Experience The Private Suite LAX For Under $100 Per Person

While LAX has a lot of great lounges (like the Qantas First Class Lounge, American Flagship First Dining, etc.), the most exclusive space in the airport isn’t even in one of the terminals.

The Private Suite LAX

The most exclusive “lounge” at the airport is The Private Suite, which is a completely separate facility where you can relax before your flight, and then you clear security and immigration in private, before being driven to your plane in a BMW 7-Series.

I had the chance to experience The Private Suite last year, and wrote a full review.

Here’s what the pricing is like for this service:

There’s no doubt the experience is impressive, in the sense that you’ll be brought onto the plane having walked just a few dozen steps, and having interacted with at most a few people (the people escorting and driving you, and TSA officers at the dedicated facility).

I’ve wondered how big the market is for something like this. There are a lot of very rich people in LA, but the catch is that this is of limited use to those flying private, since they don’t have to wait for flights. How many people are willing to spend thousands of dollars per flight to make commercial flights more enjoyable?

I predicted at the time that they’d come up with some creative partnerships, and that’s exactly what happened this May. United announced a partnership with The Private Suite, where passengers on select routes could pay to access The Private Suite at a discount. They received a discounted fee of $1,250 per person for a domestic flight, and $1,495 per person for an international flight.

The Private Suite is now MUCH cheaper

Well, now The Private Suite has a new promotion for United flyers, as noted by Benji Stawski. As part of this partnership:

  • The Private Suite is now open to passengers traveling on all United flights
  • First time users can experience The Private Suite for just $375 one-way or $700 roundtrip for domestic flights, or $500 one-way or $900 roundtrip for international flights, and that’s for a party of up to four people

The only catch is that this is for The Private Suite’s shared lounge, rather than a private suite. The shared lounge is essentially double the size of a private lounge, though I can’t imagine it’s generally going to be very crowded.

You still get all the food and drinks you’d otherwise get, and you still get access to the private security checkpoints. You’ll also be driven to the plane, though it’s possible it will be a shared ride (though it seems highly unlikely that multiple parties will be taking the same flight, so I think it’s unlikely it would be shared).

If you ask me, this actually puts The Private Suite into a price range that I’d consider to be reasonable, as you’re paying less than $100 per person.

What does this say about the service?

From the beginning I’ve said that the pricing just seems outrageous, though a lot of people said I was wrong. Hopefully we can now all agree, because under $100 per person is a long way from where they started.

I still think their pricing model is off. Sure, there’s value in getting people through the door and having them experience the service firsthand. But if the first visit is essentially over 90% off, then it’s unlikely you’ll get any repeat clients from that service. It’s like offering people a $25 Chili’s gift card to test drive a Rolls Royce.

It’s one thing if the price the second visit is double, but potentially 10x as much? That just seems silly.

The funny way The Private Suite describes this

This quote from The Private Suite’s co-founder and COO sure is interesting:

“As you know, the service is far more expensive than United’s offer to its customers. United is subsidizing the entire cost for their passengers because they believe in the service, and want to give something great to their customers.”

It’s understandable that The Private Suite wants to continue to make it sound exclusive, but this is downright laughable. So previously the cheapest price for a party of three was $3,500 (and this is for a part of up to four). Do they really expect us to believe that United is paying The Private Suite $3,000+ in cash just so a basic economy customer can use the lounge? Scott Kirby would sooner sacrifice his bonus!

It’s a good marketing technique, though.

Bottom line

The Private Suite is a really cool experience, and if there’s an airport where there’s a market for it, LAX is it. However, the pricing has always seemed a bit off to me, and the fact that they’re now selling access for $375 for a party of four tells me I’m not that far off.

If you’re flying out of LAX and looking to splurge, this introductory price could most definitely make sense, in my opinion. To book just email [email protected].

Does anyone plan on experiencing The Private Suite at the cost of $375 for up to four people?

