Lyft is bringing a new feature to make travel more convenient and less anxiety-inducing with the option to pre-order a ride that will be there as soon as you exit the airport. As the summer travel season gets underway, more Americans are flocking to the airports, with as many as 49% of people saying they will travel more in 2023 than they did last year, according to a Forbes survey.
Lyft’s CEO David Risher announced the company is capitalizing on the opportunity to make travel as easy as possible by ensuring the requested ride is waiting as soon as the traveler walks out of the airport. Lyft spokeswoman Stephanie Rice told Gizmodo in a phone call that the airport feature is intended to remove anxiety and stress for travelers.
After landing at the airport, the traveler opens the app to call a car and will be met with a prompt asking if they have checked bags. Lyft will then match them with a driver and instead of waiting for an uncertain amount of time after exiting the airport, a driver will instead be assigned to arrive as they get closer to the pickup location.
Rice said the feature rolled out Thursday at LAX Airport in Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare Airport and will soon be available to travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, JFK International Airport in New York, and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington. “This is sort of a big deal,” Rice said, adding, “This is the first major product announcement in a while.”
Risher also announced that the airport feature would have the added element of syncing with Google and Apple calendars to reduce the guesswork when getting to the airport. By connecting to the calendar, Lyft will be able to access the time the flight is scheduled to depart and will notify the traveler when it is time to call a ride, based on traffic and how long it will take to get there. “It gets rid of another stressor when going to the airport. Lyft will just pop up and say call a ride right now,” Rice said.
Lyft is in an uphill battle to get ahead or at least next to its main competitor in the ride-share space, Uber. Uber has dominated the landscape recently as Lyft struggles with layoffs and massive dips in market shares.
Uber has also recently released features to make navigating the airport easier. In March, the company said it’d soon begin offering step-by-step, visual and written instructions for getting from landing gates to one of the company’s pickup areas at more than 30 airports in the U.S. and abroad.
Lyft’s new airport feature comes as the company also decided to officially discontinue its shared ride feature nearly a decade after it introduced pooled rides in 2014. The company stopped the pool feature during the height of the covid-19 pandemic and demand for the service never came back.