- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is home to America’s first private terminal.
- The Private Suite is popular among the world’s celebrities and millionaires.
- The terminal has 12 individual suites, its own TSA check, and a fleet of BMWs that drive guests to their planes.
- Non-members can utilize the suite for $4,000 per international flight.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Airports suck. Camping out in customs lines, sprinting a mile to your gate, it’s the worst and the furthest thing from luxury. But imagine you had some extra cash saved up, would you spend it to skip all of that airport madness? Well, that’s what the minds behind America’s very first private terminal are betting on. In 2017, The Private Suite opened up at LAX. And for $4,000 per international flight, guests get access to a luxurious, super secure, private terminal just two miles from the normal one.
Amina: At LAX, it takes about 2,200 steps to get from the check-in counter to your plane door. For us, it takes 70 steps.
Narrator: Each year, thousands of the world’s millionaires and celebrities relax between flights in the terminal’s 12 individual suites. The Private Suite coordinates with 70 airlines, has an onsite TSA check, and owns a fleet of BMWs that drives travelers right to their planes. So what’s it like inside the place claiming to make travel not only easy but enjoyable? We had our LA team go and check out The Private Suite themselves.
Caroline: Hello, so I just arrived to The Private Suite at LAX. And there is a lot of security, like when you pull in, they asked for my ID, and this guy in like a bulletproof vest. So it is very highly secured. I am going to pretend I am very affluent for an hour.
Narrator: When you first pull up, you enter through these ominous gates with armed guards and a sign warning no filming is allowed. Right away, you’re assigned a logistics team of eight people. They take care of everything during your stay from valeting and detailing your car to checking in your baggage. And don’t worry about missing your flight, the team’s watching the clock. When you enter the terminal, there’s no check-in. You’re escorted straight to your private suite.
Caroline: Wow. Oh, my gosh, it’s like your private hotel room.
Narrator: Each suite has a fully stocked kitchenette loaded with snacks. You can also order food off a curated menu ahead of time, so it’s ready when you arrive.
Caroline: Oh, my gosh, they have food. It’s not like the fast food options you get at the airport. You get, like, healthier options. This is exactly what I ordered. Narrator: There’s a minibar with spirits, Champagne, and white wine. You can get red wine upon request. There’s even a candy wall.
Caroline: This is perfect for kids, but it’s also, like, perfect for me as an adult. We got M&M’s, chocolate-covered, I’m assuming they’re raisins, jelly beans, Hershey’s, and Skittles.
Narrator: All of the suites come with an en suite bathroom stocked with toiletries. There’s no shower in these, but the members can utilize the spa shower just down the hall. They can also book complimentary massages, manicures, or haircuts right in their suites. And in case you forgot something, each suite has pillows, power adapters, and travel accessories on hand. One of the suites even has a backyard complete with a putting green and cornhole. When your flight time approaches, your team will let you know it’s time to pack up. You’ll breeze through TSA in under a few minutes, and you don’t have to worry about bags, The Private Suite’s taken care of checking those in. Once cleared, you’ll hop on a 7 Series BMW that drives you the seven minutes across the tarmac to your flight.
Amina: When you’re driving, being driven through the airfield, you know, between the airplanes to your plane, that’s a really special kind of experience that frankly only we can deliver, and that’s something that, a memory that people take away with them all the time.
Narrator: So how does The Private Suite manage to cut down on travel times and still maintain privacy? With lots and lots of planning.
Amina: Most people don’t realize the operational complexity that happens in the background to even getting one member through here. For example, we have a control room. It looks like, you know, the NASA space center or something. We know exactly what container in the airplane your luggage is in before your airplane actually lands so that we can intercept your luggage and take it out for you before it hits the conveyor belt. That’s the kind of meticulous coordination that happens in the background every step of the way.
Narrator: Members of The Private Suite pay a yearly fee of $4,500 and an extra $3,000 per international flight, but you can utilize the suite even if you’re not a member. You won’t have a yearly fee, but you’ll pay between $500 and $1,000 more per flight.
Caroline: I can really see the benefits of being a member if you’re traveling a lot because I think that would decrease the price a little bit. But also, if you wanna splurge on a really fun trip that you’re taking with your friends, and you’re just like, “You know what, we saved up. We need to do this, like, the best way possible. Why don’t we just come in, come into the lounge, and just get on the flight with ease.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in March 2019.