Airports. Don’t you just hate them? The queues. The wait. The people. The harsh lighting. Well, at least for one major international airport – Los Angeles, or LAX – the experience just got a whole lot more bearable. That’s because the airport has introduced an all-new exclusive terminal for the rich and the famous, the Private Suite.
Designed to mimic the experience of private air travel, the Private Suite is entirely separate from the main LAX buildings, which handled 81 million passengers in 2016. Security guards flank the entrance, and once through the gates, departing passengers get a personal suite to rest and relax in, while check-in and luggage procedures are handled discreetly. Daybeds, snacks, toiletries, entertainment distractions and even an emergency change of clothes make this more of a hotel suite. Once their (commercial or private) plane is ready for take-off, the Private Suite’s fleet of BMW 7-series sedans glide across the tarmac for a complete door-to-plane experience.
The brainchild of security expert Gavin de Becker, the experience also works in reverse. The BMWs await to drive the arriving passengers directly to suite, where there are no long or rowdy queues at immigration and customs. The Private Suite is the first of its kind in the USA, modelled after existing private terminals such as London Heathrow’s Windsor Suite, upgraded and perfected. The proof is in the numbers. A conventional car-to-plane-seat journey at LAX typically takes 2,200 steps; with Private Suites, it’s 70 steps.
A LAX Private Suite can be booked for US$1,500-4,000 (RM6,450-17,200) per one-way trip, or under an annual membership (US$7,500/RM32,250) that includes perks such as complimentary massages and terminal parking. With the Hollywood glitterati already taking to it, there are now plans to open another Private Suite; this time on the opposite coast at New York’s JFK International Airport.