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Expanding Mercedes-Benz USA partnership—to the airport, plane to plane GS transport

Expanding Mercedes-Benz USA partnership—to the airport, plane to plane GS transport

Old Jul 17, 13, 10:26 am
  #1  
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Expanding Mercedes-Benz USA partnership—to the airport, plane to plane GS transport

Hi everyone,

It's been reported a bit already, but I wanted to provide some more information about the pilot tarmac transportation program we just soft-launched at Houston-IAH...

Starting yesterday, we’ve expanded our partnership with Mercedes-Benz USA to pilot this 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 :-).

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager – Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines

Last edited by UA Insider; Jul 17, 13 at 11:09 am Reason: Title
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
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 :-).
i'll take EWR for $200, Alex...

interesting program, i am sure will be appreciated by those few that get to use it. i wonder how many FTers are now looking for very short award ticket connections in GF via IAH...
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:31 am
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This obviously won't work on inbound international to domestic connections as passengers are required to be re-screened, correct?
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
This obviously won't work on inbound international to domestic connections as passengers are required to be re-screened, correct?
Yes, all passengers must clear immigration and customs.
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:44 am
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Originally Posted by worldtrav View Post
This obviously won't work on inbound international to domestic connections as passengers are required to be re-screened, correct?
Good call. There is immigration (and I could see a ride to immigration, b/c the walk takes several minutes), customs (checked baggage?), and clearing TSA again (although another ride from arrivals hall to the domestic terminals could save oodles of time).

Certainly easiest to implement on domestic-domestic of domestic-international for now.
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:45 am
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Seems discriminatory to passengers that can't do stairs. Guess if your a disabled GS or GF customer on a tight connection your on your own.

Last edited by Baze; Jul 17, 13 at 11:11 am Reason: Edited out emoticon as it seems to confuse people as to what my intention was
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Seems discriminatory to passengers that can't do stairs. Guess if your a disabled GS or GF customer on a tight connection your on your own
Don't you think they'd just find the closest elevator/escalator in that case? How does Lufthansa handle that situation at FRA?
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Seems discriminatory to passengers that can't do stairs. Guess if your a disabled GS or GF customer on a tight connection your on your own
I presume in this case, assuming the passenger disclosed the disability in advance, they will have a cart waiting at the gate.
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Seems discriminatory to passengers that can't do stairs. Guess if your a disabled GS or GF customer on a tight connection your on your own
If they are disabled, then passengers can arrange for special services that already include transportation from gate to gate. Are you suggesting that they install elevators at each gate?
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Don't you think they'd just find the closest elevator/escalator in that case? How does Lufthansa handle that situation at FRA?
Don't know about how FRA handles it and have never flown through IAH so don't know what the elevator situation is. Are there elevators/escalators down to the tarmac where the planes are?
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:58 am
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
Don't you think they'd just find the closest elevator/escalator in that case? How does Lufthansa handle that situation at FRA?
I believe that there is an elevator at the gates in FRA (at least mst of them). I can tell you that I've been in a few and they come out right where the jetbridge extends to the aircraft.
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:58 am
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Does IAH even have more than a handful of flights with Global First?
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Old Jul 17, 13, 10:59 am
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Merge?

Sorry UA Insider, FlyerTalk beat you to the punch.

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...assengers.html
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Old Jul 17, 13, 11:00 am
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Originally Posted by FlytheTail View Post
If they are disabled, then passengers can arrange for special services that already include transportation from gate to gate. Are you suggesting that they install elevators at each gate?
Of course not, thats just silly. I am being serious, this is a new stated benefit for GS and GF passengers on a tight connection. If you have one of those that can't do stairs what good is the benefit? Using a cart or special services has always been available to them. I am asking seriously about this specific benefit. Guess you are all able bodied, and yes, I am able bodied but know plenty of people that aren't. My question was not meant to be a rant and I am sorry if you all took it that way. It was a serious concern question.
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Old Jul 17, 13, 11:01 am
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
Don't know about how FRA handles it and have never flown through IAH so don't know what the elevator situation is. Are there elevators/escalators down to the tarmac where the planes are?
I'd be surprised if there weren't for a couple of reasons - one is that the Americans with Disabilities Act may apply in a workplace setting; two is that there would need to be at least a few service elevators for practical purposes. How they are spaced and the type of access that is available (e.g., probably not appropriate/safe to be shuttling passengers through) is another question entirely.
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