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Must be nice

Need a lift? United aims to please top customers with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes on the tarmac

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United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH
United Airlines has begun a service with Mercedes to transport top customers to their connecting flights. Courtesy photo
United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH
The service, in which a uniformed United representative ushers the customer to a waiting Mercedes, cannot be requested or reserved. Courtesy photo
United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH
The tarmac chauffeur service uses silver Mercedes-Benz S Class and GL Class vehicles. Courtesy photo
United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH
United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH
United's Mercedes Tarmac Transporation Service at IAH

As it if weren't nice enough for United's top customers to board first, get all that extra legroom and a real meal on most flights, now there's another really cool perk.

The airline recently began a pilot program at Bush Intercontinental Airport to escort Global Services members (the top United frequent fliers) and select United Global First class customers into a waiting silver Mercedes-Benz SUV or sedan on the tarmac, where they are chauffeur-driven to their connecting flight. 

There are few caveats (besides the fact you have to fly a zillion miles to be eligible for this service): It's available only when the incoming flight is delayed for a VIP who might otherwise miss a connection and it can't be requested or reserved. "It is designed to surprise and delight our top customers who may be anxious about missing a connecting flight," the airline said in a news release. 

Plus, there are only two Mercedes vehicles, although the program will be expanded if it proves to be popular.

United recently inked a deal with Mercedes to offer incentives of up to $5,000 and bonus mile while purchasing or leasing a new vehicle, in addition to offering the tarmac service.

United is not the first airline to offer such service. Delta began tarmac transfers via Porsche in Atlanta on November 2011.

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