The Greatest, Most Absurd Showman in Aviation and Free Uber for Buying Beer

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Amusing that TSA is actively pushing people to PreCheck registration. While it’s a good solution it’s also incredibly slow. I’ve prodded my parents for a few years now to sign up for Global Entry, they finally did it 3 weeks ago and their applications are still pending review. Not to mention that it’ll be months before they can get an interview time at our local airport. It seems time for TSA and CBP to work together to improve things…

  2. @Gary Your blog post got me thinking, so I posted this question on Quora. Maybe Uber and/or Lyft will see it and hire some evangelists.

    Then again, maybe an enterprising individual could stand there and chat up folks on line and show them how to download the app (using their promo code of course). Seems like a great summer job for a student and a win-win for referrer and referee.

    If this catches on, you heard it here first! 🙂

  3. Typical AUS trip cost for me was $35. This morning with Wingz $55. Really trying to figure out who actually won in this tirade by ATX City Council. Oh and by the way all these new companies that are springing up (did you see today that now city will fund new TNC companies) don’t have to comply with the fingerprinting law. I head is spinning.

  4. @Jonathan, Uber & Lyft stopped operating in AUS because of majority of city council is in taxi company pockets.

  5. LOL @ Dan that is the metro station at the time of the picture isn’t it? Looks like people are waiting for a train to arrive still at that stop. Totally isn’t Austin.

  6. @Mo I’m aware of the (dumb) situation in AUS but it would work in any other airport where there is a taxi queue. I see it routinely at LGA and I’m sure it’s very similar at other major airports during busy times. Many people just don’t know any better.

  7. @Gary the reason why I have been finding myself in that taxi queue (or calling Red Top) lately is because Uber drivers have been cancelling pickups on me from DCA lately. I live in North Arlington; about the same distance from DCA as your old office. When I put in for a pick up, the driver will immediately call and ask where I am headed. This is against Uber policy but they do it anyhow. If I tell them, they cancel on me. If I don’t tell them, well, they cancel on me. They are playing a game of cat-and-mouse, waiting/colluding to develop the surge and holding out for longer-distance fares. This has happened with increasing frequency over the past months.

  8. Broward County had the same standoff with Uber last year which lasted almost a year; they gave in when their meetings were occupied by Uber drivers and riders. It exposed a generational gap that made them laughably self-conscious about how un-hip and old they are, and will likely see a quicker change to younger leadership.

  9. @Jonathan, you are correct that is photo from DCA. In any case to your point, what we have learned is that the Taxi unions and city governments have been in bed together for years and if you try to pull such a stunt by trying to get people waiting in taxi line to sign up for Uber/Lyft, they would most likely have the Taxi Monitor goons throw you out.

  10. @CW have you complained to Uber about drivers cancelling your requests? I am assuming if this happens frequently Uber will look into it and may also reprimand the drivers who engage in such behavior.

  11. @Mo yep – sure have. It’s funny actually the variability in canned/non-canned responses. One night I was rejected by, no joke, 5 drivers (before anyone asks, my rider score is like a 4.8 last time I checked). So I reported them all. I got responses from Uber on all of them; 4 were like canned responses and one random one (I think the 3rd) gave a $10 or so credit for my troubles. I guess one of the customer service agents was in a good mood!

    If I were running Uber, rejecting a ride would definitely be an immediate fireable offense, because it undermines the whole business – if a ride is not a ride then we have a serious problem.

  12. City Councils being in the pocket of taxi companies goes back decades. That’s why the subway has never been extended to LaGurardia. That’s whey when they built the Metro rail in DC, they intentionally built the station outside of the terminal to increase the hassle factor and encourage you to take a taxi.

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