Home Travel Tech CLEAR & Uber Partnering For Airport Rides But Their Plans Are Unrealistic

CLEAR & Uber Partnering For Airport Rides But Their Plans Are Unrealistic

by joeheg

One of the tools we use to make traveling through airports easier is CLEAR. While the TSA checkpoints and even the TSA PreCheck lines can stretch through the airport, we’ve never waited for more than a few minutes for a CLEAR agent to scan our boarding pass, check our iris scan or fingerprints and lead us to the front of the PreCheck line.

So when I saw that CLEAR was partnering with Uber to provide a seamless experience from your home or hotel to the gate at the airport, I wanted to check it out.

According to CLEAR, here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open: Open the free CLEAR App and tap the “Home to Gate” tile
  2. Predict: Share your location and flight details, and using data driven insights, Home To Gate will tell you the best time to leave for your flight
  3. Reserve: Tap the Get A Ride With Uber ” button and the Uber app will have a ride reservation ready to go with all your trip details, creating a simple and easy travel experience.

The tool doesn’t work for flights more than 1-2 days in the future, so I looked for an upcoming trip we have planned to New Orleans on Southwest but changed the dates.

Following the metrics on the CLEAR Home to Gate tool, we’d need to get an Uber from our house at 9:18 PM for a 10:55 PM flight, taking into consideration that we have TSA PreCheck.

While this may be a real-time estimate, Southwest tells passengers to get to Orlando Airport 120 minutes before their flight to ensure enough time to check bags, get through security and to the gate (MCO is currently suggesting to arrive 3 hours before departure time but I’m questioning if that would be necessary for a 10:55pm flight).

If I’m only asking for an Uber to get to my house at 9:18 PM, that’s assuming it’s only a 20-minute drive to the airport (which yes, you can do under optimal conditions). However, it’s also not taking into consideration that I’ll probably be checking bags. It’s also not accounting for the line at MCO for Southwest check in/bag drop going for what seems to be miles.

I’d prefer to get to the airport by 9 PM, which means leaving by 8:30 PM to account for potential traffic lights and the construction delays that are currently happening on the highway between us and MCO right now. On top of that, if you’re making a reservation with UBER, there’s no guarantee there will be a driver willing to pick you up at your desired time; a 15- or even 30-minute delay isn’t unusual.

So while the CLEAR Home to Gate tool claims to help plan a ride to the airport, it doesn’t take real-life delays or situation into account and therefore is basically useless.

Eventually, we may live in a world where everything runs exactly to the schedule, like it does in Japan. But until then, we have to build time into our schedules to account for delays, SNAFUs and traffic jams when getting to the airport. This means using common sense and not depending on smartphone apps to tell us when we should leave to get to our flights on time.

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