The Salon At LAX: New $695 Airport Social Lounge

The Salon At LAX: New $695 Airport Social Lounge

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An uber-exclusive new lounge will be opening at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at the end of the month, and it’s likely to draw mixed reactions.

PS expands with “The Salon at LAX”

First for some context, The Private Suite (now simply branded “PS”) opened at LAX in 2017, and is a facility for those who want to skip the terminal altogether. You get dropped off at a completely different part of the airport away from the terminal, you get a private room at the facility, then you go through a private security checkpoint, and then you get driven directly to your plane.

I reviewed this incredible experience shortly after it opened, and suffice to say that it’s quite an experience. That being said, it’s pricey — we’re talking thousands of dollars per visit.

The Private Suite at LAX private room
The Private Suite at LAX transfer

As of July 30, 2021, PS will be opening The Salon at LAX, which is a new social lounge intended for the social traveler. It’s also a more affordable way to experience part of the PS experience.

As it’s described, The Salon at LAX is “designed for the individual traveler who wants to skip the chaos of the airport.” Reservations at The Salon at LAX will start at $695 per person (and only those 21+ years old are eligible). Here’s what you can expect from the experience:

  • Rather than having a private room, you’ll have access to The Salon, which is a shared place that’s intended to be social
  • While in the lounge, complimentary cocktails and snacks will be available, curated by h.wood Group, which has several popular LA-area restaurants
  • When it’s time to fly, you’ll be ushered through the TSA checkpoint, though it’s only “semi-private” rather than “private,” which is to say that you may be escorted through with other passengers
  • Rather than being driven directly to the plane, it seems like you’ll just be transported “across the airfield,” and will perhaps be dropped off somewhere in the terminal

As Joshua Gausman, co-CEO of PS, describes this new concept:

“We decided early on that adding a social lounge experience would be an enhancement for those traveling alone or on business. Providing a beautiful environment with great (and included) food and drinks where you can meet others made a lot of sense. People are spending to make trips and experiences special. They are seeking out safe spaces for themselves, and they are enjoying the socialization missing from 2020.”

Below are some pictures of The Salon at LAX, which sure looks gorgeous.

The Salon at LAX
The Salon at LAX
The Salon at LAX

My take on The Salon at LAX

First of all, I’m not the target market for this for a variety of reasons:

  • I’m an introvert, and socializing with strangers seems unpleasant to me to begin with
  • Beyond that, socializing with strangers who paid $695 for the privilege of socializing with others strangers who are willing to pay the same amount to do the same seems even more unpleasant to me

But let me take my introverted self out of this, and pretend that I’m more social for a second. On the one hand, I commend PS for thinking outside the box and trying to create more demand without cannibalizing its existing business, as this clearly targets a different market (PS was initially for those who want privacy and don’t want to socialize). This is also such an LA thing, and I could see people paying for this.

On the other hand, this seems sort of impractical for an airport lounge:

  • The benefit of PS is significant time savings, while here it seems like you’re almost encouraged to arrive early so you can socialize, so there are no time savings to be had here
  • It sounds like car transfers will be shared, and won’t actually be to the aircraft, but rather to the terminal; I wouldn’t exactly call that a terribly seamless experience

So yeah, this is a great concept for rich extroverts who like to socialize with other rich extroverts while paying to hang out at an airport. Meanwhile for the rest of us, it’ll be cubed cheese and Snack Towers of Sadness in the Admirals Club…

Bottom line

The Salon at LAX is a new $695 per person lounge that’s part of PS. This is intended to be a social lounge with complimentary drinks and snacks. A reservation here also includes semi-private security screening and terminal transfers.

Obviously this isn’t for me — the concept of paying $695 to arrive early at the airport to be able to socialize with others doesn’t sound that appealing. But for others…

What do you make of The Salon at LAX concept?

