VIP ONE: Skip Security Lines At JFK For $35

Filed Under: Security/TSA

While airport security in the US has come a long way with TSA Pre-Check and CLEAR, there are still some airports that are worse than others. For example, some terminals at JFK pretty consistently have awful security wait times.

While Terminal 5 & 8 are usually pretty good, I find that Terminal 1 has among the worst security lines in the US. So there’s a new service I wasn’t aware of that seems surprisingly reasonably priced for what it offers.

VIP ONE At JFK Terminal 1

VIP ONE is a service at JFK’s Terminal 1, which offers an expedited security experience. No, we’re not talking about TSA Pre-Check or CLEAR, but rather we’re talking about a private security checkpoint that you can pay to access.

There are a couple of different service options you can select.

VIP ONE Silver Service

VIP ONE Silver is the most basic service, and offers access to an expedited TSA security checkpoint through VIP ONE’s exclusive departure lounge. This costs $35 per person per visit. Children under 12 are free.

First class passengers on Air France, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, and Lufthansa, also get access to this service.

If you assume that you can cut the security security experience from 30+ minutes to just a couple of minutes, that could be well worth it, in my opinion (both in terms of time savings and hassle).

VIP ONE Platinum Service

VIP ONE has a higher level of service, which costs $200 per person and includes:

  • Curbside baggage assistance
  • Check-in assistance
  • Direct access to security checkpoint through VIP ONE’s exclusive departure lounge
  • Access to the Primeclass Lounge in Terminal 1
  • Escort to boarding gate

I can’t imagine that being worthwhile, though I guess if money is no object and someone is really bad at navigating airports, it might be worthwhile to some.

VIP ONE Membership

There’s also an option to buy an annual membership for the Silver service. This can be purchased at the airport, and includes expedited security for you and one other person. The cost is $275 per year.

Ordinarily you’d pay $70 for two people to use the Silver service, so that could more than pay for itself after just four uses.

Bottom Line

While there are some other VIP services out there at US airports, they’re typically priced in the hundreds or thousands of dollars (like The Private Suite LAX).

JFK Terminal 1 is one of my least favorite places in the US to clear security, so I think paying $35 to skip the Terminal 1 security circus is quite a good deal.

This saves you time, it saves you hassle, and most importantly, it lets you plan your arrival more closely, since security lines can otherwise be crazy long in the afternoons. This is a service I’d most definitely take advantage of if departing from T1.

Could you see yourself using VIP ONE at JFK? What other terminals/airports would you like to see something like this added at?

(Tip of the hat to Zach Griff)

Comments
  1. I would and will totally use that service. I’m just concerned that $35 might actually be too low of a price, given how premium heavy T1 is. I’d imagine that many others will feel like me and pay that to avoid the usual circus that T1 is, especially in the evening. I wonder if they have some sort of capacity control.

  2. So the airports will soon become pay as you go like the airlines. It’s not fair not right and it’s time we start saying enough is enough.

  3. Imagine that this service would be the basic option for every single passenger, and if you were willing to stand in a line for 1.5hrs surrounded by stinky people, crying babies, and yelled at by TSA employees, you would get $35 cash at the end.

  4. LOL – The US is resembling a third-world-country more and more every single day.
    Infrastructure is outdated, run-down and run over capacity. To get a barely acceptable passenger experience at the security checkpoint you have to pay some private companies a lot of money (that’s basically the equivalent of corruption).
    Compare that to world cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Madrid…

  5. I was running late for a LH flight in August (I was booked in C) and was escorted to the VIP One security lounge as a courtesy. The time saving took a lot of pressure off, and the people staffing it couldn’t have been nicer. It was a wonderful gesture in a moment of chaos.

  6. Flew out of T1 the Friday before Thanksgiving last year when the regular security line was probably well over an hour. Was through in under 5 minutes thanks to TSA Pre and unless there was a major change to that this year, I don’t think this service is really worth it, especially if the departure lounge is the Primeclass lounge since PP will soon have access to it.

  7. Really against this. It’s essentially a state sanctioned bribe to skip the line. Tsa prechek at least can claim that they prescreened you via a background check.

  8. Please don’t mistake New York with the United States. They are two different cultures, economy, human behaviors, etc. They don’t share much. When comparing NYC/NJ airports with other US airports , you are comparing apples and oranges.

  9. I’m not sure why some people are so against the idea? Are these the same people who also against priority lines for business/first class passengers and elites of frequent flyer programs? Last time I check US (and NYC in particular) is still the center of the whole capitalist world.

  10. Can I ask how you know that Japan Airlines First class passengers get free access? I cant see that on either JAL website or VIP One website.

  11. Never flew to US, but did fly from LHR, FRA, AMS, HKG, CDG… All some of mayor airports in the world. Never had a security line longer than 10-15 mins. I get a feeling that bad long security lines in US are on purpose to make this kind of things like TSA pre check etc interesting to travelers. I can’t imagine paying 35 $ for this anywhere else….

