App Review: Grab Airport Food Ordering

Oct 22, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.      

Here at The Points Guy, we’re all about reducing the time spent waiting in lines in the airport. Sure, you can get a card like the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard for priority check-in and boarding, CLEAR and TSA PreCheck for expedited security and Global Entry to fast-track through immigration, but how can you save time ordering food? By downloading the app Grab.

In This Post

The Market

Grab is a mobile app which allows you to order and pay for your food from your phone and then skip the line to pick it up. It’s currently available at 21 airports, including Atlanta (ATL), London Heathrow (LHR) and Los Angeles (LAX), with plans to open at others such as New York (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO).

Grab App Review - 2

This isn’t the first app to offer mobile food ordering at the airport. There was AirGrub, which had a similar business model as Grab, but that went out of business in 2016 — just two years after launching. There’s also Airport Sherpa, which offers both food and retail ordering, as well as at-gate delivery, though that app is currently only available at one airport: Baltimore-Washington (BWI).

How It Works

Being a fan of using my phone to make travel experiences easier, I decided to give the app a try before my flight out of Los Angeles. Note, while I used the actual app for this review, if you’re the type of person that does not like clustering your phone with many apps, you can also use Grab at select airports via the American Airlines app.

Grab App Review - 4

On my way to the airport, I used the app to search what restaurants are participating. You can browse through the selection either as a list or as a map.

Grab App Review - 5

You also have the option of filtering restaurants based on location and type of food.

Grab App Review - 6

Although retail stores are included in the directory, they aren’t available for mobile ordering yet; this is a feature Grab hopes to add eventually.

Grab App Review - 7

With detailed menus and the option to include special requests, the ordering process was pretty straightforward. I ended up going with an acai bowl from Earthbar in Terminal 6.

Grab App Review - 8

Prior to completing the checkout process, there was a page saying how long it would take to prepare my order. Since I wanted to hold off from placing my order until I was in line for security, I was glad to find an option to hold my order to submit later.

Grab App Review - 9

Once I placed my order, I was offered turn-by-turn walking directions to the restaurant.

Grab App Review - 10

Despite a 5-10 minute estimate on my order being ready, I was pleased to find that my order was, in fact, ready for pickup when I arrived after just four minutes. I was presumably the only Grab customer at the time since the employee immediately handed me my order after I said that I ordered through Grab.

Although there wasn’t a line at the time of my visit, I could imagine it feeling awkward “cutting” it to pick up my order if that weren’t the case. There was no designated pickup area for Grab customers or any signage indicating that the restaurant even participates in the program.

Grab App Review - 12

I paid for the order using my Chase Sapphire Reserve Card so I would earn 3x points for my dining purchase and used the code BDBC62D4 for 20% off my first order.  Best of all, Grab doesn’t charge consumers any fees for ordering through the app. Worth mentioning, the app has Concur integrated, making it especially convenient for business travelers to report expenses.

Grab App Review - 13

What’s Missing

Interestingly, although I was asked to review the restaurant after I completed my order, there was no option to read reviews prior placing my order, so that’s a feature I’d definitely like to see added. Also, while this is a bit of a long shot, I think it would be neat to have a way of redeeming airline meal vouchers through the app.

What’s Next

Grab is working hard to quickly increase the number of airports where it’s available — in the coming month, they will add Phoenix (PHX) in the US and Manchester (MAN) and Birmingham (BHX) in the UK. It will also be expanding coverage in its existing US hubs such as DFW and MIA. Besides that, Grab is working with the startup AtYourGate, to begin offering at-gate delivery — starting with San Diego (SAN). Once at-gate delivery and retail offerings are added, Grab and Airport Sherpa will be practically identical, but Grab will have the advantage of the larger footprint.

Overall Impression

Overall, Grab makes ordering food at the airport quick and easy. While I don’t find myself waiting in lines to order food at the airport too often, I could see this app coming in handy if I’m ever hoping to grab a bite during a tight layover. It can also be very helpful for flight crews and employees working at the airport who have to face these lines on a regular basis.

Grab App Review - 1

All photos by the author.

Would you try out an app like Grab? Let us know in the comments below.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.