Uber is launching a new flight booking tool for its UK customers as part of the company’s wider efforts to expand into other travel markets. Hopper, a Canadian-based travel agency, and Uber announced the partnership to sell national and international flights through the ride-sharing app on Wednesday.
Uber has already introduced app bookings for flights for some UK users and is planning to make the tool more widely available across the entire region “in the coming weeks,” as reported by The Financial Times. Andrew Brem, General Manager for Uber in the UK, told the publication that this is “the latest and most ambitious step” that the company has taken in its pursuit to create a one-stop shop for all travel booking needs — a so-called travel “super app,” if you will.
Uber’s flight booking system looks easy to navigate if you’ve ever used alternative platforms like Kayak or Expedia.Image: Uber / Hopper
In the UK, Uber already allows users to add bookings for trains, boats, and buses through partnerships with Eurostar, Thames Clippers, Omio, National Rail, National Express, and Megabus. Brem said that train bookings have proved “incredibly popular” so far, claiming that booking numbers have increased by 40 percent each month since launching the feature in August last year. Brem did not disclose how many tickets had actually been sold through the service.
Hopper says that Uber customers can book a flight as they would with most travel platforms by inputting their travel details, destination, and dates to find their desired flights. For major airlines, users will also be able to select and pay for their seats directly within the Uber app.
The Financial Times reports that Uber will take a small commission from each sale and may consider adding an additional fee to flight bookings in the future. Encouraging users to book other travel arrangements through the Uber app could also benefit its main ride-sharing business — 40 percent of Uber trips in the UK start or finish around transportation hubs like train stations, and the company claims that airport trips make up 15 percent of its entire gross bookings.
The UK has an extensive public transportation network and is one of Uber’s largest markets outside of the US, making it an ideal guinea pig to trial the company’s expansion into other travel markets. The country was among the first to receive in-app public transportation schedules and directions back in 2019. Brem has confirmed that Uber hopes to “build its core business” and expand other varieties of travel booking like flights to more countries in the future, but admits the company currently has “no firm plans.”