  12. @ Jon, I can verify that JAL first class offers this service, I flew from JFK to HND in Sept and was invited to a makeshift lounge next to the security area where I waited (for about 2 minutes) for an agent to be called from the main security area and my bags were checked and was on my way in under 5 minutes. I had no idea this service was offered with JAL, but it was a pleasant surprise.

  13. I would pay $35 for fast track immigration on arrival. As an F-1 student, the immigration process is a nightmare, every. time.

  14. Of course this will happen. Every country that reduced the taxes so that their citizens can have more money left in the pocket to pay for items that are important to that particular individual. I can see airports progressing in this direction:
    -pay for a dedicated security line
    – when that line gets more crowded, pay next level to access one reserved for that level
    – create a platinum level to pay for a dedicated line that is not obviously placed, so very few people will know it exists
    – charge for washroom access (already a common practice in most 3rd world countries)
    – when charging for the said washroom, make sure there is a tipping suggestion of 45%
    – create dedicated washroom in a corner of the terminal, that is refreshed after every use, and charge a premium for it
    – make sure that premium washroom has a tipping suggestion of 85%
    – create hallway access that bypasses all shopping nonsense, charge $15 for it
    – create a boarding zone with 6 chairs directly next to the gate, charge $150 per chair
    – all water fountains throughout the airport should be coin-operated
    – rope off all windows of any kind, allow access only if “airport experience” package is purchased (otherwise, you have to spend all time in neon-bathed hallways)

    I think the lack of monetization at the airport is sickening, something needs to be done immediately. Or better yet, let’s completely privatize all airport security processes, so that TSA can get competition and leave it to market forces to determine out what is the best balance between happy customers and safe planes. /s

  15. I fly Norwegian a lot and will definitely use this. TSA Pre at T1 is usually just a very slight skip to the front of the normal queue (I have had this on both the morning and late evening departures) but with none of the other normal benefits (i.e you still have to go through with infrequent tavellers, take your computer out, take your shoes off, etc…). TSA Pre took me well over 40 minutes on my last late night departure. The premium class security queue is indistinguishable from (and sometimes longer than) the normal one. T1 at JFK reminds me of the old Indira Gandhi international airport in Delhi or of Manila. I can’t imagine that the Port Authority will ever achieve what India has achieved with Delhi’s new IGIA, though

  16. The VIP One Platinum slide says that there’s a Gold Service level, implying that there’s a level in between Silver and Platinum … but no mention in the article about that?

  17. Please expand this to LAX !!! If only they could have this for expedited immigration as well, TAKE MY MONEY

  18. Wow, so now one can pay to bypass the problem of not well managed security procedures. I would have thought that it would make more sense to have a look at world class airports in Europe and Asia that handle security very efficiently, copy/paste the procedures, train the staff and gone is the problem.
    The real issue here is the sorry state of US airport, underinvestment in facilities and underinvestment in staff training.

  19. This is what the USA does and why it should not be considered a leader in anything. Money and commercial partnerships (Alaska and the Starbucks cups come in mind) dictate priority, rather than people who actually need it like disabled and those with young children but who by doing so, don’t line somebody’s pocket. I fail to see how this is considered “progress”.

  20. @BillC

    VIP ONE Gold

    In addition to our Silver service, our personal agent will meet you at curbside, provide baggage assistance, usher you to your check-in counter, and to your gate.
    With Gold, you get:
    Curbside baggage assistance
    Check-in assistance
    Direct access to security checkpoint through VIP ONE’s exclusive departure lounge
    Help with TSA’s requirements (divesting, baggage compliance etc.)
    Escort to the gate

    So, the only difference between gold and platinum is that you get lounge access with platinum and not gold.

    Also, with the VIP One annual membership, you can access Alitalia lounge for a fee.

  21. @Stanley — “With Gold, you get: …” —

    Great to know! Thanks for doing the additional research! 🙂

  22. I’m really surprised to read the negative comments about the T1 Security Line at JFK. My preferred airlines (Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian and Turkish) all fly from there — and yes — the lines can be long — but it is amazing what wearing a suit and bowtie will do along with a smile and a casual suggestion to the harried security staffer at the front of the entrance. On Monday, I will start my 7th trans-Atlantic trip this year with possibly still two more to go before the end of the year. I have TSA PreCheck and I almost never wait longer than 5-8 minutes or so. Also, I get full TSA PreCheck privileges — what you have to do (Mark Chataway) is show your boarding pass to the security officer (that you qualified for TSA PreCheck) when you get to the front of the x-ray machine line and they will treat you differently/manually then the people who go before and after you. Better luck next time.

  23. My husband and I flew last week to MUC in LH first class from JFK. We were escorted all the way to the lounge with two attendants carrying all of our things. This is a brilliant service.

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