If you’ve ever traveled to or from the sprawling Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you’ve experienced some of the most annoying parts of Los Angeles as a whole — there are crowds and lines everywhere, peak traffic time is basically all the time, and there is always a group of paparazzi hiding out to capture celeb street style.
But if you are a VIP or simply someone who hates people and has cash to burn, there’s a solution that will make airport travel something you actually look forward to. The Private Suite at LAX is a new, ultra-luxurious, exclusive terminal, and its entire purpose is to provide its members with total privacy and discretion.
Open since last May, The Private Suite is a members-only service that allows access to 12 private suites located a short drive away from the main LAX terminals. Each suite looks out to nearby runways and has a TV and WiFi; a comfortable seating area; a fridge stocked with snacks, drinks, and alcohol; a bathroom full of amenities and toiletries; and in-room travel accessories such as adapters, earphones, and chargers that are yours to keep. If you find yourself in need of a preflight power nap, there are blankets and pillows for the pull-out daybed. If you have an unexpected delay or want to freshen up, you can order an in-suite massage, manicure, or haircut. If you need a shirt, they will give you one. You can order a meal from a menu ahead of time or pick up the phone to order an espresso delivered to your door within minutes. There is a play area, firepit, and spa just outside the suites if you do choose to leave the comforts of your lounge. Otherwise, the staff will leave you be until it’s time to board your flight. (Photo via Lesley Chen)
Members reserve a suite in advance, and on arrival, you’re driven through a gated, nondescript entrance to your designated suite. A team lead greets you at the door, shows you in, and takes any luggage that needs to be checked in. Each member has a team of eight people dedicated to them, which handles everything from service requests and carrying your luggage to escorting you through airport security and chauffeuring you directly to your plane. When it’s time to board your flight, you are taken through a private TSA security check — TSA Precheck may be a breeze, but you’ve never experienced airport security like this. They verify your ID as you walk in and hand you a preprinted boarding pass, and then you simply walk through the standard sensors. Per The Private Suite policy, only one guest party is allowed through the checkpoint at one time: That’s right; there’s never a line. (Photo via The Private Suite)
Once you’ve cruised through security, you are chauffeured in a BMW 7 Series sedan down the tarmac, “head of state style,” directly to your plane. Another team member meets you at the jet bridge to carry any luggage you have up the stairs to the aircraft door, where you are the first to board the plane. The experience is reversed when you fly into LAX: A team member meets you at the plane and drives you back to The Private Suite, where you go through a private Customs and Immigration checkpoint if needed. There are other similar services in the world — such as London Heathrow’s Windsor Suite, which was once reserved for only dignitaries and heads of state — but The Private Suite is the first of its kind in the US. It’s currently only available at LAX, although the company is reviewing potential expansions. (Photo via The Private Suite)
It’s no surprise that the team behind The Private Suite is Gavin de Becker & Associates, a consulting and service firm that protects some of the world’s most notable and prominent figures. The experience is professional and efficient from start to end, and it’s completely stress-free and over-the-top luxurious. All of this pampering comes with a hefty price tag, however — while anyone can join, annual membership is $4,500, with a $2,700 fee for domestic flights and $3,000 for international flights for up to three passengers. For non-members, the cost is $3,500 and $4,00 for domestic flights and international flights, respectively, for up to two passengers. But given that the likely closest competitor is private jet service, which can cost upwards of $5,500 an hour, The Private Suite’s ultimate privacy and upgraded travel seem like a relative bargain.
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(Featured photo via The Private Suite)