My Visit To LAX’s Super Secret, $4,000 Per Visit “Celebrity Terminal”

Filed Under: Travel

This past Wednesday I flew from Los Angeles to Incheon on Asiana, though I got to my plane in a very special way. Earlier in the year I wrote about how LAX got a new private terminal at the airport, clearly targeted at celebrities (and other super wealthy individuals) who value their privacy. The Private Suite reached out and offered to give me the “full experience.” As you guys know, a vast majority of my travel is paid for in cash or miles, though this is an invitation I couldn’t say no to.

While I’ll have a full trip report within the next couple of weeks, I wanted to write this post in my normal “10 pictures” format as a teaser. Let me also add that I intentionally won’t be sharing any opinions on the experience in this post — instead I’ll save those for the full review. Furthermore, I should mention that The Private Suite has very strict policies about taking pictures — you can only take pictures in your private suite, and in the car, so I couldn’t take any of the entrance, the public areas, or the TSA area. This is largely to ensure the privacy of all their guests.

The Private Suite is located just near the cargo ramp on the south side of the airport. After giving my ID to a security guard, double gates opened to allow my Uber into the facility. There I was immediately greeted by someone and escorted into my private suite (there are about a dozen at the facility). 17 steps later I was in suite #10.

The suite had a large selection of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), snacks, travel necessities, etc. Everything was included.

There was also a private bathroom, which had more amenities.

I was told to pick up the phone in my suite if I wanted anything, but other than that was left alone completely. For example, they won’t even knock on your door. I had ordered a cappuccino, and when it was ready I was called on my in-suite phone and told it was outside my door.

The Private Suite can arrange just about anything for you, ranging from a massage to a doctor’s appointment to a haircut to any sort of a meal (members get this all included at no extra cost).

When my flight was ready for boarding, I was escorted to the private TSA checkpoint. I didn’t see any other guests there the whole time, though they had four TSA agents on staff. At that point I was put into one of their BMW 7-Series and driven to Tom Bradley International Terminal by two guys with earpieces.

Once we got to Tom Bradley International Terminal I was greeted by another guy with an earpiece, who took me up a side entrance and introduced me to a manager for Asiana, who escorted me onto the plane.

The cost for all this? It depends on whether you’re a member or not. As a non-member traveling internationally, this would have retailed for $4,000:

Stay tuned for the full review!

Comments

  1. Slightly unrelated, but I clicked on the link that takes you to the membership page and I am APPALLED by the banner picture using those cheap graphics; I would honestly question how legit this is if I didn’t know it was haha!

  2. Four TSA agents? I hope this “Private Suite” company is fully paying for them, not the rest of the flying public.

  3. ummmm…super secret??? seriously. Not really that special compared to other First class lounges across the world. But this is hardly a secret lounge since there are 17! I also want to know why you added things like “an earpiece” did it really make the review more informative???????

  4. Admirable, although somewhat surprising, that they employ so many hearing impaired people at this facility.

  5. @ Mike O. The car likely belongs to BMW USA, which is headquartered in NJ. Good marketing for their target demo to have their cars used for this kind of service.

  6. @Scott, maybe he wanted to state the difference that normally employees in airport operations use radios instead of earpieces.

  7. I don’t blame you for checking this out. Looks a bit dull to me and slightly pointless given that you can’t take photos of what seems like most of the facility. But like I say from a curiosity perspective I can see why you agreed to review it.

  8. $4000 is way overpriced for this! Sure its really private, but I would much rather prefer the LH First Class Terminal over this. Your “suite” to me looks like a small quiet corner of a United Club.

  9. Cool! I’m excited to hear your non-neutral thoughts in the full review.

    Also is that an ANA 787 I spy in one of the pictures? I can see chevrons on the engine. I wasn’t aware that ANA flew the Dreamliner to the US…?

  10. I assume they work with the airlines to make sure you get your boarding pass, for airlines that might not offer online check-in departing the US. And what about checked bags?

  11. I’m all for this concept- before a flight is usually the best time to relax a bit from the tension of trips. So much can be done in the time that would otherwise have gone wasted. Now if only I can find a way to pay for this….

  12. Those of you saying that this is overpriced for the amenities and comfort you get are missing the point. Imagine you’re George Clooney, and you and Amal and the twins have tickets from LA to New York. Now imagine you and your family are hanging around the main terminal, or even in the United Club, waiting to board your flight. Think of the pandemonium.

    What this service is selling is fundamentally *privacy*, not comfort. And it’s selling it to people who (1) are celebrities and (2) have a lot of money. If even just one of those does not apply to you, then of course the value you get out of this will be nowhere near the $3000 or $4000 they charge. But George and Amal are different.

  13. @Snic, I second your point. If I have Clooney’s status, it’s a business expense. This service (and the cost) is not for regular people, folks.

