Celebrity sightings at Los Angeles International Airport are about to get harder to spot.
A new private terminal, The Private Suite, at LAX offers an exclusive airport experience. Needless to say, the terminal is located away from the rest of the airport and is open to members only. The LA-based security firm Gavin de Becker & Associates runs the private terminal.
Membership is most certainly priced for the rich and famous with a $7,500 annual membership fee. That doesn't even include the terminal fee, which you have to pay every time you fly: $2,700 for up to four people. (That's $3,000 for international flights.) At least that includes free pre-flight massages and manicures.
The Private Suite experience is different from any other airport experience from the get-go. Travelers are screened by the TSA in the private terminal and don't have to deal with their baggage. A team of eight people are at your disposal, including several drivers and an airport escort.
"It typically takes 2,200 footsteps from car seat to plane seat," the website reads. "For members of The Private Suite, it's 70 footsteps. And they are all peaceful footsteps."
Instead of searching for your gate and then scrambling to buy a bottle of water and magazines to read on the plane, members can hang out in their fully stocked private suites or a shared lounge when waiting for their flight. Then, instead of lining up to board, members are driven on the tarmac straight to their plane "head-of-state style."
A Los Angeles Times columnist checked out the terminal for a press viewing earlier this week and described his experience in the luxury terminal. He said the waiting suite was "like a high-end hotel room" and loaded with cheeses, meat trays, snacks and a full bar. He said other suites were geared toward families, while others had prayer mats and a Quran for Muslim travellers.
"With the turn of a handle, you can empty the candy and nut bins, or enjoy a small batch of a raw dark chocolate bar with sprouted almonds. Then you could wash it all down with a Samuel Smith's Pure Brewed Organic Lager or a Belvedere and tonic and pass out on one of the two day beds," he described.
If he was actually going to catch a flight, a silver BMW 7 Series would have taken him across the tarmac straight to his plane.
The major appeal of the private plane boarding and disembarking seems to be no paparazzi, which admittedly sounds great for stars hounded by cameras.
The only problem: Those suites are going to make it hard to want to get on the plane.
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