LAX Is Getting A Swanky New Private Terminal

There’s probably not an airport in the world that gets more celebrities than LAX, and while some airlines have special services for them, up until now we haven’t seen a true “VIP” terminal. While a lot of aspects of the experience can already be customized if you’re willing to pay, there haven’t been many options to fly commercial while skipping the airport experience. It looks like that’s finally changing.

The Private Suite LAX is officially opening on May 15, 2017, and allows guests to skip the terminal altogether. The Private Suite claims that the average person takes 2,200 steps to get from their car to the plane at LAX, while using The Private Suite that will be cut down to just 70 steps.

The facility has a private TSA checkpoint — here’s how the process is described:

LAX-Private-Suite-8

The Private Suite is located on the very south side of LAX, near most of the cargo facilities.

LAX-Private-Suite-3

So you can pull up directly to that, rather than the heavily congested main terminal area.

LAX-Private-Suite-4

From there you’ll go through a private TSA checkpoint.

LAX-Private-Suite-1

You’ll then get a private dayroom with a bathroom, food-service pantry, a two-person daybed, and an airport view.

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Then when your flight is ready for boarding, you’ll be driven to the plane across the tarmac in a BMW 7-Series.

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They claim that each person has a team of eight people looking after them, though that seems like a bit of a stretch, as you can see:

LAX-Private-Suite-11

 

Just how expensive is this service? If you’re traveling domestically with a group of up to three people, the cost is $3,500 per group, while for international travel it’s $4,000.

Alternatively, if you don’t want a private suite but rather only want access to the shared lounge, it’s $2,000 per person for domestic travel (or $2,500 for international), and $650 for each additional passenger.

You can also buy a membership to The Private Suite. This costs $7,500 per year, and gets you a $700-1,000 discount per visit.

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So obviously this isn’t for the rich, but really for the super mega rich. One Instagram user has already shared a picture from the lounge, and there’s one thing I see that sort of offends me. It seems that the lounge has installed the signature Snack Towers Of Sadness that you otherwise only see in low end lounges. C’mon, I understand wanting to offer basic snacks, but if I paid $4,000 and saw one of those, I’d rip it off the wall and throw it in the trash. 😉

The private terminal’s website doesn’t really talk much about the food in the lounge. I suspect that this is for a couple of reasons:

  • Most people using this service will be cutting it close, and are using this exclusively for the convenience, and not because they want to arrive hours early and eat
  • Given the price tag, I suspect you can order whatever you want to eat or drink, though they’ll likely charge you dearly for the privilege

Bottom line

I’m surprised it took this long for LAX to get something like The Private Suite. This isn’t something that’s for the 1% or even the 0.1%, but rather something for the 0.0001%. I’m sure some will value the convenience of this, though you have to be really rich to drop $3,500-4,000 just for easier access to your plane. Based on the way things are described, it sure sounds like they’re going after those flying commercial rather than private, which seems to limit the market even further.

I wonder if The Private Suite will maybe work out some contracts with the major studios, where they’re getting a huge discount in exchange for a lot of business.

If I’m ever flying out of LAX and see a BMW 7 pull up to the plane, at least I’ll know what it’s for!

Obviously there are lots of celebrities flying into/out of LAX, but you think there’s a big enough market of people willing to pay $3,500-4,000 just to skip the terminal?

Comments

  1. Wouldn’t big time celebrities and the uber rich normally be flying in private aircraft anyway? Then you just arrive and get on your plane.

  2. IF you’re dropping $10-20k on a intl F ticket,what’s another $4k? I think most of those paying cash for F can easily afford this.0.0001% is a stretch. I think the 0.1% , which is $1.6MM annual income, can easily afford this

  3. Hmmm. I thought the reason airlines kept giving for not having dedicated priority security channels was that the TSA doesn’t do private lines. . .

  4. “One Instagram user” just so happens to be Belinda Carlisle – lead singer of the Go-go’s!

