VIP ride app is expanding in Australia, for when you’re too fancy for an Uber

The new BMW 5 Series

Blacklane, a German company with a premium chauffeur service, has opened a new office in Brisbane as it looks to expand further across Australia.

The Berlin-headquartered firm, which allows people to book a ride via an app and a website, is primarily targeted at business executives that want to get from A to B in something a bit more swanky than a standard Uber X. Unlike Uber, however, Blacklane rides need to be booked in advance.

Depending on where they are in the world, Blacklane’s “business class” customers can expect to get picked up in something like a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a BMW 5 Series, a Cadillac XTS, while “first class” customers get Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, or similar.

Blacklane is setting up the Brisbane office, which will grow to 30 people in the coming months, in a bid to add more corporate clients across Australia and New Zealand. The sales team will likely try and convince the Australian travel departments at large international firms like J.P. Morgan and Google to consider using its services when booking travel for staff.

There’s another reason for setting up the Brisbane office: Blacklane hopes to convince more airlines to offer its premium passengers complimentary Blacklane rides. It’s already signed up Emirates and China’s Hainan Airlines but it could also look to get the likes of Qantas and Air New Zealand on board.

Blacklane has been trying to differentiate itself from Uber and other competitors by focusing specifically on airport travel and it now allows customers to request VIP treatment when they arrive at certain airports. This includes being fast-tracked through security, as well as help checking in and lounge access. While there’s a focus on airport travel, Blacklane can also be used for other journeys.

Today, Blacklane can be used in 10 Australian cities: Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

“Blacklane’s presence across Australia, Brisbane’s location, and Brisbane’s skilled workforce make it ideal for our growth. We are hiring a crew who loves to travel and loves to make travellers’ journeys stress-free,” Jens Wohltorf, CEO and cofounder of Blacklane, said.

The Brisbane office is Blacklane’s fourth worldwide, with others in Berlin, Singapore, and Dubai.

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