Scheduled & Stress-Free: Why We Pre-Book Rides

It’s 5:43 a.m. and you’re in a cold sweat. The departure of your early-morning flight is creeping ever-closer, but no matter how nimble your thumbs are in smartphone acrobatics, you can’t find an on-demand ride anywhere within 10 miles of your location.

Shouldn’t you have planned this out beforehand?

We think so, which is why Wingz has the unique feature of scheduling your rides in advance for a stress-free travel experience. If you know when and where you want a ride, there’s no reason to leave your trip up to chance.

Pre-booking your ride with Wingz means that before you even get in the car you’ll know exactly who’s picking you up, at which time, and at what price. Plus, since you’re planning your ride ahead of time, you’ll never be subject to the surge pricing that other rideshare companies set loose whenever there’s a particularly quiet or busy time of the day.

A few other companies have recently trotted out their own versions of “scheduled” rides, but it’s important to know that those features are really just cueing your ride requests at a specific time. Translation: if there aren’t any cars in your area for the time you “scheduled” one in advance, then you’ll still be as driverless as those who hadn’t pre-planned their request in the first place.

When you ride with Wingz, you’re riding with reliability—not a perception of it.

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What it Takes To Become a Wingz Driver

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Your trusted, personal driver.

You’ve probably heard the term from us before, as it’s the #1 mantra we stand behind and take pride in as a company. When we hand-pick our drivers to become a part of the Wingz team, there’s an intense (but fair) level of scrutiny involved on our side of the equation. We want to make sure that you’re riding with a crop of outstanding drivers—ones you’ll want to ride with again and again.

If a potential driver comes to us looking to apply, they’ll have to go through a step-by-step vetting process that includes:

  • An individual screening to bring in the friendliest and most welcoming
  • A criminal background & MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) check to assure passenger safety
  • 19-point vehicle inspection to keep you riding with the best cars around
  • A disability online orientation to assist passengers that require special accommodations
  • An online orientation and knowledge test to ensure you’re riding with the savviest and most well-informed

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Beyond the logistics of this checklist, we still need to confirm that these are the right people for the Wingz driver team. When we’re in the home stretch of the on-boarding process, we also look for:

  • A recent and clean vehicle that will make riding with us comfortable and carefree
  • A customer-oriented attitude that demonstrates the driver is willing to go the extra mile to make a rider happy
  • Some experience driving with other transportation providers or other rideshare companies to verify that this isn’t their first rodeo in the industry

After all’s said and done, we only end up accepting around 5% of the drivers who apply to become a driver. Once they’re on board, Wingz drivers are subject to routine checkups per regulatory requirements to verify their vehicles are safe and their insurance up to date; it’s a lot of work, but it’s the only way to keep our engine running.

 

Welcome to Around-town Bay Area Rides!

Earlier this year we rolled out a new, around-town service in Austin created for those who wanted to book rides beyond the airport with their favorite drivers. We’re happy to say that today, that feature is making it’s debut in our home town of San Francisco, as well as the greater SF Bay area!

Just like our airport rides, our new service takes the stress out of getting to and from wherever you need to go—a night on the town, a business meeting, a sporting event, or even a doctor’s appointment!

With advanced booking, flat-rate pricing, and trusted drivers, you can rest easy knowing a friendly driver will be waiting for you… not the other way around. As always, once you ride with Wingz, you can re-book your favorite driver for a more personal experience. Just hop on our iOS or Android app (no desktop bookings for this service yet) and start scheduling your rides today!

Just to be uber-clear: Wingz rides are not on-demand, they can be booked anywhere from 1 hour to 2 months in advance (2 hours to 2 months for airport rides). The reason is simple—advanced booking takes the stress out of wondering if a driver will be available when you need it.

While we’re happy to drive you shorter distances, these rides do have a $25 minimum.

Now sit back and get ready to enjoy the ride!

 

 

A Return to Portland!

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Stumptown, we’re back!

Our 11-month hiatus from Portland has been more than we could bear—we’ve all deeply missed your breweries, bridges, and Trail Blazers. It may have taken us a while to get the necessary permits to return to PDX, but we’ve been working around the clock since our departure to make sure we could return to the Rose City.

