Inside The High-End Secret Terminal Celebs Are Using At LAX

Air travel has become a daunting hellscape of long lines, insane delays, and one anxiety-producing inconvenience after another. These days, we have to weigh how much we want to take a trip against how much we're dreading a visit to the crowded airport and see which one wins out before planning travel. But, what if the airport was more like a five-star hotel suite and the process of getting through security to your plane was as relaxing as a day at the spa? As fantastical as this air travel scenario may seem, it actually is available and, unsurprisingly, celebrities are the target audience.

At Los Angeles International Airport, there exists an exclusive luxury terminal called The Private Suite. Owned and operated by the Gavin de Becker & Associates security firm, The Private Suite at LAX is the first-of-its-kind in the United States. According to Josh Gausman, COO and co-founder of the Private Suite, LAX was a good candidate for this kind of secure terminal because of paparazzi constantly swarming the place waiting for celebrities to snap. "When traveling with clients, we saw that overseas airports utilised remote terminals to process high-risk travellers and government officials. We knew that model would work well in the United States too not only to facilitate safe passage into and out of a very busy place but also to solve an out-of-control paparazzi problem that plagued LAX," Gausman tells Refinery29. "With The Private Suite, we were able to solve a problem that was creating distractions, congestion, car accidents, and injuries overnight."


While the creation of The Private Suite cost nothing on LAX's part, getting a spot there does cost travellers. Anyone can become a member by paying an annual membership fee of $4,500 (£3,545). If you're a member, a spot at the Private Suite before or after domestic flights costs $2,700 (£2,127) and $3,500 (£2,757) before or after international flights. This payment covers up to three companion passengers. Non-members can book a spot for $3,500 (£2,757) for domestic flights and $4,000 (£3,151) for international flights. These fees cover up to two companion passengers.

The Private Suite's membership cost is high, but the payments will get travellers and their companions more than just a secluded area to hang out in while they wait to board their flight or after they land. Ahead, get an inside look at the Private Suite's many perks, along with answers to your most pressing questions about the exclusive terminal.

A team of eight people is assigned to each traveler and their companions when they book time at The Private Suite. One member of the team is dedicated to handling member's private TSA screening. "The screening and equipment are exactly what you'd find in the main terminals, however, there is no one else in line!" Gausman explains. That means one of the most stressful parts of the air travel process is eliminated. "The TSA agents come directly from LAX, and the same rules apply to travellers who have TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry. Screenings are completely private, with scheduling purposely coordinated so that no two guests are going through TSA at the same time, even if on the same flight." In addition to private TSA screening for outgoing travellers, on-site customs and immigration processing is also offered.
According to Gausman, "The Private Suite was designed with an international appeal in mind, highlighting personalised items, with a comfortable, convenient, and minimalist atmosphere." Day beds and blackout shades allow travellers with early morning or late night flights and long layovers to catch up on their rest while they wait to board.

Each suite offers views of the airfield, but soundproofing eliminates aircraft noise almost entirely. Though travellers will have a view, there are absolutely no paparazzi view or access points, making the stay perfect for celebrities. "The suites are so private," Gausman tells us, "that many guests actually won’t see other travellers while passing through."
The space actually contains 10 separate suites that accommodate a varying number of guests and one shared lounge that accommodates about 10 travellers. Since privacy is the key feature of this exclusive terminal, much effort is put into scheduling clients' stay. "The team proactively communicates with members when reaching a higher volume of reservations to ensure all travel needs are pre-arranged. This ensures that The Private Suite members are always accommodated with at least 24-hour notice," Gausman says. To help keep up with demand, Gavin de Becker & Associates has plans to expand.
Being stuck inside for hours during a layover or delay can be miserable. In this exclusive spot adjacent to LAX, travelers don't have to worry about cabin fever. "The outdoor area is an exciting spot to enjoy the California sunshine before or after a flight, with areas designed for play for adults, children, and pets alike," Gausman explains. One guest suite even features its own patio for an extra-private outdoor wait.
Each suite features its own bathroom and food-service pantry just like at a hotel. Members also receive complimentary in-suite meals that can be ordered ahead of arrival.
There are also complimentary in-suite massages, manicures, haircuts, and a shower spa. Members are also given complimentary parking and detailing for personal cars and can even arrange a Concierge Doctor to be waiting in their suite.
For travellers who require extra space, Gausman says there is an option to combine suites. Members also have access to the Member's Conference Room and video-conference studio.
"The Private Suite is located adjacent to LAX on West Imperial Highway," Josh Gausman tells Refinery29. "Directly across the runway from the Tom Bradley International Terminal." No matter which terminal a traveller's plane is leaving from, they will be given a ride to their plane in a runway-side BMW 7 Series sedans. Once the car is to the correct area of the tarmac, travellers are escorted from the jet-bridge to the aircraft door.
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