Lyft

Travel Tidbits from Icelandair, PDXairport, Uber and Lyft

Icelandair has decided to extend the run of its Buddy Hotline Service through July 8.

The free program offers passengers a chance to get travel planning tips via phone or via online messenger from a member of the Icelandair team who’s an Iceland local.

According to Icelandair, each of the “Buddies” has a different expertise, such as local cuisine, outdoor adventures, wellness and Icelandic culture. And each buddy is eager to offer insider tips to help travelers make the most of their trip.  

The Hotline is open weekdays through July 8 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ET and weekends from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET.

PDX testing new ways to leave airports via Lyft and Uber

Like many airports, Portland International often has a very long line of people waiting for their assigned driver from a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft.

Now, thanks to a pilot program being tested by both Uber and Lyft, the line should move much faster.

And, soon, so should the ride-hailing pick-up line at other airports.

First, the airport has separated the pick-up locations for the ride-hailing brands (Uber, Lyft and Winz) that serve the airport.

Uber and Lyft are also using a new system for pickups.

Uber is using PIN technology, a system it has used a high-volume events and festivals, to more quickly connect UberX riders and their drivers.  

Travelers request an UberX ride, receive a one-time code, and enter the line at the pick-up location. When they reach the front of the line, they show their code to the driver and upon validation, start the trip. (Separately, riders can also use Uber products for pick-ups at PDX, including UberPOOL, Uber XL etc. )

Lyft is also offering travelers a new code-based pick-up service.

With Lyft, travelers request their ride and are given a code. When the passenger arrives at the curb, they show the code to the next available driver and off they go. 

Both companies are testing their processes at PDX this week with full implementation expected by May 20. 

The pin-systems should get riders moving more quickly. S we expect the pilot program to become a permanent program at PDX and other airports shortly.

 

Travel Tidbits from an airport near you

Boston Logan Airport – and others – are reminding travelers that Uber & Lyft driver are planning a strike today, which might make getting to and from this and other airports a bit more complicated.

Delta Air Lines announces a “Reclaim My Status” loyalty benefit for its customers. Nice.

And the newest exhibit at St. Louis Lambert International Airport is curated by the Griot Museum of Black History.

Batik Story Quilts: Yoruba and Other Cultural Proverbs, displays Batik tapestry quilts made by artist Tunde Odulande.  

The exhibit includes seven quilts:

The Fairytale of the Blue Ghosts and Their Magical Spree,” Musicians Make Music While the Audience Makes Orchestration,” “Has Man Finally Arrived?,” “If you Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Do,” and “Our Heritage” are on display across from carousel 1 in the Terminal 1 Baggage Claim area.

Sweet Mother” and “Mask of Peace” are on display near the A Concourse entrance. Batik Story Quilts: Yoruba and Other Cultural Proverbs is on display at STL through October 23, 2019 

More ways to leave airports

DENVER AIRPORT WESTIN HOTEL with TRAINS

Photo courtesy Denver International Airport

Good news from Las Vegas, Chicago and Denver for travelers seeking more options for getting to and from the airports.

On Monday, San Francisco-based Lyft became the first ride-hailing service authorized to provide service to and from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

To mark the milestone, Lyft’s website has a code (FLYLAS) good for $5 off two rides to or from the airport, valid for the next six months.

Ride-sharing heavyweight, Uber, has not yet cleared the airport’s permitting process, But the company says it is working on that.

Meanwhile, ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft and Sidecar will be able to legally offer pick-ups at O’Hare and Midway airports beginning in 2016. (The deal with the city also allows the companies to provide service at the McCormick Place convention center and Navy Pier.)

And April 22, 2016 has been set at the opening day for the new commuter rail line that will run between Denver International Airport and Denver’s downtown Union Station.

The Regional Transportation District’s new A Line will make the 23-mile run in an estimated 37 minutes.

Tickets will cost $9 one-way, but for that same $9, travelers will be able to purchase an Airport Day Pass that will allow unlimited bus and rail rides, including to and from the airport, for one day.

Airports making deals with Uber, Lyft etc.

My “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY this month is an update on what’s happening with ride-hailing services at airports. Here’s the story:

Temporary sign at PIT Airport marks where Uber pick-ups are allowed.

After detours and disputes, many major airports are successfully hammering out deals with ride-hailing services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

That means more and, often, less expensive ground transportation options for many travelers.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced that, beginning Nov. 1, Uber and Lyft would be added to the list of authorized ground transportation options at Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington Airports.

At the end of August, the Los Angeles City County approved a permit process that will allow Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), as the ride-hailing services are also called, to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.

Lyft, which already has operating agreements with 16 airports, is currently going through the permitting process at LAX, said airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles, but while representatives from Wingz, Opoli and Uber say they intend to apply, as of last week, no other TNC, had submitted an application for a permit.

“In the meantime, TNCs may continue to drop off passengers at LAX, but they cannot pick up customers,” Castles said.

In July, San Diego International Airport signed permits allowing Uber and Lyft to join ride-hailing service Opoli in offering pickup and drop-off service at the airport and, at the beginning of September, UberX began operating legally at Sacramento International Airport.

Airports in Seattle and other cities are working on and/and or close to announcing agreements with ride-hailing services as well, and if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new budget plan moves forward, ride-hailing services will soon be officially allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at O’Hare and Midway Airports.

“It wasn’t a question of when services such as Uber and Lyft were coming to airports or how to keep them out,” said Kevin Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, the organization which represents most commercial airports in North America, “The big challenge for airport directors was how to regulate the services,” given the various governing models in place at the nation’s airports, he said.

To help move things along, ACI-NA put together a task force that examines the services and offers suggestions to airports on how to negotiate a deal that works for everyone.

“Airports want to provide options for passengers that are coming in and leaving, and if Uber and Lyft are viable options, then we should be providing them,” Burke said. At the same time, though, airports need to make sure passengers are safe and airports need to protect themselves as legal entities, he said.

In 2013, airports in the U.S. and Canada earned $3.1 billion from parking and ground transportation fees, so airports need to make sure the agreements they work out with ride-hailing services protect that revenue as well.

“As we move along we’ll see more and more airports solving these challenges,” Burke said,” but each airport has a different story and there will likely be some snags.”

One of those snags is in Florida, where last week Broward County Commissioners spent more than six hours debating regulations that would have allowed Uber to operate at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

“They provide a very good service, our customers want to see that service, and we want to work with them to get that service here,” said Kent George, director of the Broward County Aviation Department, but negotiations between Uber and the county have “been difficult.”

George said while the airport looks at ground transportation services more as a customer service than a revenue center, he’s confident Uber won’t walk away from the large South Florida market, which includes 26 million annual passengers at Fort Lauderdale, 40 million passengers Miami International Airport and more than 7 million annual passengers at Palm Beach International Airport.

“The airports are working together and I believe we will eventually get to ‘yes’,” George said.

Airports adding – and rejecting – ride-shares

Flying car

Airports across the country are grappling with how to deal with taxi-alternative services and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and each week a few deals are being made.

This week San Francisco International Airport (SFO) announced an agreement with Wingz, a company that connects citizen drivers with people needing airport rides. The pilot permit allows drivers to pick up and drop off at the airport, starting within the next 30 days.

Last month, SFO announced agreements with Sidecar, Lyft and UberX, awarding each a permit for a 90-day pilot program to allow the airport to evaluate the businesses.

This week, the Houston City Council approved rules granting Uber and other app-based companies access to the Houston airports, but in Cincinnati, signs are now posted at CVG airport alerting travlers that only permitted ride-share companies have permission to operate at the airport.