Virgin Australia partner airline Delta is rolling out the first class treatment to its frequent flyers in the US: collecting them from the plane and driving them across the tarmac straight to their connecting flights in a Porsche.
Arriving passengers will be pulled out of the queue of people getting off the plane, escorted down the stairs at the end of the jetway and popped straight into a Porsche Panamera four-door car or Cayenne SUV.
Not every passenger will be see the service on every flight, aimed at the airline's most frequent flyers finding themselves in danger of missing connections. Imagine the relief of being tapped on the shoulder and then zipping across the tarmac to squeak onto your next flight instead of missing it and then ending up waiting in an interminable queue at the airport, or holding while being told that your call is important to the airline.
So far the Porsches -- offered as a bit of advertising by the car company -- are just at Delta's main Atlanta hub, not the secondary hub Australians fly through at LAX when connecting from Delta or Virgin Australia.
But the deal could expand further, according to Delta's hometown paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Whether or not Delta's offering expands, this is a trend we can get behind, similar to the service that Lufthansa offers at its swish First Class Terminal, where passengers at the pointy end of the plane -- and the airline's most valuable frequent flyers -- can skip the whole airport faff entirely and be driven straight from one of the world's best lounges to the plane.
It seems to us that Australia's major airports -- which, with the exception of Melbourne, see their international and domestic terminals spaced far apart -- would be ideal for making personalised connections for Platinum members of Qantas Frequent Flyer and Virgin Australia's Velocity programs.
Hint hint, Virgin and Qantas...
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.