An Uber driver poses for a photograph in an Uber t-shirt and holding a smart phone displaying the Uber app after delivering petitions to the Transport for London headquarters on December 22, 2015 in London, England. (Photo : Carl Court/Getty Images)
Is "Uber Travel" coming to town? If it does, it could make the lives of travellers much, much easier.
Apparently, Uber could be looking to become a travel agent. The company secured a new patent on December 24 where customers are able to plan their trips via Uber's new app.
Images of the new patent show what appears to be a normal flight search like Expedia's, but "Uber Travel" combines Uber cars along with travel searchables like real-time airplane landings. It's a clear upgrade from how people usually make travel plans.
According to the patent's online application from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Uber Travel will use one's trip information to make recommendations on flights, accommodation and transportation expenses on land, which of course involves an Uber vehicle.
To use the supposed Uber app, a traveler has to indicate the destination, the date and time he/she has to be there for Uber to make its itinerary recommendations. Uber will act as the facilitator for travel plans. Howard Jaffe is the patent's author.
As illustrated in the patent, Uber plans to tap into airlines to be able to look into planes' real-time performance as well as customers' preference of seats. The company also mentions the reservation system's ability to communicate with at least one traditional hotel system and "shared-economy" system for lodging options.
While all that sounds exciting, what makes Uber Travel that really convenient is that its patented system will reportedly know the exact time of a flight's landing, customs and baggage, thus allowing it to calculate exactly when customers should call their Uber vehicle.
"The information may include a location at the airport where the user can be picked up in connection with receiving the on-demand transportation service, and a timing indicator to indicate when the user should make a request to receive the on-demand transportation service based on a real-time determination of a number of available service providers in a vicinity of the airport," according to the patent.
As noted by TIME, this news is interesting since Uber has had problems with airports lately. Currently, several airports still forbid the company from operating on their grounds, even imposing huge fines for lawbreaking Uber drivers.
With Uber's new move, it would seem the transport company wants to change its relationship with airports. Its recent success in early December is proof of this, with the Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport finally granting their drivers access.
While potential competitors such as Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and Kayak are big in the industry, Uber Travel shows huge potential in the $35 billion online travel industry. It's certainly not backing down.
CNBC reported that Uber partnered with Hilton in September. As of this writing, the company has not commented on the authenticity of the patent reports.