United Airlines may be best known for flying Airbus and Boeing planes, but it now has a new provider for tarmac transportation: Jaguar.
The Chicago-based carrier on Wednesday unveiled a deepened partnership with the British carmaker that includes a fleet of 2023 Jaguar I-PACE electric SUVs for tarmac transfers.
The Jaguar transfers will start rolling out this month at the airline’s hub at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and will expand to other hub airports in Denver, Houston, Newark, Washington Dulles, San Francisco and Los Angeles by the end of the year.
United expects these SUVs to make an estimated 60 trips per day and transfer more than 1,000 United customers daily.
Now, you’re probably wondering how you can score this stylish tarmac transfer. Unfortunately, however, United doesn’t publish what it takes to get one of these swanky rides.
This is a “surprise benefit,” the airline says, that is offered to select Premier members with tight connections. The only way you’ll know about the transfer is when you see your name on a placard in the jetbridge during deplaning.
In the past, this benefit has been primarily limited to invite-only Global Services members and other high-value flyers who are at risk of missing an important connection.
For United, this new tie-up is being marketed as the “first gate-to-gate airport transfer service powered by an all-electric fleet in the U.S.”
While it’s true that the airline is using Jaguar’s all-electric fleet to criss-cross the airport taxiways, all three of the major U.S. airlines have historically offered this benefit on a surprise-and-delight basis using gas-powered vehicles.
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American Airlines used to partner with Cadillac, but it now has a tie-up with Avis to provide SUV tarmac transfers.
In addition to tarmac transfers, United recently unveiled a MileagePlus tie-up with Jaguar. As part of the pact, flyers can earn up to 50,000 bonus miles when purchasing or leasing a new Jaguar vehicle.