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.