The Private Suite at LAX takes the airport out of air travel, trading the terminal, security checkpoints and the dreaded boarding area for your very own suite, your very own private car transfer to the plane and enough snacks and high end drinks to give you a food coma. And then, each suite has enough gadgets to help you bounce back, again.
It’s expensive, it’s extravagant, it’s downright opulent and it’s also just about every other adjective you’ve probably heard to describe the one of a kind travel experience. After experiencing it, that’s a good thing. Why? Because it’s a truly re-imagined airport experience for the United States that feels entirely worth it- if you can swing it.
Here’s a review of what you can expect from this genuine air travel “game changer”, and how much it’ll set you back for the pleasure…
The Private Suite at LAX is pretty much exactly how it sounds, but also a lot more. It’s a secure, private facility on the other side of LAX, near where the cargo hangars are – and far, far away from where all the passengers are. In fact, two active runways separate you from every passenger terminal.
Each guest is shown to a private suite, complete with every travel gadget, snack and bit of booze you could ever want, all of which is included. Think: Grey Goose, Patron, Veuve Clicquot, Stags Leap Artemis and that kinda jazz.
The key message here though, is privacy. No two guests will meet, unless they want to. Each suite is taken through private TSA security in a synchronized manner, so that there’s no waiting. It’s A-list on steroids.
And for more substantial food, they can arrange delivery from Beverly Hills, timed to your needs. That all sounds great, and it is, but it’s not what makes this feel worth it.
When you depart from LAX, your first port of call is the Private Suite. Using pre-arranged information, they are able to check you in for your flight, and arrange any baggage to be checked in as well. Not only that, but they monitor your flight specifically with the airline, coordinating so that you don’t have to.
You just let them know whether you want to board early, or late, and they come and get you when it’s time. Fortunately, there’s usually a 5 minute courtesy knock before it’s officially time. For any aviation nerds, it’s so cool driving near-under-around the planes and getting a ground level view of passing aircraft.
When you arrive, the Private Suite “movement” team is ready and waiting on the jet bridge, or at your first step into the terminal. Even coming off of an arriving international flight, you bypass the entire terminal and head directly into a waiting BMW to escort you to their private facility, where you can complete US Immigration with a CBP officer. No wait, guaranteed : )
No two days are often very alike in my work, even if I’d really like them to be. During my December #WheresGilbert shenanigans, I had an early morning flight from JFK-LAX which *if on time* would get me on the ground in LA about 45 mins before I was scheduled to be on Sunrise On 7, which is basically the Good Morning America of Australia.
Knowing that the shuttle to the Uber can take 30 mins by itself, and the place I was going was at least 25 minutes away, I knew there was 0% chance of making it via normal passenger methods, and around 50% whether I’d make the appearance at all. This wasn’t a “come relax in the green room” at the time, it was a “you’ll be on camera at X time”, so I had literally no leeway.
I was offered a discounted rate to use The Private Suite service, and it’s quite literally the only reason I made it on to the live broadcast of the show. I hustled off the plane, a The Private Suite team member was holding an iPad with my name. She very graciously offered to take my bags, put me in a waiting BMW and had me across the airport and into a car in 5 minutes flat.
With the time saved, I was able to dip into one of the Private Suites to change my clothes, splash some water on my face and then hop into the waiting car, which they kindly helped to arrange for me.
About The Equally Opulent Pricing…
There’s no question – The Private Suite at LAX is as ultra expensive as it is ultra posh. It’s got a massive $4500 annual membership fee, and on top of that, you still pay thousands to use it, each time. That’s the standard publicly available messaging and pricing.
At the same time, whether they like to talk about it or not, The Private Suite has done some amazing tie ins with airlines, where you can experience it once without the membership fee, at a deeply discounted rate. From what we’ve heard, those trials have been extremely popular with airline customers, and it’s a nice way for an airline to reward a top tier flyer, or offer them a huge discount on an experience they’ll never forget.
If I was in a financial position where dropping a couple G’s each time I flew through LAX was like grabbing a cup of coffee, I have to say I would absolutely be a buyer here. The experience, I’d argue, is the best airport experience in the world, and I’ve done most of the other ultra VVIP services.
If that’s not you, it’s still genuinely worth seeing if your airline has anything going on with The Private Suite, because there’s no one who wouldn’t like this, except perhaps the people who like to chat with strangers at the gate area, of which I am absolutely not one.
I’d go out of my way, and budget, to do this again…