Portland is one of the most scenically gorgeous and culturally rich cities in the United States, and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of its travel landscape. We’re excited to be back in the burgeoning “Silicon Forest” tech scene, which is starting to become an integral part of the business milieu in the Pacific Northwest.

Our list of cities and airports is ever growing; you can visit wingz.com to see where we’re currently available. If you don’t find your favorite place of destination or departure now, hang tight—we’ll be there soon enough! 

Book your ride today.

 

 

Terminal Treats: The Top Spots For Food in Our Airports

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Courtesy: Wall St. Journal

The reputation that airlines have with food quality is well-trodden comic fodder by now, and it’s almost become the gold standard to open your wallet and hold your nose while eating and waiting for your plane to depart.

Nevertheless, there are a handful of establishments in the airport world who’ve gone above and beyond the call of dietary duty; these institutions give us hope that before or after you land, there’s plenty of opportunity to satiate your tastebuds and temper. Here are our top spots to catch a bite in each market we serve.

Courtesy: Yelp

AUS – The Salt Lick: Gate 10

The popular BBQ joint from Driftwood, TX has already established itself as the finest food option in Austin-Bergstrom with its quick and casual take on their sister restaurant’s fare. Salt Lick’s tender, smoky brisket is the culinary king of the hill at their airport location, but other menu items like biscuits & gravy or pulled chicken get the whole pre-flight crowd to gather round and dig in.   

Courtesy: Yelp

DFW – Papadeux: Terminal A

Perhaps the best case to be made for Papadeux’s ragin’ Cajun cuisine comes straight from its Yelp page, where one user describes the restaurant as “a ray of light that pierces through the inexorable hopelessness of DFW’s Terminal A (and perhaps the entire Dallas metro area).” If that’s not enough to get you saddled up with some of their dirty rice, we don’t know what is.

Courtesy: Yelp

IAH – Le Grand Comptoir: Terminal C

French food might not be the first thing you think of when discussing the Houston cuisine scene, but George Bush Interncontinental has a little gem (lettuce pun intended) in Le Grand Comptoir. Their wine menu may be a bit confusing (watch out for the vaguely-labeled $7 shots of Champagne), but the inventiveness and quality of their menu items is a real standout within the hit-or-miss confines of Terminal C.

Courtesy: Yelp

LAX – Lemonade: Terminal 5

Lemonade—like many eateries on this list—is an establishment that found success in its own brick and mortar location before heading over to the city’s local airport. The fare at its Terminal 5 location has one of the best reputations in the country for a reason: they serve fresh, healthy, and tasty food—from kale to kumquats—that’s worlds away from Panda Express or Mickey D’s.

Courtesy: Yelp

PDX – Chelsea’s Kitchen: Terminal 4

Getting out of the Phoenix Sun can be a workout in and of itself, and one of the best places to refuel before a flight comes by way of Chelsea’s Kitchen in Sky Harbor’s Terminal 4. The sleek American bistro separates itself from the rest of PHX’s options with some elevated dishes like French dip sandwiches and tuna tartare; also make sure to check out their key lime pie for some mouthwatering dessert in the desert.

Courtesy: Yelp

Courtesy: Yelp

SAC – Iron Horse Tavern: Terminal A

Northern California’s dark horse airport has some serious contenders for your pre-flight meal, but Terminal A’s Iron Horse Tavern might distinguish itself as the cream of the crop. The restaurant’s understated—but tremendously satisfying—gastro-pub menu is accompanied by a wide variety of libations that can be caught from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

Courtesy: Yelp

Courtesy: Yelp

SAN – Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant: Terminal 1

The biggest complaint many have about Bankers Hill is how busy it can get, but that’s really more of a testament to their consistency and quality than lack of service. San Diego International’s bright spot in Terminal 1 has a wildly diverse selection of beers on tap and serves up well-rounded, intensely-flavored menu items (garlic-truffle fries, marinated steak street tacos) in record time.

