by Anna Rhodes, The Independent, April 27, 2017
A new terminal in LA has opened – and it’s making sure that the everyday traveller doesn’t come into contact with the rich and famous who fly back and forth from LAX.
The Private Suite, located in a converted warehouse next to the airport’s South runway, offers clients the chance to bypass the paparazzi, fellow travellers and long queues while they travel.
The no holds barred level of luxury at The Private Suite is unparalleled – each suite is furnished with a two-person day bed, a personal bathroom, food service pantry and a view of the airport’s runway.
On average, eight members of staff are designated to each travelling party – and if you're wondering how that breaks down, it means someone to allow you in, another to escort you through the area, two to cater to any special requests (such as hair and make-up services), one to whisk you to the private screening area, yet another to drive you to the airplane (in a BMW 7 Series sedan, no less), a seventh to accompany you onto the plane and the final final person to see to your luggage. They call it “Head of State-style”.
Pre-flight, the Suite offers a range of free amenities, tailored to their customer base. For example, according to WSJ, they offer a selection of headphones, ties, dress shirts and blouses, socks, belts, shoes, cufflinks and even a raincoat – a whole new wardrobe awaits those who may have forgotten those key essentials.
When it comes to celebrity guests, the Suite aims to offer a safe sanctuary from the throngs of paparazzi and ardent fans. The Board of Airport Commissioners voted in favour of the creation of this exclusive terminal after frequent violent clashes broke out in and outside the airport – the need to keep A-listers safe from the hustle and bustle of the press was clearly deemed necessary. Now, with the creation of this suite, there’s an entire runway between celebs and plebs – that’s one way to ensure you don’t come into contact with anyone you would rather not encounter.
The Private Suite’s website boasts that it takes an average of “2,200 footsteps from car seat to plane seat” at LAX airport – with the Suite’s existence reducing this to a mere, “peaceful” 70 footsteps. And travellers are definitely going to be shelling out the cash for those reduced footsteps.
You'll need to become a member for starters, and that costs from $7,500 (£5,800) per year, with each domestic trip costing $2,700 (£2,100) every time, and $3,000 (£2300) for international travel. Members can take groups of up to four travellers. But don't lose all hope - for less frequent travellers, there's a "trial membership" deal that works on a pay as you go basis. Access to the shared lounge service is $2000 (£1550) per person for trial members, though full members get privileges such as complimentary pre-flight massages, make-up services and "car storage" while they're away.