to try it out – now or later? ReachNow is offering free lifetime membership as well as that $0.41 per minute introductory rate through the end of August and they’re landing in Portland, Oregon in mid-September.

Heading to the airport? Hold onto that rental car.

Courtesy State Library of New South Wales , via Flickr Commons.

Courtesy State Library of New South Wales , via Flickr Commons.


Disclosure: National Car Rental sponsored this project.

You finished your meetings, filed that report and now there’s not much else to do but take another pass at the breakfast buffet, check out of your hotel and head to the airport to hang out before your flight.

But don’t return that rental car just yet.

If you plan it right and do a little homework, you can squeeze in a leisure adventure on the way to the airport.

Here’s are some great attractions nearby 5 major airports:

San Francisco International Airport: Burlingame sits on San Francisco Bay, and is home to the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia. Nearby is the Coyote Point Recreation Area, which offers a beach promenade, marina and great viewing spots for watching planes take off and land.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is just seven miles from the sprawling Museum of Flight, with more than 160 air and spacecraft, flight simulators and a brand new, 3-acre Aviation Pavilion that features many of the large commercial aircraft in the collection.

New York’s LaGuardia Airport is less than 2 miles from the Louis Armstrong House and Museum in Corona. The world famous jazz musician and his wife, Lucille, lived in a modest house in Queens and guided tours of the home are offered every hour.

Los Angeles International Airport – The Flight Path Learning Center and Museum is on the south side of the airport in the LAX Imperial Terminal and features airplane models, uniforms, photographs and a wide variety of historic artifacts relating to the aviation industry and the history of Southern California. In-N-Out Burger, a favorite among plane spotters, has a branch in nearby Westchester, less than 2 miles away.

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: Founders’ Plaza, on airport property (but almost two miles from the terminal), has an observation area offering great views of airplanes landing and taking off, telescopes, picnic tables and a radio broadcasting air traffic control communications. Historic downtown Grapevine, with wine tasting rooms, public art, shops, restaurants and an entertaining glockenspiel clock tower, is just 7 miles away.

The easiest and most time-efficient way to reach most of these near-the-airport locations is by car. A good option: National Car Rental, where some of the time-saving benefits offered to Emerald Club members make it easy to squeeze in leisure time on a business trip.

At these busy airports and many others, Emerald Club members get to bypass the lines at the check-in counter, pick out any midsize (or above) car from the Emerald Aisle and, when they return to the airport, skip the paperwork and get an email receipt after dropping off the car.

I’ve got a work trip planned to Denver and I’m planning now to squeeze in a drive out to Golden to see the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum and grave before heading back to Denver International Airport, returning my rental car and heading home.

National_Emerald Aisle_image

Don’t give that rental car back just yet. Take a fun side trip before heading back to the airport.

Free Uber rides for some Chicago travelers

UBER ST PETE

Ride-hailing service, Uber, and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater have teamed up to offer some travelers free rides in Chicago.

On Wednesday mornings during February, starting at 6 a.m., Chicago Uber users will see a “Warm Up Wednesday” message in the app and a promotional code to unlock a way to request a free ride.

It should work at the airport because Uber is now authorized to serve both O’Hare and Midway Airports.

In addition to the offer for a free ride, every Uber rider who unlocks the promotional view is automatically entered to win one of four 4-night getaways for two, including airfare, to St. Pete/Clearwater.

And as a bonus: a handful of specially wrapped Uber cars will have virtual reality goggles on board, offering riders a chance to tour St. Pete/Clearwater’s Gulf beaches during their Chicago rides.

Cool, classic ground transportation

Sure, some people fly to Detroit. But if you’re on the highway between now and January 8, keep an eye out for these three classic red cars from the collection of LeMay – America’s Car Museum, in Tacoma.

LEMAY RED CARS WIDE

The vintage red cars – a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad, a 1966 Ford Mustang and a 1961 Chrysler 300G – are traveling as a pack on a 2,400-mile road trip from Tacoma, Washington back “home” to Detroit for the opening of the North American International Auto Show.

The Drive Home, as the event is called, is making stops along the way for rallies with local car enthusiasts in Boise, Salt Lake City, Grand Juction, CO., and various cities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan.

Check the schedule so you can be sure to get an up close visit with these cool cars – or drive your vintage car along.