(Tip of the hat to Mike)

Conversations (29)
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  1. Sean S. Guest

    I think what PS offers is interesting here because it definitely puts what is actually a realistic price on what everyone thinks they are going to get by virtue of having some sort of airline status. The reality is that separate check in, security, customs, and being the first to board are expensive and high labor cost propositions. You can bet that the salaries of the TSA agents and the customs officers are not being...

    I think what PS offers is interesting here because it definitely puts what is actually a realistic price on what everyone thinks they are going to get by virtue of having some sort of airline status. The reality is that separate check in, security, customs, and being the first to board are expensive and high labor cost propositions. You can bet that the salaries of the TSA agents and the customs officers are not being paid for by the federal government, but rather subsidized like many Pre-board facilities are internationally.

  2. Fergus Guest

    I would trade the LA of today with all the extra luxury hotels and exclusive clubs, tech updates etc for the LA of 40 years ago that was more equal, fewer homeless (although still around and with dangerous areas it felt much safer to me at the beaches then) and the city was more middle class.

    Maybe it is just that I have gotten older, but I feel the place has lost its identity...

    I would trade the LA of today with all the extra luxury hotels and exclusive clubs, tech updates etc for the LA of 40 years ago that was more equal, fewer homeless (although still around and with dangerous areas it felt much safer to me at the beaches then) and the city was more middle class.

    Maybe it is just that I have gotten older, but I feel the place has lost its identity now, and is like a third world city with the huge wealth divide and small middle class, lots of poor people but also a very wealthy elite.
    There was a time when many Middle
    Class Europeans aspired to live in LA, now they prefer cities such as Sydney and Barcelona.

  3. Motion to Dismiss Guest

    I'm flying JetBlue Mint out of LAX in a few weeks, so don't have lounge access tied to the ticket. Since the Centurion Lounge there is closed and the only nearby open Priority Pass Lounge (the Alaska Airlines Lounge) isn't even accepting PP members most of the time nowadays due to capacity constraints, I figured I'd look into this since it could be a fun novelty to try once. (And contrary to what Ben wrote...

    I'm flying JetBlue Mint out of LAX in a few weeks, so don't have lounge access tied to the ticket. Since the Centurion Lounge there is closed and the only nearby open Priority Pass Lounge (the Alaska Airlines Lounge) isn't even accepting PP members most of the time nowadays due to capacity constraints, I figured I'd look into this since it could be a fun novelty to try once. (And contrary to what Ben wrote here, the PS website explicitly states that even for The Salon they will bring you directly to the aircraft.)

    Yet rather than $695, when I put in my flight details I was quoted a price of $1200! It's a shame since I would've done it for $695 but not at $1200.

    1. Schar Gold

      $695 is one way, you probably put in roundtrip.

  4. Raj Guest

    This is a ridiculous amount of money for what you get. We really want a good Lounge are recommended Centurion Lounge. It'll be less than $600 for the whole year

  5. Aaron Guest

    Is it just me, or is the main website not being updated? I feel like only the blog page is being updated on a regular basis...

  6. TM Guest

    I remember seeing this announced via email, but their ambigious language implies a diluted private suite experience. I wish they would focus on expanding their service at major airports throughout the United States.

    PS definitely makes flying commercial a lot more pleasant experience, but it's the small touches that make it that much better. From privacy, to being able to drop off my car or rental car there instead, to the "handoff" to an airline...

    I remember seeing this announced via email, but their ambigious language implies a diluted private suite experience. I wish they would focus on expanding their service at major airports throughout the United States.

    PS definitely makes flying commercial a lot more pleasant experience, but it's the small touches that make it that much better. From privacy, to being able to drop off my car or rental car there instead, to the "handoff" to an airline representative who are actually quite friendly compared with going through standard channels. I wonder how PS is able to develop these relationships with all sorts of different airlines (domestic and international carriers).

    I have no interest in using the Salon since it seems like there will probably be quite a bit of opportunists/"influencers"/wannabes there. I really hope this doesn't dilute the regular PS experience.

    1. Desi Guest

      ITA about them expanding to other airports TM. This service is sorely needed at JFK.

