The one & only time I will ever use @Uber pre-order – a total #fail and there are better choices!

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I have for a long time been an UBER fan. I have used UBER all over the planet and have very few complaints with any driver or ride I have ever had. But the one thing I have never tried is the pre-ordrer of an UBER ride for the next day. Let me make one thing really clear to you:


It is totally pointless. I mean 100% pointless. The only thing pre-booking UBER does is at the time you have requested (i.e. the first time of the zone) the tech will request an UBER at that time rather than you just clicking the request manually. Oh and it gets much worse.

You see, I did not realize that, in addition to no advance notice, even if you request a up to a 6 passenger UBER XL transport, UBER may decide to send you a normal 4 passenger car. Now this would really not be a problem if you were paying the 4 passenger rate, but if you are paying for the larger transport it matters.

In my case, as you can see above, I decided that for convenience, it would be simpler to pay about the same price as 2x UBER X cars to just get an UBER XL. But that is not what was sent. UBER was nice enough, as we were cramped in like sardines into a small card, to tell us our large car was not available – sorry. Great, we knew that but had to catch a flight so what could we do?

Here is the thing in case you did not know. There is no advance planning with your night before UBER order. It just pings who is around at the time of your request (well how pointless is that). So if there is not a big car they send whoever they can (just great). The result is you overpay for not what your ordered and when you reach out to gripe they send you links to gripe on the web. Again, just great.

Back in the day UBER would instantly fix things – really not so much now. Oh let me add one more nasty bit on top of all of this mess.

If you happen to have taken advantage of Amex SNYC offers and loaded credit in to UBER, they really do not work so good when you pre-order an UBER because each time you order an UBER you have to manually go in and move the slider over to use credits for the ride – and this does not work this way. #FAIL

Bottom line is I will never ever use UBER to pre-order again. There are no advantages and any number of negatives.

1) You can not use credits
2) You can not cancel the wrong size car
3) You can not order sooner if you want to
4) It is totally pointless
5) Support with UBER has tanked!

As a final point the driver I had was great but that did not help the many failings of UBER. While this one expense has not killed my UBER use due to world wide reach it has moved me to use LYFT more as my default ride share app. You? – René



  1. I’m taking a pre-scheduled Lyft early tomorrow AM from the outer reaches of the San Fernando Valley to LAX as I begin a mini-mini-mileage run to the Chicago Seminars. I hope to heck they’re on time — if I have to wait too long and drive myself, LA rush hour could make things far too interesting. I’ll report back as to how it goes!

  2. Thanks for posting this. I always was under the impression that the ride was prearranged with a driver like with a car service.

    My home airport is about a 50 minute drive and in another state and a lot of drivers don’t want to take the ride since they can’t pick up at that airport. I always tip my Uber driver and have a good rating and will tell the driver up front how much I plan on tipping but some drivers still don’t want to make the trip so if I am going to the airport and need a ride I either find a friend to drive me or call a car service the night before.

    I was thinking of doing a prearranged uber ride but this sounds like I may miss my flight.

  3. Similar bad experience. Showed up 20 minutes late …. could have ordered one and been on time. Price seemed higher too.

    Never again

  4. I had an even worse experience. I needed an uber for 4:30 a.m. for an early a.m. international flight. When I went to pre-order it at around 11:30 the night before, it said “your car is on the way.” I cancelled it (after several failed attempts), but as soon as I’d cancel one, another would be sent! I kept cancelling and cancelling, and twice I had to call the driver to tell them not to come. I got a couple of “too late to cancel, so you will be charged” messages. It was a nightmare and went on for over 30 min. After all of that, I went back to try to pre-order the ride again (assuming I’d somehow done something wrong) and it said “you already have a ride ordered for this time!” (I complained to uber and got refunds for the late cancel fees.)
    BUT, I have pre-ordered successfully once since then. I’m very curious as to what you see as “better options.” I don’t care for pre-ordered ubers, but for the wee hours, the only other option I’ve used, or know of, is a VERY expensive black car.

  5. I have been successful doing this with Lyft as I dont like to support Uber due to their HR issues. I also believe there is no actual pre-orders but again I have not had any problems ordering and recieving rides the night before. One time they sent two but realized it was their error.

  6. Uber pre-order can get worse! I pre-ordered on Saturday night for a 4am Saturday ride to airport. Same as Rene, I learned that all the app does is automatically send a ride request at 4am. It does not pre-arrange. Guess what- there were NO cars available at any price at 4am Sunday. I waited 30 minutes and still no cars accepting my request or even showing up on map. I had to wake my wife to drive me. (I can’t repeat her advice.). Now, I only use our local limo service at 2x the price. But they are always there as promised.

  7. You’re right, it’s totally pointless. Recently tried to use it for an early-AM airport ride, a “pre-booked” ride was going to be $99. In the end I canceled it and ordered it the normal way – and was charged $81. So its’a rip-off that adds no value.

  8. I got burned doing this in Rome. I booked it about an hour before I needed it over breakfast at the hotel so I wouldn’t have to order while moving luggage outside. 5 minutes before scheduled arrival I received a push notification letting me know that Surge Pricing had kicked-in and gave me 5 minutes to cancel. The problem was that the notice wasn’t in the App and it didn’t provide the surge factor. Not wanting to risk finding alternative transportation to FCO I stuck with my plan. My 70 Euro drive in a van ended up costing 240 Euro’s. Never again!!!

  9. My go to for car service in most countries has become Blacklane. They are based in a Germany (yea! Germany efficiency). You see the all inclusive fixed price in the app or web when pre-arranging travel. Yes it is a bit more than Uber. They cover most airports and hotel. Though, I have not had success in using them from my home. They app just says that address is not covered, so I just use my local limo service. No cash involved, tips and tolls included. Oh, and you can get Lufthansa Miles & More points. They have always been early at hotels and waiting with a sign with my name at airports. They usually offer a luxury car and lux van, though in a few places (Sri Lanka) not as much luxury….but still very nice and efficient. Blacklane has been an easy way to arrange airport-hotel rides. Customer service is helpful and easy as well. On one trip an improperly trained driver made me pay cash for a toll. My complaint was answered quickly with a refund of the toll and an additional €20 credit towards a future trip.

  10. Following up on my comment from a couple days ago: I ordered a Lyft to arrive “between 6:20 – 6:30 a.m.” the next day. The driver arrived at 6:25 a.m. (exactly “between 6:20 – 6:30 a.m.”!)

    Another reason I went with Lyft: Uber had surge pricing in effect at 7 a.m. (about the time of day when I scheduled my ride for the following day). Lyft was standard rates all the way.

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