Courtesy: Yelp

Courtesy: Yelp

SEA – Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: Concourse C

This Seattle mainstay was one of the first real artisan cheesemakers in the city, and the group’s delicious array of handmade cheeses have luckily made their way from the city’s Pike Place Market to SeaTac’s Concourse C. Mac and Cheese is the golden standard here, but their cold-cut sandwiches are equally formidable.

Courtesy: Yelp

Courtesy: Yelp

SFO – Cat Cora’s Kitchen: Terminal 2

The famed Iron Chef has similar locations at airports in both Houston and Salt Lake City, but the flagship San Francisco restaurant has been deemed “an oasis of calm” within the chaotic confines of SFO’s busy Terminal 2. If you’re not interested in the elevated, locally-sourced menu of impressive ingredients, be sure to check out the inventive cocktail list.

 

6 Flight Hacks For Travel Success

Flying can be monumentally stressful, but not if you’re adequately prepared. Here are six insider flight hacks to make your flying experience as smooth as possible.

1. Use the secret handles underneath overhead cabins

When turbulence happens, most people will use their fellow passenger’s seats to brace themselves from falling on the way back to their seat. The majority of people don’t realize, however, that almost all airplanes have a secret handle underneath the overhead cabins that store roller boards and other assorted carry-ons. You’ll see the handles on either side of the sign that denotes the aisle number; simply reach up there and use the handles to get yourself back to your seat safely without disturbing fellow passengers.

2. If turbulence affects you, look out the window at the horizon; if it’s dark, focus on the wing of the plane.

Speaking of turbulence: Gizmodo’s Bryan Lufkin addresses the fear/sickness factor of turbulence after his own particularly harrowing experience flying from Tokyo to Minneapolis. Lufkin interviewed pilot Patrick Smith of AskThePilot.com about the danger of turbulence and the risk of the plan falling apart:

“Even in extremely rough air, the wing is not going to break off and the plane is not going to flip upside-down,” Smith reassures readers.  

Modern-day planes are so advanced that their wings are designed to bend up to 90 degrees; plus, if the turbulence is truly that bad, the pilot will change the flight path and land early instead of risking a plane full of people.

When experiencing turbulence, it’s best to look out into the horizon or the wing, as this helps trick your body into thinking that you’re not moving as much as you actually are. Eleni Xenos, a doctor who writes for One Life, tells her readers that looking at a fixed object in the distance is a great way to overcome motion sickness.

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3. When searching for a plane ticket, many travel discount sites will cookie you. Do research in one browser and purchase in another so the prices are less likely to increase.

It’s important to remember that when you’re searching online for airlines tickets, cookies are being saved on your computer and your searches are being stored. This kind of travel-site tactic results in the frustrating price jump in the midst of investigating flights. A good way to avoid this pitfall is to either clear your browser cache, or simply search for airfare on one computer and book it on another. Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal’s Dana Mattioli wrote about findings that showed users of Mac computers paid as much as 30% more on travel than what Windows users are charged. All of that considered, it might make sense for Mac users to try and not purchase tickets until they’ve researched flights on a PC as well.

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4. Tuesday is the least traveled day of the week, so if you’re looking to avoid lines (and get a cheaper fare), fly then.

Flights departing from noon on Thursday through midday Monday command the highest demand for travelers, which is why tickets during that window of time tend to be the most expensive. With that in mind, Fare Compare lists Tuesday as the best day to fly for the cheapest flights available. Traveling on a Tuesday also means that you’re more likely to avoid the crowds that have been plaguing airports this summer, which can result in hours-long waits for passengers just to get through security.

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5. Direct vs. Non-stop: All flights are not the same

While direct and non-stop flights seem to virtually mean the same thing, they’re actually different beasts with different implications. Non-stop flights (as opposed to direct) have their own unique flight number and may be the best option for the anxious or super-rushed traveler: while there is usually an increase in ticket price, that extra cost comes with the added convenience of not needing the earlier plane to land, deplane, and get set up for new passengers to board.

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6. If you have time to plan in advance, do so. Ticket prices increase three weeks out, and become exponentially more expensive seven days out. 

