In an effort to expand into more travel markets, Uber is introducing new flight booking services for its UK users. Earlier today, the ride-sharing app Uber and the Canadian travel operator Hopper announced their collaboration to sell domestic and international flights.
According to The Financial Times, Uber has already made airline reservations through its app for a select group of UK customers and intends to roll out the service more broadly over the entire region “in the coming weeks.” According to Andrew Brem, general manager of Uber in the UK, this is “the latest and most ambitious step” that the business has made in its quest to provide a single platform for all travel-related requirements, or a travel “super app,” if you will.
With relationships with companies like Eurostar, Thames Clippers, Omio, National Rail, National Express, and Megabus, users in the UK can already add bookings for trains, boats, and buses to their Uber accounts. Train reservations, according to Brem, have been “incredibly popular” thus far and have seen a 40% monthly increase since the function was introduced in August of last year. How many tickets were really sold through the program was kept a secret by Brem.
In the words of Hopper, Uber passengers can purchase a flight similarly to how typical travellers do by entering their travel information, destination, and dates to discover the flights they want. Users will now be able to choose and pay for their seats on significant airlines directly from the Uber app.
The Financial Times report states that Uber will keep a small portion of every sale and may later think about charging extra for booking flights. Uber’s primary ride-sharing business may gain from encouraging users to make other travel bookings using the Uber app — According to the company, airport trips account for 15% of Uber’s total gross bookings in the UK, with 40% of journeys beginning or ending near transit hubs like train stations.
The UK is a perfect test market for Uber’s expansion into other travel markets because it has a robust public transit system and is one of its largest markets outside of the US. In 2019, the country was among the first to get directions and schedules for public transportation using an app. Brem has acknowledged that Uber aims to “build its core business” and offer other travel booking options like flights to more nations in the future, but he also acknowledges that the company presently has “no firm plans.”