  7. Schar Gold

    I dont know where you got the idea that they won't drive you to the plane, but as far as the higher ups at PS have put it, nothing has changed there.

    This is basically the whole PS experience, but with a few other strangers. Sharing the communal space, which is still WAY emptier and quieter than a regular lounge at LAX, sharing a TSA line, again, with minimal amount of people compared to...

    I dont know where you got the idea that they won't drive you to the plane, but as far as the higher ups at PS have put it, nothing has changed there.

    This is basically the whole PS experience, but with a few other strangers. Sharing the communal space, which is still WAY emptier and quieter than a regular lounge at LAX, sharing a TSA line, again, with minimal amount of people compared to LAX, and then a shared car ride to your aircraft.

    On top of that, the odds that another person that will be on your same flight will be at PS, therefore forcing you to "share" the TSA and car ride together, is low.

    Private TSA, private customs, private lounge, direct car to your aircraft, all of this away from the busy insanity that is LAX for a FRACTION of the actual Private Suite price.

    Id say it's worth it. You should review it though and tell us exactly how it is, but as I see it, it sure is promising.

  8. Morgan Gold

    Its a glorified more expensive, and probably not as good first class lounge

  9. skimegheath Platinum

    Apparently Prince Harry uses The Private Suite. What are the odds of him socialising?

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And imagine what a gold digger can do to a prince.
      Buckingham sure beats LA. Duchy of Cornwall sure pays better than Hollywood.
      But you gotta let it go.

      That's why I'm warning @Alonzo to beware of gold diggers who can afford $695 for socializing.

  10. SINJim Guest

    The lead sentence is the one that should be given the most weight:

    "Designed for the individual traveler who wants to skip the chaos of the airport."

    The "social" part is marketing-speak for taking a negative (the Salon is non-exclusive) and spinning it into a positive (the other travelers are great for socializing with).

    Anyone who has endured the LAX "horseshoe" and terminal chaos could appreciate this. Moreover, it is a fraction of...

    The lead sentence is the one that should be given the most weight:

    "Designed for the individual traveler who wants to skip the chaos of the airport."

    The "social" part is marketing-speak for taking a negative (the Salon is non-exclusive) and spinning it into a positive (the other travelers are great for socializing with).

    Anyone who has endured the LAX "horseshoe" and terminal chaos could appreciate this. Moreover, it is a fraction of the cost of PS.

    Bottom line: this is akin to flying business class versus first class. Comfort versus comfort + privacy. I think that they have a winner on their hands.

    1. Geoff Guest

      Horseshoe will be gone in another 24 months.... Given the new parking and other transit that is happening at LAX.

      Another $400 booked through UA gets you the "PS"

      Then again if you are flying international at LAX in First you get the privacy anyway... and an escort through TSA

  11. TheJagMan Guest

    "Rather than being driven directly to the plane, it seems like you’ll just be transported “across the airfield,” and will perhaps be dropped off somewhere in the terminal"

    On the Salon website, it says you will be shuttled to your plane. It also says checking bags and valet parking are extra.

    1. TM Guest

      Sounds like they'll stick you on a bus or van (like a rental car shuttle) and ideally have someone walk you to your gate to check yourself in or they might just drop you off at a predetermined point in the terminal for you to walk to the gate yourself. It sounds like a lite version of PS, but I can see how it could appeal to frequent travelers that can't expense the full PS...

      Sounds like they'll stick you on a bus or van (like a rental car shuttle) and ideally have someone walk you to your gate to check yourself in or they might just drop you off at a predetermined point in the terminal for you to walk to the gate yourself. It sounds like a lite version of PS, but I can see how it could appeal to frequent travelers that can't expense the full PS fee, but might be able to justify the lower fee.

      I can't wait to see a review on this service. Not to sound crass, but I hope that they don't oversell this service to where regular PS service gets affected.

  12. guflyer Guest

    Will it still have a special area to clear US Customs and Border Patrol without having to wait in line?