It’s well-known that the further out that a trip is booked, the cheaper the price. Caroline Costello, of Smarter Travel, looked at a study performed by CheapAir.com that monitored more than 4 million airline trips taken in 2013 and found that the cheapest time to buy for domestic flights was seven and a half weeks in advance. For international flights, the earlier the better, but there are price fluctuations that depend upon the destination.  

The first expected price increase for purchasing is about 3 weeks out, then 7 days. After you’re under the 7 day window, it might be best to try and use reward points or miles for travel. Costello notes that the worst day to buy a plane ticket is the day before the flight, with each day preceding the first day being the next worst day to buy a plane ticket. By the 13th day prior to departure prices stabilize, with price increases expected in regular intervals prior to takeoff as the plane becomes closer filled to capacity.   

 

$1 Rides in Dallas & Houston!

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A month ago, we launched a promo for new riders in the Austin area which offered $1 rides for Wingz first-timers throughout the city. We saw an awesome response from folks within the city, so we decided to stretch our Wingz-span, if you will, and up the Texan ante: we’ve now got $1 fares for first-time riders in both Dallas & Houston.

From now until August 19th, new Wingz customers will pay just $1 for a ride up to 20 miles to or from the Dallas or Houston airports. We know that the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas cover a bigger swath of land than Austin, so full disclosure: rides above 20 miles in these markets will have a $40 discount applied towards their final fare instead of the flat-rate $1. And although you have to request your ride by August 19th, the ride can take place within 60 days of booking.

$1 from each fare will once again go to a charitable cause, this time in the form of Dallas and Houston’s local Meals on Wheels chapters. For 46 years, Meals on Wheels has been the leading provider of nutritious meals for seniors who aren’t able to leave the home or cook for themselves. Please consider donating to your local chapter, even if you don’t plan on taking advantage of the promotion.

To schedule your first Wingz ride, simply download the app and book. No promo code is needed to get your $1 ride in Dallas or Houston. You can also book your ride at wingz.com.

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If you’re already a Wingz user, there remains incentive for a great deal. If you share the word and your friends sign up for Wingz using your unique referral code, they get a $1 ride… and you’ll get your $5 Wingz credit. Get a deal and do some good with Wingz, now until August 19th.

For additional details on the promotion, check out our terms and conditions.

 

Introducing My Favorite Drivers

By now it’s probably well-known to those who’ve been following us, but one of the most important things Wingz offers users is the ability to book and re-book their favorite drivers. If you find a person who made your ride to or from the airport spectacularly special, you’ve been able to directly request them for future rides and have a familiar face waiting the next time you travel.

FavDriver3Still, there’s always a chance that the driver you want isn’t available when you need your ride, and our more frequent travelers often have multiple Wingz drivers with whom they’ve had great experiences.

With all of this is mind, we’ve retooled our app and website so the drivers you’ve rated 5-stars will be organized in a team of Favorite Drivers, which you can manage and reorder as you like. The new tool will make the act of finding and booking your preferred drivers a whole lot easier. 

When you schedule a ride from your Favorite Drivers team it’ll still function as a direct booking, as the ride request will immediately go to your #1 driver. If your chart-topper isn’t available for that upcoming trip, we’ll default to the second highest on your list—and so on—until we find the right person for your ride.

We’ll also make sure to take into account how time-sensitive your request is: we know that rides for the near-future need to be accepted more quickly than say, a ride for a week from now. The further in the future your pickup request, the more time we’ll give your favorite drivers to accept the ride; if the ride is a bit more urgent, our priority will be to get a trusted driver quickly.

If you don’t end up getting any of the drivers on your list, not to worry: your booking request will be placed at the top of the queue from our general pool of hand-picked drivers, so you’ll still be able to get a ride with a trusted Wingz driver.

We hope all this makes your Wingz experience even better!

Manage Your Favorite Drivers Button

 

5 Travel Hacks For a Last-Minute July 4th

As the temperatures rise across the country and the summer weather sets in, many people are daydreaming about a vacation.  If you don’t yet have anything planned for the 4th of July weekend, here are the top Independence day travel hacks which may help you plan a successful impromptu holiday weekend.