  5. Check out the VIP-Terminal at MUC. In my opinion it’s way better than the LAX version and costs about 300€ per person. And for every additional person it’s 150€ or so.
    Worth checking out actually as it’s pretty convenient.

  6. It will become a must use or you’re a loser with no prospects for celebs. It’s about time. I’ve been to LAX a few times and it seems like a total dump.

  7. “Super mega rich” and “0.0001%?” I think that people who fall in those categories would already be flying private. I could see this being appealing for celebrities and public figures who value their privacy rather than a pure time-saving advantage.

  8. That TSA counter is a duplicate of the one in Carlsbad, at least until United stopped service. Knew the three agents. But that standard x-ray meant you couldn’t keep your laptop in your carry-on, regardless of being precheck.

  9. So, LA is one of those airports with an exceedingly large number of extremely famous people. I’ve seen such folks mobbed even in lounges, let alone in the main terminal. Even at double the price, it’d be worth it not to be bothered.

    As to those suggesting that famous folks fly private jets, while this is often true, it’s quite unusual when international travel is involved, especially for flights to Europe or Asia. And, let’s face the dollars and cents…even with fractional ownership, a transcon F ticket and a trip to this lounge are cheaper than flying private. If you’re a normal B-list celeb traveling alone, this makes a great deal of sense.

  10. That looks like Belinda Carlisle.

    I could see this as a huge step up for A-listers who have to fly commercial, esp the one who are most hounded by paparazzi (Anistons and the like).

  11. I see a lot of celebrities in LAX. It would be a shame not to see them anymore walking through the airport like the rest of us.

  12. Anon thinks people making $1.6M per year will pay for this. Out of his mind.

    Uber rich (the 0.0001% who will will actually pay for this) do often fly private. But cost to charter a jet for international travel (even if you have an enterage of 5-6 people coming with you) is still a far different cost than buying a first class ticket (and business/PE for the enterage). And if you’re going to Europe that private jet is going to have to stop at least once.

  13. Seems to me the Real Question is: how long can I stay in the room ?? If I have a 10:30pm flight, what is the earliest I can check-in to the room ??

  14. Half price if we agree to a shared lounge? Are you kidding? Talk about “slumming it.”

    I agree with the previous commenters. This is not for the 0.0001%ers. They fly Netjets and never wait at the terminal. Los Angeles is bursting with 0.1%ers who would gladly pay $4k for this, just to be able to post the Kardashianesque Instagram photos.

    0.0001% of the City of Los Angeles is only 4 people. This company had better have a clientele of more than 4, or they are not gonna survive.

  15. Agree wth Hepworth, 1.6 million per year, you may only net about 800k in California. Waisting 4K is around .5% of their net income for a entire year. Wealth is created by not wasting money on needless things like this. Now I could see frequent corporate travelers using this if it was company expensed. Also Hepworth is spot on about why Commercial can be better than Private with regards to having to make fuel stops.

  16. Was curious who this Gavin de Becker is. Lawyer? Doctor? Agent? Nope. Security. Learning new extremely lucrative businesses every day.

  17. More likely than rich people paying out of pocket will be business people who can expense this and write it into their work contracts. I think this will get a lot of use.

    Like other commenters, I’m curious what the arrival cutoff time would be for this. 15min before departure with no bags?

  18. I dont think the pricing is absurd. Celebrities paying $1k for domestic First Class tickets or $10k for international first class tickets would easily pay $3500 to be driven straight to the plane and not deal with the paparazzi hassle outside LAX. They value privacy more than anything. I can see the likes of Paris Hilton, Kardashians, NFL team owners, and Instagram models who make $50k a post would rather do this than be harassed by paparazzi.

