Grab Lets Travelers Swiftly Score an Airport Meal
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
What if a smartphone app could make the difference between getting by with a pack of peanuts on a six-hour cross-country flight, or a savory meal? Meet Grab — now in place at many of America’s airports, and making it possible to get that meal you may have otherwise missed while flying.
Perhaps you’re flying from Los Angeles to New York, leaving at 3 p.m. Pacific time. If you’re in an economy seat like the rest of us, by the time you land in New York, you’ve missed dinner unless you opt for the airline’s $8 soggy deli meat sandwich. Grab makes it possible to order a hot meal and take it with you on the plane.
There are lots of reasons why you would need to grab food in a hurry at the airport. Maybe you got held up in traffic on the way to the airport or were stuck in one of the notoriously long TSA security lines. Grab can be great for flight crews as well, who often have only a brief moment to leave the plane between flights, if at all. Pilots and flight attendants can order food when they land, then grab their food before departing again, or on the way to their connecting gate.
The whole point of Grab is to put a list of airport restaurants and their menus at the users’ fingertips. When you’re in a rush, you order your food while on the way to your gate, or when you land in that connecting city. Grab has an interactive, searchable map that tells you where to find the restaurants if you’re unfamiliar with the airport, and shows you their full menu.
Grab is based in Houston, Texas, and was founded by three former executives from Continental Airlines, which merged with United in 2010. CEO Mark Bergsrud said, “Quite often, even if I've been to an (airport), I don't have the concessions memorized. When I'm pressed for time and lacking information, I don't have as good an experience as I could. I don't eat what I prefer or I might not eat at all, and I don't shop.”
READ MORE: Down and Dirty With Airport Food Courts
I used Grab at Denver International Airport this week. Denver is just one of many airports at which Grab is currently operating, along with hubs like Atlanta, Detroit, and LAX. I ordered a Southwestern crepe from a place called Magic Pan, and it was made fresh, right on the spot. It was less than ten minutes from the time I ordered it and walked to pick it up. No lines to stand in! It even let me pay using Apple Pay. The app can be downloaded for iOS or Android devices.
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