Comments

  1. I’d rather drive or take the train then fly United
    some other airline perhaps
    But really go to a costly exclusive lounge only to be dumped off into a commercial flight by United with sub par premium cabins and rotten food?
    Having the premium service only makes the United Experience seem even worse and that’s before you get dragged down the aisle bloody lol

  2. Private Suite never made any sense except for celebs who were putting a drain on airport services. The ‘lounge fee’ plus a first class ticket is still a lot less expensive for a studio to pay for than a PJ.

    @Lucky, in regards to not having to wait for private flights….that’s only partially true. If you are the owner the plane is wheel up when you are board…..but if you are only part of the entourage then you are probably waiting around at the FBO……and most of them are not nice at all.

  3. Just curious on how the roundtrip option works. Passengers can visit it flying back to LAX? (sort of like an arrival lounge) but why would anyone do that…=/

  4. So you pay all that money in the ground to prepare yourself to fly United? LOL!!!!! Call that a huge downgrade. I would never fly United so that does n’t really matter to me.

  5. “It’s a good marketing technique, though.”

    It’s not – it’s flat out lying… What is it with this blog recently that doesn’t see any issues with overt lies? No wonder Trump got in…

  6. I’m taking Asiana F booked with United miles (and so therefore it’s listed as a United reservation.)

    I wonder if that will work for a Bradley departure. This might be better than their first class star alliance lounge…

    Andrew

  7. What’s wrong with a Chili’s card? I would definitely test the Rolls Royce if they threw in a Chili’s card as the kicker.

  8. @ Ben — I realized my grammar is awful… what I meant to say is “Do you have a lighter I can borrow? I have some money I would like to set on fire.” 🙂

  9. How does the private suite work on arrival if you have checked luggage? Do you still have to go to carousel? That seems to defeat the purpose to a certain extent.

  10. This service is really intended for people who consume exclusivity. It’s the same group that will only carry metal cards in their wallet and who will post 15 photos on Instagram when they are flying Emirates First – what matters to them is not whether the experience is exceptional, just that they have access to something that most people do not, and that they can tell everyone they know that they got something very special. The problem with this latest development however lies in the fact that it would collect a small cohort of these highly entitled and self indulgent people in a small room, where they would make the experience intolerable for everyone that does not behave in this way.

    Imagine being a solo traveler and sharing a ride to the plane with 3 Instagram influencers, walking to the gate would be a lot more peaceful.

    Hard pass from me, and if they lowered the price to $25 per visit, I’d still pass. Every international business/first lounge I’ve used at LAX has been completely comfortable, with well adapted normal people, good or very good food, and well trained staff who can fix seat assignments, tickets, make car reservations on the arrival end, etc.

    On the bright side though, this will skim some of the most disruptive, loud and inconsiderate people out of the airline lounges, and that is very helpful to me, so I hope this arrangement is very successful.

  11. @Sam, If the Private Suite people collect your bags at the carousel then it’s almost worth it. Many times I spent at least 45 minutes waiting for my bags at LAX. Though it was always American, not United.

  12. @Lucky, the president could be right in saying United ‘subsidize’ the promotion. Maybe United have pre-paid for some visits in the beginning and now they just want to dump the inventories. You’d think United wouldn’t step into this in the first place, but well it’s United..

  13. Hmm, at $500/4 people, I can see how I can justify this for a award ticket of a family. I mean, if you do have smaller children, having space to care for them (without people in other lounges giving you evil eyes) would really be godsend.

  14. Could you imagine a small lounge full of self entitled “influencers” and a bunch of bratty pre school kids with parents that ignore them? I can see both groups jumping on this shit. It will take some of the “special” people out of the lounges

  15. I experienced the Private Suites as a part of a company promo last year and this may sound odd, but I was just….bored. I run a private chartered jet company (HQ = Chicago) and we are always looking to expand our services and operations using existing infrastructure to provide our customer a seamless experience and the location of the private suites along with the dull experience (not to mention the cost of the service) did not persuade me to contract with them. From my experience, travelers are seeking to minimize their time in transit so this is not a product that attracts my clients. We offer all of the other amenities free of charge.

