Airports of the future: Your first-hand look at robot mobile food ordering and gate delivery
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.
As travelers return to airports, airports are expanding their offerings of amenities that help make the terminal experience safe and stress-free.
Topping the list of welcome and much-used new services are mobile food ordering programs that offer contactless ordering, payment, pick-up, or delivery.
New to The Points Guy? Want to learn more about credit card points and miles? Sign up for our daily newsletter.
With the roll-out of OrderSEA, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the latest airport to offer mobile food ordering with the option of airport-wide gate delivery. Runners from At Your Gate pick up the food and make the deliveries, sometimes with the aid of Gita, a two-wheeled cargo-carrying robot created by Piaggio Fast Forward, a Boston-area startup that is a subsidiary of Piaggio, the manufacturer of Vespa scooters.
As it is at most other airports offering this service, OrderSEA is powered by Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace technology in partnership with AtYourGate. Travelers can place orders via the airport’s FLYSEA app, through OrderSEA.org, or through the AtYourGate or Grab apps. Right now, menus from sixteen airport restaurants are available, with more on the way. Travelers use their phones to peruse the menus, make and pay for their orders, and then choose pick-up or delivery to a gate or another post-security spot in the terminal.
In addition to saving time and being convenient, the service means that passengers can pay attention to social distancing by avoiding or spending less time standing in lines. Customers who choose delivery stay put while one of the AtYourGate team member picks up and delivers the meal – sometimes accompanied by the OrderSEA Gita robot. (Delivery fee: $2.99, with or without the robot).
The robot, whose brand name is Gita, is partly a promotional tool to help generate excitement and draw attention to the delivery service, says Greg Udchitz, vice-president of marketing at Servy, “But it also creates another layer of contactless experience in this period of COVID. For some deliveries the robot carries the food and follows the delivery person. Then the customer can open the bin and get their order out of the Gita.”
You can’t request the robot, “It’s just a special treat,” says Udchitz.
SEA did a soft rollout of the OrderSEA program over the summer and out of the 1,200 orders placed, 500 were for gate delivery.
Mobile ordering at other airports
At Your Gate has a robot on duty at seven airports: JFK, PHL, MSP, SAN, SLC, SEA, and LAX.
The generic name of the robot is Gita, but so far two airports have ‘adopted’ the robots and named them.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) had a social media contest to name its robot and chose “Jawnbot” as the winner over runners-up PhiL, Jeet, and Betsy. For the LAX robot, which helps with deliveries in the LAX Order Now mobile food ordering program, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) purchased the Gita robot and named it NomNom.
No word yet on if SEA is going to name its Gita robot.
In different configurations and under different partnership and branding, travelers will find mobile food ordering options in close to 20 airports.
Most recently, Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace and At Your Gate partnered with Fraport USA to roll out GateWaiter mobile meal delivery service at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE).
At BWI, travelers may make an order by scanning a QR code or via BWIGateWaiter.com.
“Passengers can have sweet Maryland crab cakes or tangy tacos delivered to their gate with a simple scan of a QR code on their smartphone. It doesn’t get much easier,” said Gary Gilliard, vice president of Fraport Maryland, in a statement.
At CLE, ordering is available via QR codes or through CLEGateWaiter.com.
The full list of where At Your Gate is operating gate delivery programs includes SAN, EWR, JFK, LGA, MSP, PDX, SEA, BOS, DEN, PHL, MDW, DFW, TPA, LAX, SEA, CLE, SLC, and BWI. The Mineta San Jose International Airport the At Your Gate program is on hold due to the pandemic, but the company expects to add at mobile food delivery in at least eight more airports by the end of the year.
Just in time for holiday travel.
Photos courtesy of the author.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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.
- 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