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Uber starts offering flight bookings in the UK

The company plans to become a wider travel booking platform.


Uber has started offering domestic and international flight bookings in the UK and will continue rolling it out across the whole region over the coming weeks, according to the Financial Times. The company's general manager for the UK, Andrew Brem, told the publication that this is "the latest and most ambitious step" it has taken to achieve its goal to become a wider travel booking platform.

Uber first revealed its plans to add train, bus and flight bookings to its UK app in April last year and launched the first two options a few months later. Brem said train bookings have been "incredibly popular" so far and have grown 40 percent every month since they became available, though he didn't give the Times concrete ticket sales numbers.

For its flights, the company has teamed up with travel booking agency Hopper. The Times says Uber will take a small commission from each sale and could add a booking fee on top of its offerings in the future. It's unclear how much the company's cut actually is, but it charges its partner drivers 25 percent on all fares. As the Times notes, offering flight bookings could also help grow Uber's main ride-hailing business even further, since users are likely to book rides to and from the airport through the service, as well.

Although flight bookings are only available in the UK at the moment, the region — one of its biggest markets outside North America — only serves as a testing ground for Uber's plans. Brem told the publication that the company is hoping to expand flight offerings to more countries in the future, but it has no solid plans yet. Uber did offer $200 chopper rides in the US back in 2019, but that service was discontinued in the midst of pandemic-related lockdowns.