Uber

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 

An Uber ride with a Brussels Airport worker

The Uber driver taking us from Brussels central train station to our hotel was on duty  Wednesday only because he couldn’t go to his regular job out at the airport.  President Donald Trump was scheduled to land in Air Force one at Brussels Airport on his way to attend a NATO summit meeting and the driver said his airline had canceled flights for the day.

I asked him if he had been working at the airport the day of the terrorist attacks last March.  He had. And had lost a friend who was working the ticket counters that day. It took him six months and a lot of therapy to get back to work, he said, and he knows many passengers are still choosing not to travel to through Brussels.

I didn’t ask him if the Manchester terrorist attack was giving him new nightmares, but as we drove through town, past clusters of police and armored vehicles in the streets in advance of Trump’s visit, he said he couldn’t wait till this visit was over.

 

Travel Tidbits: Use Thanks Again points for an Uber ride

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

Ride-hailing service Uber is making inroads at an increasing number of airports and, as you head off for that end-of-summer vacation, keep in mind that you can now use those Thanks Again points you’ve been earning for purchases you’ve made while stuck at the airport to pay for part of an Uber ride.

Earlier this month Thanks Again announced that program participants can redeem 500 Thanks Again points for a $10 Uber promotional code good toward rides – whether at the airport or in town.

What’s Thankgs Again? It’s a free program that lets you accumulate points for purchases (restaurants, shopping, services and, in many cases, parking) you make a more than 100 airports around the country. That’s on top of points/miles you might get for using your credit card in the first place.

Thanks Again program participants can redeem their points for a array of hotel and airline miles and even towards the  TSA Precheck registration fee.

You can download the Thanks Again App and earn 100 Thanks Again Points for enrolling on the Apple App Store or Google Play.  And if you haven’t yet signed up for Uber, use the “ThanksAgain2016” promotional code to get $15 off your first ride.

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.