United Uses Real-Time Traffic Data, Taxis in Newark Airport Ad

Jun 20, 2017

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United Airlines has come up with a pretty clever way to bust the long-standing myth that traveling to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is faster than traveling to its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) — this time with the help of New York City’s taxis.

While JFK is known to be “New York’s Airport,” United is claiming that its New Jersey hub may instead be a better alternative for New York travelers given the proximity to the city, which many assume otherwise. The Chicago-based carrier is not taking this claim lightly, deciding this time to harness the power of big data to prove its point.

Partnering with advertising agency mcgarrybowen, the airline has fitted 125 taxis with GPS tracking software and overhead digital panels to dynamically display a real-time comparison of the travel times between the city and JFK and Newark airports — the first of its kind on top of a taxi.


Real-time travel time estimates are shown on these moving displays, enabled by the Curb traffic application based on the taxi’s location and evolving traffic patterns. Verifone Media and Kinetic was also roped in to analyze over 45,000 data points and identify key campaign areas in NYC.

Said mcgarrybowen Managing Director Haydn Morris to Adweek: “The ‘New York Minute’ is all important to Manhattanites, yet many subjugate this tenet to the irrational view that JFK is their most convenient airport. How better to convince them than to utilize their favorite, iconic transport. Plus, everyone knows that taxi-drivers have the answer to everything, right?”

It’s clear that United has done some serious research to back up their bold claim. However, a spokesperson for the agency acknowledged that there may be possibilities of a shorter travel time to JFK, depending once again on both the taxi’s location and then traffic conditions. This set of data also only takes into account on-road travel, although a quick search on Google Maps for public transportation travel times to both airports seem to support United’s claims too.

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 12.41.57 PM

This campaign comes after a $120 million renovation to United’s Terminal C at Newark, which now features new state-of-the-art TSA automated screening lanes and updated gate areas with improved retail and dining spaces. In addition, MileagePlus members can even use award miles for dining, which may be a better option than spending it at The Miles Shop.

What’s your commute experience to JFK and EWR like? Comment and let us know below.

H/T: Adweek

Images courtesy of United.

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