United Introduces Mercedes Tarmac Transfers in Houston

United has launched a pilot program to offer VIP tarmac transportation to some Global Services and international first class passengers via Mercedes. This new service started yesterday.

So far this test program is limited to Houston only, and they have only two vehicles so it won’t be available to many customers at this point.

Passengers will not know until they arrive at Houston whether they will receive the benefit.

The airline says passengers will not know in advance whether they’ll be selected until they arrive in Houston. A Global First customer service representative will meet the passenger on the jet bridge and then escort them to a waiting Mercedes Benz sedan or SUV below. Then a chauffeur will drive them to their next gate.

This follows a Delta playbook, they began tarmac transfers via Porsche in Atlanta on November 1, 2011.

And of course this all follows on Lufthansa’s innovation, not just at their First Class Terminal in Frankfurt (since first class passengers wait in a different terminal from everyone else, there must be some way to get to the plane!) but also for passengers whose plane departs from a non-gate position and are waiting in one of the first class lounges in Frankfurt with the capability and also from the first class lounge in Munich under similar circumstance.


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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. SWISS have been operating a transfer by limousine service at Zurich for many years. Everyone else is way behind the playing field here!

  2. The good news is we have a Mercedes for you the bad news is there’s no room for you in our two cars for your connection. It’s fantastic service for our premium passengers who will have no idea who they are.
    Other than that we have broken your guitar (United Breaks guitars) and lost your luggage. Sadly we just don’t have any award availability for any flights for the next 12 months and we have raised our nuisance fees to 200 dollars for any changes you make to your reservations
    Thank You for flying United. Have a very nice day!!!
    Uh Huh

  3. Some Chinese airlines offer luxury minibus transfer for guests in the lounge. Basically they drive you from the lounge to the tarmac directly where you board your plane right away.

    This may not be desirable if it is raining or extremely cold.

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