  19. A few things.

    1) This seems to be a round-trip service. So the price includes getting dropped off and picked up (it is also I believe why international is more expensive as they have to pay CBP to do a private channel screening for the in-bound passengers — would figure CBP charges them the same as they charge to meet a private jet).
    2) I wonder how receptive the airlines are going to be to this/what LAWA forces them to accept. For example, what happens during a delay? Will the airline staff know you are at the Private Suite location? If you have to check a bag, can you do it past the normal baggage cut-off? Will the Private Suite person get access to the tarmac to snag your bag before it goes to baggage claim or do they have to wait outside security with everyone else?
    3) Not sure why you are so hostile to the towers, they may be famous but they want a snack just as much as anyone else and as you point out the whole point of this is not to sit and dine but to be through as quickly as possible. I would rather have towers than people putting hands into jars to get the same items.
    4) Finally, I wonder what route the car takes from the location? Can it cross the runways or does it have to go up and around?

  20. This will do really well. First, celebs fly commercial all the time. Here’s a photo of Leonardo Dicaprio flying out of DCA on Saturday after the Climate March: https://twitter.com/DCCelebrity/status/858460842819563524

    With this new LAX service, the celebs won’t need to pay so many bodyguards to fly with them and escort them to/from the airport. Just one less bodyguard probably makes the LAX private terminal service worth it.

    On top of that, most contracts for performers specify air travel requirements also. They already have in it that they must be flown first class, so it’s no big deal to have the LAX private terminal added in to all future contracts. The celebrity isn’t paying, so they won’t care about the additional cost. If you look at concert riders on The Smoking Gun website, you’ll sometimes see the travel arrangements and airport transfers stipulated in there.

  21. I’d never pay for this, even if I were a celebrity. Take an Uber to the airport and walk straight to your gate with the usual J privileges; lingering in a day room or special parking places is the prole idea of what’s nice about premium service. Being driven to the plane is for European airports built without enough gates and is useful only for remote stands.

    But—unlike any of this other so called luxuries—there have been times I’d have paid $4k for a private immigration line at LAX.

  22. This will only be used to some degree as celebrities often want to be photographed walking in the airport. Some tip off the paparazzi with flight details.

  23. @Jim is absolutely correct. Celebs/Agents/Managers will now include this in their requests/contracts. Once one celeb has it, it will be become a most favored nation thing and everyone will demand it. At least maybe there will be less paparazzi in the regular terminal.

  24. The article said that a large number of memberships had been sold at a steep discount to companies and other organizations so one can assume that the service itself has also been heavily discounted too. Figure maybe a real cost of half of the numbers quoted.

  25. Most commenters are missing the point of this service…..it is not mainly for celebrities but rather for premium travellers who are tired of dealing with crowds, lineups, rude pseudo-service and irritable other passengers. Having enjoyed the Windsor Suite service at LHR and the Jet Quay service at SIN Changi, I can attest to the huge improvement of the travel experience that these services provide. It’s well worth an extra $4k when travelling on a $10k to $18k F ticket.

  26. Actually LAX is so bad that even $4k seems quite ok especially after a 14 hour flight from Sydney.

  27. Isn’t this close to where MGM Grand used to board? I flew with them several times.

  28. Convenience is a hot commodity in LA, any idea that decreases wait time, especially for locals dealing with long commutes, long lines, etc., this might be ingenius, especially since LAX is one of the most loathed symbols of congestion and wait time, time will tell…

  29. LAX actually posts a really good monthly passenger statistics overview on their page:

    http://www.lawa.org/LAXStatistics.aspx

    The statistics are listed per terminal, but I do see a category called, ‘All Other Terminals’. I’d love for LAX to start including The Private Suite in their statistics overview. It would be interesting to see how many people actually use it on a monthly basis!

  30. LAX really is a terrible airport. Instead of pouring money into improving infrastructure, they do this. The last time I was there, a guy came up to me soliciting opinions on behalf of the airport and I really laid into him. It’s just disgraceful that an airport that gets as much as foot traffic as this is such a monumental embarrassment. Imagine a foreigner coming to LAX for the first time and some of the first things they see are shallow corridors in 70s decor, stale, dirty carpets and that’s to say nothing of the attitudes from immigration, tsa and airport staff. LAX doesn’t need a VIP terminal what they NEED is connecting terminals (seriously, who designed this piece of crap – F for architecture and design) or at least some sort of private metro/shuttle. Sky Harbor is excellent in this regard. Pax should not have to lug their heavy luggage outside for 20 minutes to catch their connecting flight.

