United Airlines makes clever (and technologically savvy) use of taxi cabs

United Airlines makes clever (and technologically savvy) use of taxi cabs

United Airlines has come up with an unusually clever way to try and convince New York City residents (a hard group to convince if there ever were one) that the Chicago-based carrier’s major hub at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey really is more readily accessible than John F. Kennedy International Airport, another principal New York area airport on Long Island where a number of international and long-haul domestic flights operated by United’s competitors depart from daily.

With the help of United’s ad agency of record McGarryBowen New York, the airline has installed taxi tops on 125 cabs throughout the city that — in real time — showing the travel times from a cab’s location to both JFK and Newark airports.

Of course, United and McGarry introduced the taxi tops only after they had done their research and realized that almost invariably travel times to Newark are notably shorter than those to JFK — usually at least 30 minutes shorter. Sometimes a lot more.

A spokeswoman for the agency acknowledged that the possibility exists the taxi tops could at some moments display a shorter travel time to JFK.

The digital displays on the taxi tops are synced with the Curb traffic app and updated in real time with every change in a taxi’s position and changing traffic patterns. Verifone Media and Kinetic also worked to bring the taxi top project to fruition. United’s taxi top project is believed to be the first time ever that live traffic data has been used to dynamically display massaging on top of a taxi.

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  • What’s my best bet? Newark or JFK? Real-time travelling times on 125 New York taxis.

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