Asiana Offering Complimentary Chauffeur Service For A Limited Time

Airline chauffeur service for premium passengers is something which has become more widespread lately. In some instances I “get it,” from the airline’s perspective:

  • Virgin Atlantic offers it to full fare Upper Class passengers as a quirky perk which differentiates them from the competition; they also offer an onboard bar and spa with hot tub in their lounge.
  • Emirates and Etihad offer it so that neither airline is at a geographical disadvantage. Etihad only flies to Abu Dhabi and Emirates only flies to Dubai, as the cities are only a roughly hour drive apart. This way both airlines can reasonably sell business travelers on flying with them, regardless of whether their final destination is Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or anywhere else in the UAE.

Emirates-Chauffeur

Some other airlines have started offering it over the years, though I’m not sure I totally get the business sense behind it. For airlines that restrict it to full fare customers, surely no one is paying for full fare business class because a chauffeur is included. If you can foot the bill for a super-expensive business class ticket, you can also pay for a car to/from the airport.

Anyway, the most recent airline to offer chauffeur service for a limited time is Asiana.

Asiana-Chauffeur

Through November 30, 2015, Asiana is offering full fare first & business class passengers traveling on roundtrip tickets chauffeur service upon arrival at Seoul Incheon Airport. The service is only available upon arrival, when flying in from the following cities:

Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD), Seattle (SEA), Honolulu (HNL), Frankfurt (FRA), London (LHR), Paris (CDG), Rome (FCO), Istanbul (IST)

The service has to be requested at least 24 hours before departure, so can’t be requested upon arrival.

Bottom line

It’s interesting that Asiana is offering this for a limited time, presumably to see if it brings them any extra business or adds to passenger satisfaction. I’m not sure how they’d measure that over such a short period.

I suppose they could be trying to differentiate themselves from Korean, given that they don’t have as extensive of a route network, but I hardly think a one-way car transfer on a full fare longhaul ticket will cause anyone to change their purchase decisions.

It’s definitely a nice extra perk, though, should you be eligible anyway.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Comments

  1. Believe it or not, of all carriers, *United* offered chauffeur service in Japan. It might still exist, but it was always billed as a temporary “promotion” that lasted for YEARS. I used it a few times in the 2000s, and it was extremely convenient when traveling with a ton of luggage.

    IIRC, only transpacific flights to/from the US mainland qualified, and tickets had to originate in Japan. F got return service and C got single service (your choice of outbound or inbound). Aside from full fares, I think some discounted A and D fares were also eligible, but not the deeply discounted ones like Z. There were some other restrictions, but you could use it to/from almost anywhere in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama prefectures and NRT.

  2. Not quite the same thing but ANA are partnering with Lexus to offer chauffeured connections at Haneda. It’s for First Class passengers connecting to domestic (Japan) flights from London, LA and Frankfurt – it’s not quite Lufthansa and Porsche but it’s a start 🙂

  3. Seems a bit strange to offer chauffeurs when on my OZ flight from LAX two weeks ago I wasn’t even offered an amenity kit. According to FlyerTalk, they’ve been removed for ICN inbound flights. Would have preferred that since ICN was just a transit point to HRB for me.

    That said, I do like the idea of chauffeur services, especially for cities without good/any public transport connections to their airports. I’m loathe to take taxis in any city, but even more so in unfamiliar places where one fears that they could be inclined to take a very scenic route, safe in the knowledge that the customer will have little ability to formally complain. At least with a chauffeur, the airline will hear about any poor experience and so I suspect would make sure that the chauffeur would end hearing all about it too.

  4. They should first learn how to fly the plane. Then and only then can they worry about ground transportation

  5. I think I see one context where I would buy a full fare ticket from an airline to get the chauffeur service. Say you’re using the Amex Platinum companion ticket on a full fare, first class international flight. Usually the saving are pretty negligible, or it’s more costly to buy one full fare than two non-refundables, but if I was going to do something like that, a chauffeur would be a nice incentive to choose one airline over another. That said, it’s a pretty specific context, and I’m not sure how common it could be, but it’s a thought.

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