    Also not having things literally fall apart from the ceiling would be nice. The man who surveyed me asked me to highlight some problems and I literally pointed to the corner of the room where it was coming apart and told him, “There, see that? It’s falling apart and I didn’t even have to look for it. I see this throughout the airport.” He then told me that the terminal had been newly renovated (we were in Tom Bradley Intl), smh.

  31. what a waste of land.

    instead of using the acreage to build something more useful at a really outdated airport like LAX, they’re building something that only 0.0001% of the population can use.

  32. Do they pay the TSA salaries? Or are our tax dollars subsidizing the extra cost to the TSA for this?

  33. If the fees the rich pay for this don’t cover the entire costs, then that means the taxpayers will be footing part (more likely most) of the bill. We shouldn’t have to pay a penny for the elites to be even more elite.

  34. Anon. It’s located by the NCA cargo terminal and adjoining the Qantas cargo terminal and takes up very little space
    A new mid field concourse is under construction so LAX is not that outdated
    Hopefully delta will do something great to terminal 3 though

  35. Cece. In their defence I’m baffled re your comments regarding the TBIT
    It’s really nice , clean and lots of great places to eat The lounges are also amongst the best in the USA
    LAX is spending $4 billion on infrastructure including a new transit system
    Delta will rebuild terminal 3 and the first phase of the midfield concourse is under construction

    There are already airside connections on the south side A north side airside connector will be built

    I’ve used LAX multiple times over the years and it’s far better now

    The only issue seems that be the volume of private cars. Hopefully the new transit will alleviate that

  36. This isn’t exactly as stated: <>.

    The reality is that you will be driven from this building across the tarmac for maybe 100 feet or less – and then enjoy the “luxury” of traveling around two runways on a 20 mph service road. All while mixing it up with everybody else using that service road, including fueling trucks, “honey wagons,” and, worst of all, tugs towing trains of luggage carts.

    The trip to the nearest terminal will take at least 10-15 minutes, but they’ll probably double or triple that to be safe. If you are headed to Terminals 1-3 or the North side of Bradley Terminal, figure on 45 minutes to an hour. Because those cars aren’t emergency vehicles, have no red lights and aren’t exempt from that 20 mph. And, yes, I’ve been there, done that.

  37. Love the “Snack Towers of Sadness” (thanks Tiffany) and the sly addition of “Mrs Mason”.

    Interesting prospect at LAX. Seems like $1166/ppto is not that bad of a deal when you want your privacy for your family.

  38. this is so dumb. You could fly private without having to even go through TSA and getting shuttled to your plane at the LAX FBOs that are right there for that price. absurd.

  39. Back in January, I shared the first class cabin on a Delta flight from LAX to Cancun with Paris Hilton. Upon arrival, there was someone waiting for her at the top of the jetway so that she didn’t have to stand in the customs line with everyone else. That piqued my curiosity, and I discovered there are fast track VIP arrival services available in Cancun, but I haven’t seen pricing listed anywhere. Anyone tried it?

  40. @Cece

    Many of your comments also apply to those of us in/near DC who have to fly out of Dulles. While there are some differences in areas of complaint, we feel your pain…

  41. just looking at the photos it looks like the type of ‘experience’ you buy on Groupon. shuddering at the grossness and laziness of that snack tower ‘design’

    what’s so bad about pinkberry, tsa pre and the sky club!

  42. Why not put stripes on the roof so Harrison Ford can land on it. The rich get rich and the poor get beaten, abused, dragged out of their seats and left out in the cold without their luggage then banned from ever flying again. Makes sense, I love America.

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