Luxury living gets a new refinement with the announcement that LAX is opening a special terminal for celebrities, VIPs, and anyone else with cash to spare. Tired of the throngs of fans who swarm them as they travel stars like Reese Witherspoon petitioned the Los Angeles airport for this private terminal, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
The airport approved the move to prevent injuries, ostensibly. The new private terminal will be managed by a security agency used by many stars. But the owner says that only ten percent of private travelers will be celebrities.
The service is open to anyone willing to spend $1,500 to $1,800 for a quiet walk to their flight. The walk will also be about 2,000 steps shorter than normal, according to Gavin de Becker. owner of the security company that proposed and will manage the terminal. That means less strain and no opportunities to be swarmed by fans eager for photographs.
LAX representatives are concerned about injuries and disruption caused by paparazzi and from fans chasing famous people. Deborah Ale Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports, the operator of LAX, said it occurs often, is a drain on airport police, and causes delays for many travelers, not just the stars."The crowds block access and egress, even around security checkpoints. It's a challenge for passengers who don't want to be part of that,'' she explained.
That sentiment was reportedly supported in a letter Michael J. Fox sent to her. Fox said that as someone who has been chased at airports for many years, "I know this causes congestion and stress for all passengers who happen to be around.''
A Steal for Some
Although the private terminal seems prohibitively expensive to most of us, it is in fact a potential bargain for a few. It is expected that the additional service will lure owners of private jets out. Similarly, Hollywood studios and others are backing the idea as a cost savings, sparing them the expense of hiring private jets to shuttle stars promoting films.
London already has a private terminal and that is what inspired the proposal in LA. Reese Witherspoon said she uses the VIP terminal in London and wrote in to support a similar service in the US.
VIP terminals exist in Amsterdam, Dublin, Istanbul, Dubai, Moscow, Paris, Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, Madrid, Zurich and other cities. If successful at LAX, Mr. de Becker hopes for private terminals in New York's Kennedy Airport and, in time, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago and Dallas.