From frantically leaving the house six hours before a flight to confiscating family members' travel documents before security, airport dads can be the easy-to-mock unsung heroes in travel. Thanks to Uber, they've now got a shrine in Chicago-O'Hare (ORD): The Uber Reserve Airport Dad Lounge.
Yes, the rideshare company opened its own pop-up lounge at O'Hare … and it's something to behold. Open to flyers who plan ahead with an Uber Reserve booking, it leans hard into the full Airport Dad experience. There's a luggage packing challenge, strange digital displays, a full-body massage machine, and plenty of swag to bring with you – including calf-high socks and “Certified Airport Dad” caps.
You don't have much longer to pop in, as it's only open at Terminal 2 in O'Hare through next Monday, Dec. 4. But trust me: You need to see this for yourself.
And no, you don't need to be an actual airport dad to get in.
Visiting Uber's Airport Dad Lounge
I'll do my best, but photos cannot do this place justice.
Through Dec. 4, you'll find the Uber Reserve Airport Dad Lounge in Terminal 2 at Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), near gate F3. You don't need to be a dad (let alone an airport dad) to visit: All you need is proof of a valid Uber Reserve booking.
The space is hard to miss, showing off the rideshare app's pre-booking feature on the exterior.
Walk in and let the airport dad vibes envelop you. You'll enter a brown, green and black space adorned with quirky decorations, bold text, and interactive screens.
After passing through the full-body, vibrating massage machine (not pictured), you'll be invited to scan your boarding pass and smile at the camera for an airport dad souvenir staple: a postcard. AI generates a digital postcard based on your photo and where you're flying, like mine below. You can even scan a QR code to download the image to your phone – how nifty!
As you walk along the space past the cameras, you'll arrive at the wall of Away and Lusso Cloud merchandise. There are hats, socks, and eye-masks from both brands for a sharp-looking – yet unmistakably airport dad-like – feature wall.
But it's more than just something to look at. Stop by here to receive your goodie bag: An Away packing cube full of airport dad apparel, including long socks, a dad hat, and an eye mask.
Want to go full Airport Dad mode? So long as you sign a liability waiver, you can play luggage Tetris, packing an SUV trunk full of Away luggage as fast as you can. You'll scan your boarding pass to upload your competitor profile to the system, press the start button, then frantically pack the trunk. Hit stop once you're done to record your time.
Afterwards, you can treat yourself to as many cans of Colectivo iced coffee as your heart can take. Just look how extra this packaging is – though note you can't take the coffee beans with you.
Now, is this really an airport lounge? Not exactly. While the friendly on-site staff did point out that visitors were welcome to chill and relax on one of the … three chairs in the space, there's not much to do once you've completed the activities and grabbed your swag. Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the side table, with dad legs clad in jeans … wearing white dad shoes.
Even if you can't spend an hour here, it's a unique experience and a great way to do something fun before (or after) your flight.
What is Uber Reserve, Anyway?
Whether you need to get home safe from the bar or need a ride to your hotel from the airport, Uber is a go-to for transportation. While you can easily hail a ride through the app, there can be long wait times based on traffic and distance – especially at the airport.
That's what Uber Reserve is designed to solve: Embrace your inner airport dad and plan ahead, reserving your ride up to 90 days in advance. Instead of requesting a ride when you're ready to go, this feature allows users to set a specific date and time in the future to catch an Uber ride. With any luck, your Uber driver will be waiting for you.
That said, Uber Reserve isn't quite perfect: Your booking isn't confirmed until a driver accepts your request, providing you with driver details. I've received confirmations several days after making a reservation … but have also been notified just a few hours before arrival, and sometimes even after landing. So there's no guarantee that your driver will always be waiting for you upon arrival or to take you to the airport.
But when it works well, it's great. You can even enter your trip information, allowing the app to automatically track your flight for changes or delays to keep the driver (if one is already assigned) in the loop to arrive on time.
Uber Reserve bookings do cost slightly more than a standard Uber ride, thanks to an additional reservation fee. If you've got a card that gets monthly Uber Cash benefits like the *amex gold* or *amex platinum*, use those cards to pay for your Uber ride.
Otherwise, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great card for all Uber rides as it earns 10% cash back.
Confused? Yes, a lot of travelers walking by were, too. My thoughts? It's definitely strange … but uber fun.
The Airport Dad Lounge obviously exists to promote Uber Reserve. But it's also a clever way to mix up the boring airport experience while celebrating the spirit of airport dads everywhere.
If you're flying through O'Hare, this pop-up lounge is worth a visit while you still can. It's open through Dec. 4.