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From Curb to Gate: The Private LAX Beckons VIP Passengers

Futuristic technology and exclusive services at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are making premium air travel less crazed at the perennially jammed airport. Three exclusive lounges at LAX give select first class passengers and high profile types means to avoid the paparazzi, crowded TSA lines and major negatives of mass travel.

American Airlines’ Flagship First service offers a discreet entrance and check-in at a private counter, an escort to the TSA checkpoint and then a short walk to the Flagship Lounge. In addition to the first- and business-class lounge, a second, more exclusive, lounge is accessible to those only in first class on some LAX-JFK flights and flights to Asia. The full-service bar and dining room overlook Terminal 4’s busy main corridor. Craft cocktails are made to order and menu choices are upscale (think poached lobster). Decor is contemporary although enlarged photos of yesteryear’s stars like Shirley Temple and Elizabeth Taylor boarding American flights add a nostalgic touch.

Dwayne Johnson, Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon are among those who’ve embarked from the Private Suite at LAX.

The $20 million private airport terminal (tucked well away from the usual grinding airport traffic) is a series of upmarket waiting lounges with views of the tarmac. A fleet of BMWs whisks customers directly to planes for boarding. The service is available for all flights but most popular for international travel; an annual perk-laden membership is offered. Passengers utilize a dedicated TSA and customs desk prior to flight boarding and wait at comfortably furnished suites that have fully stocked pantries with an array of services from car washing to manicures available. The company expects to add a similar VIP terminal to JFK later in 2019.

Delta’s updated Terminal 2 offers an exclusive check-in process for First Class Delta One passengers, providing private check-in and corridor to TSA pre-check. Biometric entry via an encrypted fingerprint scanner using CLEAR technology to the Delta Sky Clubs (pre-registration required) is an option too — no need for boarding pass or club card.

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