  14. Sometimes I wonder whether some of the people who comment here actually read what you’ve written. There’s usually a comment or two that asks a question where the answer is abundantly clear from what you wrote. Either you’re quick with unattributed edits or we have some folks who didn’t get out of the first SRA box in elementary school.

    While I’m on this unnecessary soapbox (and not related to reading comprehension), I like the odd bits of color that you throw in to these reports too. They help to paint a picture of what happened.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. It seems very odd that they won’t bring you a coffee. You have to go to the door and get it?Not my idea of excellence in customer care. Bizarre really.

  16. I’m sure my priority pass would get me in
    It didn’t even work in Seattle at the Alaska Lounge!
    Told they weren’t excepting today

  17. @niko jas: “It seems very odd that they won’t bring you a coffee. ”

    Again, the point is *privacy*. The fewer people a celebrity has to interact with between setting foot in the departure airport and getting into the car at the arrival airport, the better.

  18. @niko jas

    You completely missed the point. If you were famous or rich and had an assistant, you can get in the suite and order anything without even interacting with the lounge staff delivering your coffee. Your assistant would grab it from the door.

  19. I don’t believe that I’ve been on this blog before today and I rarely post comments anywhere. That said, I found this post too fascinating to resist.

    I can see even someone not celebrity or 1% using this even occasionally as a means for meetings where discretion is paramount. Especially business people and/or politicians. As someone already mentioned, for the majority of the target clientele, this would be a business expense.

    Can you imagine – a sports star who doesn’t want his team to know he”s consulting a orthopedic surgeon, therapist, new agent, considering an offer from a rival team etc etc

    Secret (or court-ordered) family visits during custody disputes.

    Meeting with attorneys.

    Secret business meetings that you don’t want anyone to know about. On your itinerary it just looks like a flight layover.

    I am surprised, however, that it isn’t even a little more comfortably furnished…. eg a reclining chair, a however in the bathroom. Would have expected a full-length mirror to facilitate outfit changes/refreshes.

    Were there different levels of suites?

    So am I correct to think that this means little/no opportunity for paparazzi/general public to take photos of someone arriving or exiting the airport?

  20. LOVE THIS Ben! Im very happy this service is now available in LA, I cant stand the paparazzi in the terminals. And for those asking, you’re paying for convenience and privacy, not luxury amenities or a Lufthansa First class terminal feel. You really have to be from LA and work in the industry to understand how valuable this service is, specifically to LAX of all airports.

  21. @Brian “we have some folks who didn’t get out of the first SRA box in elementary school.” LOL! I have fond memories of that box, but haven’t thought of it in years!
    Ive been noticing more and more that the answers to many comments are already in the post.

  22. I’m sure this is a lovely service for public figures. Had to laugh a little though – one of the world’s premier lounge experiences and still rockin’ the “Snack Towers of Sadness”.

  23. Hi @Niko the reason for service staff not coming in to the room is due to the privacy expectations of their clients. Most of the individuals using this service will have their own EA / manager / assistant travelling with them. Those are the people who would go to the door and pick up the tea / coffee.

  24. Does the standard TSA Procedure apply to the “Celebrity Terminal” as well? (full body scanner, removing shoes, laptops…) Is there a Pre-Check available? I am really curious…

  25. @ BrooklynBoy – Zoom closer and you’ll find that that’s a 777. The “chevron” you see is merely the nozzle at the back of the engine superimposed upon some white obstruction and the bottom of the fuselage.

  26. I’m not really that impressed by this service based on what the pictures show.

    The room doesn’t have a lounge (sofa), nor a bedroom. The fridge set up looked sub-par and the lollies on the wall was tacky. I’d imagine something like the Residence lounge for Etihad is more VIP than this.

    $4000 cash – I’d rather spend that on other things, especially when you get a better experience at the regular first lounge with major airlines.

    Still, I look forward to reading the more comprehensive review.

  27. @snic, I actually saw George Clooney in an Admirals Club a few years ago.

    No pandemonium.

    Thats usually reserved for whatever Beiber type is in fashion amongst the tweens

  28. The decor certainly looks uninspired and is that a stain I see on the left side of the window seat in the picture #2?

    Not that the pricing would ever make this a value proposition for an average person, but how much time does the $3500/$4000 buy you? Let’s say you were headed to somewhere like Rome or Paris for your honeymoon and you wanted the whole experience to be as unique and special as possible for your s/o — could you spend a couple of hours there before boarding your flight, maybe with some decent catering (not a dispenser of M&Ms, ugh)? Speaking of which, other than the aforesaid window seat, is there anywhere you could, you could get busy? You know, join the Sea Level Club 🙂

  29. Don’t real celebrities just get out of their car and step directly onto a private Gulfstream? No need for a lounge.

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