    From the point of view of personal travel: My family and I fly commercial but exclusively on DL so we will definitely not be traveling on UA just to try this product. The products makes most sense for families or colleagues flying on a transcon flight where they would otherwise be forced to use UA Club or a similarly terrible lounge.

  16. The last thing I want to do during my travels in the US is to spend more time in the airport and/or lounge. I am not famous so I don’t have problems with privacy or need the exclusivity. People ignore me all the time in the *Alliance First lounge (unless someone is a celebrity, I don’t understand the obsession with privacy for most, including Lucky). The best part of being in the main terminal = I can go for a walk and browse the terminal when I am bored being in the lounge. Not to mention that this promotion requires flying on one of the terrible three (the horror).

  17. to clarify some of the above – you can arrive pretty late for a departing flight (up to 60-45mins) and still make the flight. On arrival the bags are in a separate bin and often the bags are off before the pax. So the arrival can be literally 5mins from plane to car. If you value your time this is worth it.

  18. According to the T&C, the offer is targeted, and you’ll need to provide an offer code.

    @Sam – they take you to the VIP terminal, while they collect the baggage for you and bring them to the VIP terminal.

    @Erik – yes, sort of. The VIP terminal has its own passport control and customs station, so you bypass the line. If you leave your car at the VIP terminal, they’ll have it ready out for you instead of waiting for a parking lot shuttle.

  19. Don’t really understand why folks are so down on United. I fly out of the Houston hub and have had no problems with the airline or club.

  20. All this discussion of the price point and access, and not a WORD about this “lounge” looking like the lobby of a Courtyard by Marriott (not that there’s anything wrong with CbM, but seriously!)…

    A luxury experience at even the reduced price warrants a luxury ENVIRONMENT. I just can’t imagine anyone finding this to be a “luxury” location to hang out in, even if it means avoiding the gate.

  21. … Interesting concept. Reminds me of treatment afforded to my family as diplomats. Interesting that one can purchase such service now. I wonder if this is what foreign officials should do instead of relying on the shocking service and the dated aviation infrastructure in major US ports of entry.

  22. Wow…so many opinions from people who don’t have any idea what they’re talking about.

    I tried this service 2 months ago when I got the $375 promotion and was flying paid F from DCA-SFO-LAX. I’m not an Instagram/travel influencer and rarely fly in paid F. I’m a UA guy so most of you won’t be able to try this.

    Quick rundown:
    0:00 – I walk out of 1L on a 737. United agent standing at the aircraft door with my name on a placard.
    0:01 – We walk down the jetway stairs to the apron where there is a waiting BMW 7 series. UA agent takes my luggage tags. Driver takes my hand luggage.
    0:02 – Car starts and we drive 8 minutes to the Private Suite facility on south side of the airport.
    0:10 – We arrive at the building.
    0:11 – Agent gives me a quick tour of the United room there, invites me to help myself to anything I like, and asks for my home address so she can call an Uber for me. My bags will evidently be there momentarily.
    0:20 – The agent comes to get me. I walk out and there is an Uber SUV waiting with my checked luggage loaded in the back for my visual inspection. I get in the car and we leave.

    20 minutes, folks. Normally, that whole process could take AN HOUR, given what a disaster LAX is.

    Would I do this regularly? Absolutely not. Around the holidays, especially if I’m traveling with more than one person? ABSOLUTELY. Any regular LAX flyer would agree with me.

  23. unfortunately I’d have to fly United internationally to make this worthwhile. I’d rather fly sq and go through the terminal.

  24. @Charles

    Agree with you that LAX is a dump and such a service would definitely be valuable in the major US airports, such as LAX. Too bad that what you describe is considered a novelty in the US when for many of us living in Asia, 20 min from deck to the taxi is quite normal. I wonder when the US infrastructure will catch up.

  25. For the price that they charge, can they really not afford anything more luxurious or exclusive than a BMW 7 Series (not even the long wheel-base version found in the Asian market)?

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