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United has been on a roll this past week- last Friday the United And Mercedes-Benz USA Launch Partnership was announced and then earlier this week United and Marriott Teamed Up to Launch RewardsPlus.
Well, they are back at it again with another customer experience enhancement following their partnership with Mercedes-Benz. United is going to offer a a tarmac transportation option for select Global Services members and United Global First customers who have tight connections. The first airport they are rolling this out to is Houston (IAH), but they are going to expand to a second hub as well in the next few days.
United posted on Milepoint the following announcement:
“Starting yesterday, we’ve expanded our partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA to pilot a tarmac transportation option for select Global Services members and United Global First customers connecting to domestic or international flights. Our first hub for the pilot will be Houston, and we’ll have two cars, one S-Class sedan and one GL-Class SUV, to start at IAH.
How this works is fairly straightforward—a uniformed Global Services agent will meet the customer with a sign upon disembarkation from the aircraft and escort him/her to the waiting vehicle. The Mercedes will then zoom (safely of course; the airport tarmac is no autobahn) to the connecting gate, where the customer will be invited to board via the jetbridge stairs. While this service can’t be requested or reserved in advance, we’ll aim to prioritize those GS and Global First customers who are on very tight connections.
Looking ahead, we’ll monitor the results of the pilot as we look to expand, and over the next few days we’re soft-launching the service at a second hub. In fact, the cars for this additional hub will be delivered to their parking spaces today. They should be visible from the terminal, in case anyone wants to take a guess as to where that is.”
United isn’t the first to offer car services for passengers. Lufthansa offers First Class passengers car service from the First Class Terminal to their waiting aircraft in a Mercedes S-Class sedan, a Porsche Cayenne or a Porsche Panamera and directly to the plane’s first-class entrance. Delta also offers Porsche car service to some of their high value customers in Atlanta, so it looks like United is following in their footsteps once again.
I think this is a great enhancement from United, and I hope they expand this to several of their other hubs as well. The announcement doesn’t say what the next city is going to be, but I’m thinking either Chicago O’Hare or Newark, so if anyone happens to be passing through any of United’s hubs the next few days, let me know if you see the cars on the tarmac or better yet if you happen to get offered the new service.
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