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.
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.