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1. Surf for last minute travel deals

Many resources are available to help make an impulse getaway a reality. Surfing sites like Travelocity, HotelTonight, and The Flight Deal can help land a great last minute vacation at a fantastic price. For a low-hassle, all-in-one experience, Travelocity allows you to book air, hotels, and rental cars in the same transaction. If you’re looking for something more spontaneous (but also at a great price), HotelTonight allows you to book an amazing last-minute hotel room at cut-rate prices.  The Flight Deal is perfect if you are looking to fly to your next destination, as it features truly remarkable flight bargainsoften to international destinationswith clear instructions on how to get them.  

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2. Take a day off before or after your holiday to maximize your vacation

Jenna and Micah of Wander The Map offer several tips for maximizing your vacation with the limited amount of vacation days that American workers are notorious for having.  July 4th falls on a Monday this year, which means  it’s possible to take a short three day trip using up no vacation time, or an entire nine day vacation using only four vacation days.  Using the federal holiday allows you to get the extra time that you want away from your day-to-day life and extends the duration of your extra-special trip.

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3. While on vacation, use your autoresponder to disconnect.

While you’re on vacation, be on vacation. Instead of worrying about the office, your clients, or your workload, focus on spending quality time with the friends and family you’re traveling with; if you’re traveling alone, focus on what sights to see or where to eat. Embrace your e-mail provider’s autoresponder with an out of office message, indicating when you’ll be back and able to reply to business matters.  

If you have tasks that must be done in your absence, hiring a digital assistant through a site such as Taskrabbit can get the job done for you while you’re away enjoying your time off.

Taskrabbit’s platform allows users to connect with others willing to perform the chores or errands that you cannot or do not want to perform.   Their interface is easy to use and remarkably intuitive at matching the requester with the “taskrabbit” who completes the duty.

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4. Missed that connection and worried about your bag?  No worries, it’s already there.  Send your stuff ahead.

Missing your connection or flight hurts in the short-term, but the thought of losing your bag with the airline either can be the biggest gut-punch of all.  Fortunately, there are many ways around the problem of having your bag stranded in the airport; you just have to plan a bit in advance.  Luggage Free and Send My Bag are two godsend services that allow you to pack your bags and ship them to your final destination before you even take your Wingz ride to the airport.

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5. Get ahead of the crowds by checking into your hotel in advance online.

Many hotel chains such as Hyatt, Hilton, and Disney now allow you to check in online prior to your arrival to cut down on time spent in lines. Hilton’s online check-in system allows you to select your exact room with the hotel’s floor plan. And since checking into your Disney hotel is a unique experience in and of itself, the happiest place on earth gives you the ability to use their dedicated guest services lines to ensure you still get to interact with the sights and sounds of each place you stay.  

There are ample opportunities available this week for the last-minute traveler, and if you’re willing to dedicate a few minutes of planning, you and your loved ones are destined for a great holiday.

Do you have any travel hacks for last-minute travel?  If so, please share!

 

$1 rides all around Austin!

It’s been a wild few weeks in the Austin area, and today we’re launching one of our most thrilling promotions ever: $1 fares for first-time riders.

From now until July 1st, new Wingz users can schedule a ride within Greater Austin and pay $1 for the first 20 miles of their journey. It’s important to note that although you have to request your ride by July 1st, the ride can take place within 60 days of booking.

What’s more, we’ll be donating the $1 fare to Caritas of Austin, an awesome local non-profit helping fight poverty, hunger, and homelessness within the community. We’re delighted to have found a great organization that works diligently to provide housing, food, education, and employment to those in need around Austin neighborhoods. Please consider donating even if you don’t plan on taking advantage of the promotion.

To schedule your first Wingz ride, simply download the app and book. No promo code is needed to get your $1 ride in Austin.

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If you’re already a Wingz user, there remains incentive for a great deal. If you share the word and your friends sign up for Wingz using your unique referral code, you’ll still get your $5 credit when they take their first ride! Get a deal and do some good with Wingz, now until July 1st!

For additional details on the promotion, check out our terms and conditions.