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Rachel King

Lyft launches new preorder option at airports ahead of a busy summer travel season

(Credit: Courtesy of Lyft)

A few years ago, before the pandemic, The Atlantic published a thinkpiece/hot take that took social media and friend groups by fire, suggesting there are two types of people: those who like to get to the airport hours early, and those who like to time their arrival as close to boarding as possible.

With Lyft’s new reservation option, the ride-sharing company goes further to suggest there are two more types of people: those who enjoy the travel experience (specifically being at the airport), and those who don’t. And with Lyft’s new preorder reservation experience, the company hopes to make life easier for both, especially anticipating a record-breaking summer travel season this year as the travel industry continues to recover from the pandemic lockdowns.

“We want people to say, ‘I should have taken a Lyft,’” said Lyft CEO David Risher at a media event in Manhattan on Thursday morning.

To be more precise, the updated Lyft app will intelligently match riders and drivers for the most opportune pick-up times, taking into account walk and wait times through the airport, including baggage claim. Essentially, Lyft wants to take the guesswork out of the situation and cut down long wait times at the pickup location (or reversely, forcing passengers to run for their vehicle in case the car showed up far earlier than expected). This also means riders can lock in the rates offered when they make the booking, and do not need to worry about a surcharge if takes a long time to get from the arrival gate to the curb.

“As you walk through the airport, we’re paying attention,” Risher explained. “And as you get to your car, your car arrives.”

A screenshot of the Lyft app for iOS users, who can connect Apple Calendar to the Lyft app to get reminders about booking airport rides.

Lyft is also adding new personal assistant features to making traveling a bit easier. For iOS users, customers can connect Apple Calendar to the Lyft app to get reminders about booking airport rides. Flight and terminal info will automatically appear in the Lyft app for easy reference. For Android users, customers can opt for Google Assistant travel notifications to book an airport ride, using traffic predictions to suggest to riders when it’s a good time to book a ride.

Lyft’s preorder experience is already live at Chicago (both O’Hare and Midway airports) and Los Angeles, and will be available in Austin, Seattle, and New York City (JFK airport) by the end of the month, with the promise of more to come before the busy travel season really takes off.

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