  13. Lillian Cohen Guest

    So So disgusted they need to move it on No Life move it on

  14. Chris Guest

    Sounds cheaper then bottle service at the Abbey

  15. CF_Frost New Member

    This sounds like the Four Seasons business model. Folks pay extra to stay at an ordinary hotel. But you are surrounded only by others who can also afford it.

  16. Andrew Guest

    Gasoline cars? How early 2000s.

  17. TheJagMan Guest

    It's starting at $695, which might only be on a Tuesday afternoon only, I wonder what the average is. I don't really get it as many utilizing this will already have airline status, clear and lounge access...

  18. Alonzo Guest

    Socializing with strangers.....it's called networking lmao. People who pay that kind of money to hang there, have money and network with like minded folks. Get with the program.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      This is where you're wrong. People who pay that kind of money doesn't mean they belong there. You are more likely to end up with overpriced gold diggers. But if you're a billionaire looking for some diggers to have fun, by all means go have fun.

      People who have money and network with like minded folks get burned by these simple pay to join.
      Those people would rather pay $695 to not meet anyone....

      This is where you're wrong. People who pay that kind of money doesn't mean they belong there. You are more likely to end up with overpriced gold diggers. But if you're a billionaire looking for some diggers to have fun, by all means go have fun.

      People who have money and network with like minded folks get burned by these simple pay to join.
      Those people would rather pay $695 to not meet anyone. You want to network with me, then invite me to an event worth attending, then I'll be there.

      Try spending $5-10k on bottle service and you'll understand. Your private table suddenly have so many strangers.
      Try getting invited to Elon Musk's private party.
      Whose party you want to network?

      The key isn't the expensive fee, it's invite only.

  19. Gregg Guest

    I’m with you on this Ben. I’m more comfortable in the Admirals Club, even with its many flaws and all.

  20. Anthony Guest

    It would only make sense if they provided beds for "mingling" with the attractive stranger you meet in the lounge. Otherwise not worth the money. I have had plenty of boozy chat/flirt sessions at regular lounges, airport bars, etc. One of the best things about flying regularly is chatting up strangers.

    1. P-LGA Guest

      That’s when they sell you an upgrade to the PS private rooms…

    2. Eskimo Guest

      @Lucky does make a point.
      "socializing with strangers who paid $695 for the privilege of socializing with others strangers who are willing to pay the same amount to do the same "

      You would end up with overpriced gold diggers in this situation. No win to me.

      I'm also sure if you can hook up from your boozy chat/flirt sessions, $695 each can get you a very nice room. (or a year of Amex Platinum each)

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Schar Gold

$695 is one way, you probably put in roundtrip.

1
Schar Gold

I dont know where you got the idea that they won't drive you to the plane, but as far as the higher ups at PS have put it, nothing has changed there. This is basically the whole PS experience, but with a few other strangers. Sharing the communal space, which is still WAY emptier and quieter than a regular lounge at LAX, sharing a TSA line, again, with minimal amount of people compared to LAX, and then a shared car ride to your aircraft. On top of that, the odds that another person that will be on your same flight will be at PS, therefore forcing you to "share" the TSA and car ride together, is low. Private TSA, private customs, private lounge, direct car to your aircraft, all of this away from the busy insanity that is LAX for a FRACTION of the actual Private Suite price. Id say it's worth it. You should review it though and tell us exactly how it is, but as I see it, it sure is promising.

1
SINJim Guest

The lead sentence is the one that should be given the most weight: "Designed for the individual traveler who wants to skip the chaos of the airport." The "social" part is marketing-speak for taking a negative (the Salon is non-exclusive) and spinning it into a positive (the other travelers are great for socializing with). Anyone who has endured the LAX "horseshoe" and terminal chaos could appreciate this. Moreover, it is a fraction of the cost of PS. Bottom line: this is akin to flying business class versus first class. Comfort versus comfort + privacy. I think that they have a winner on their hands.

1
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