United will bring chauffeured Mercedes-Benz car service to LAX ramp

United will offer Mercedes-Benz rides to some customers at LAX. Photo: Mercedes.

United will offer Mercedes-Benz rides to some customers at LAX. Photo: Mercedes.

United Airlines will drive its most lucrative Los Angeles customers to gates in chauffeured Mercedes-Benz cars starting this spring, an airline spokeswoman told me this week.

Los Angeles will join other United hubs in Chicago, Houston and Newark with the Mercedes-Benz service. United spokeswoman Jennifer Dohm was short with the details, but presumably the Los Angeles operation will work like the others.

For San Francisco, which was announced last week and like Los Angeles also begins this spring, United will use Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC SUVs. Eligible consumers will be part of United’s Global Services program or will be traveling in United Global First Class. United only has two L.A. routes with Global First — London and Sydney.

“United representatives will meet customers at the aircraft, escort them to the waiting Mercedes-Benz vehicle and drive them across the tarmac to their connecting flight,” the company said in the San Francisco release.

I believe Delta is the only other airline that offers that connecting chauffeur service at LAX. Delta uses Porsche Cayennes in Terminals 5 and 6.

United’s Dohm said she does not have an exact date for the start of the LAX service but said it will be this spring.

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United Express flight returns to LAX with landing gear issue

A Skywest Airlines Embraer E120 returned to Los Angeles International Airport this morning with landing gear issues and was met by fire rescue crews, officials said. The plane landed safely at 8:12 a.m. and taxied to the gate.

The flight was branded as United Express Flight 6320 and was bound for San Diego.

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More on United Airlines new flights from Los Angeles to Melbourne

United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.

United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.

United Airlines on Thursday confirmed it will begin flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia on Oct 26, six times per week using Boeing 787-9s. Some highlights from the press release.

  • This will be the first regular scheduled flight for United’s 787-9s. The Boeing 787s the airline is now using on L.A.-Shanghai and L.A-Tokyo are 787-8s. What’s the difference? Well, according to Boeing, the 787-9 is bigger. The newer version also has slightly longer range – 8,185 nautical miles, according to Boeing.
  • The flight to Melbourne will not operate on Tuesday, traditionally a slow day for some business travel. The return flight does not operate on Thursdays.
  • United says flights will take about 15 hours, 45 minutes westbound, and 14 hours, 35 minutes eastbound.
  • United now flies a short flight between Melbourne and Sydney — what’s known in industry terms as a tag. United will no longer fly that route.
  •  The 787-9 will have 252 seats – 48 in business class and 204 in Economy. Included in that economy total is 63 premium economy seats. (The 787-8 has 219 seats.)
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Confirmed: United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne later this year

Reports are circulating that United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.

Reports are circulating that United will fly between Los Angeles and Melbourne. Photo: United.

United Airlines is expected to announce a new flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia that will start in October, according to Airchive, an aviation blog. (We have since confirmed it — see below.)

United will fly the route six times per week using a Boeing 787-9 aircraft starting Oct 26, Airchive reported. The news is being warmly greeted on Flyertalk, the message board I profiled in a feature story earlier this week. Posters on the website, who are probably airline employees, are talking like it’s a done deal, though they note the international flight is subject to government approval. (Flyertalk members get this stuff wrong occasionally, but not often.)

I reached out late Thursday to United for a comment, but I have not heard back.

Qantas already files between Los Angeles and Melbourne using an Airbus A380. United for now offers one-stop service to Melbourne. The plane stops in Sydney.

UPDATE: 10 p.m. The flight is now available for purchase on United.com. Also, the reputable Airlineroute.net website says the flights start on November 3.  It starts Oct. 26, as we originally stated.

United

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Video: Watch as United Airlines adds Wifi to an A319 aircraft

United Airlines is taking a lot of flack from frequent fliers from what some say is an excruciatingly long roll-out for its fleet-wide WiFi. (You can find out which planes have it already installed on the United Airlines fleet wiki page.)

But installing WiFi on aircraft is not as simple as it is at home. United released a movie last week showing all the steps it takes to add it to a A319 aircraft. Watch as crews overhaul N832UA. Yes, it’s sort of an advertisement for United — you’ll have to deal with the Rhapsody in Blue music — but it’s interesting.

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