Virgin Atlantic has teamed up with Taxi2 (and it’s oddly-registered Tongan website taxi.to) to help passengers share cabs to their destination. This to me is a great idea, but they haven’t taken this far enough. Hopefully this is just the first step.
I remember back in my college days flying into Washington/Dulles airport dreading the long Washington Flyer bus ride into town. Sure, I wanted to take a cab, but those were expensive, so I always wanted to find someone to share. Fortunately, I flew Western Pacific once or twice and those guys didn’t care what you did onboard. (Heck, the flight attendants all wore different t-shirts, so you couldn’t even tell who worked for the airline.)
On one flight, they made an announcement on my behalf asking if anybody was going to GW and wanted to share a cab. Sure enough, there was a very cute girl who lived in the same building as I. Excellent. You would think this service would have been moved online about 5 minutes after the internet began, but that apparently wasn’t the case.
So now Virgin Atlantic is working with Taxi2 to do it. Go to taxi.to, sign up, and it’ll try to make a love connection for you. While I’m glad to see an airline moving in the right direction (especially an airline with its main base at an airport that has very expensive taxi rides to the city center), this isn’t enough.
This service just matches you up with anyone going around your time. What happens if you’re late? They tell people to only wait 15 minutes beyond your scheduled time and then just go. That’s helpful. This service is also only online, so it doesn’t help you once you’re in the air.
If Virgin Atlantic wanted to do this right, they’d create an application that ran on their airplanes in-seat video screen. Think about it. You have several hundred people flying into London with very few connections beyond London. What’s the chance someone on that flight will want to share a cab with you? Pretty good.
And if you’re delayed, who cares? You’re all delayed together. Most importantly, they already have the ability to put this together. You can chat with people at other seats, so they are all networked. Why not allow you to put out a taxi request? Seems like a no-brainer.
So while this new partnership is a decent start, it needs a lot of work to be a killer application.