How the famous secretly move round the world

How do the rich and famous do it? As quickly as possible, often and secretly, apparently. Travel that is.

When you're a Spice Girl, an ex-Princess or a Gallagher brother, travelling on business becomes a military operation. Business travel for celebrities is, it seems, a minefield of screaming fans and ever-present paparazzi, with no chance whatsoever of browsing through the paperbacks at WH Smith. With nine licenced photographers allowed to walk "airside" - beyond customs - at Heathrow and Gatwick, you're not even out of danger in the VIP lounge.

Fortunately, there are a number of specialist travel agencies on hand 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year, which will help smooth your journey, so that all you have to do is worry about which dark glasses to wear. Exactly who is on their books is however, a more closely guarded secret than the date of the Gallagher-Kensit nuptials.

"Our biggest selling point is discretion," says Andrew Douglas of Travel by Appoint-ment, a travel agency for people in the music and entertainment industry. "We might be privy to certain hotel arrangements for instance, and are under instructions not to divulge anything. It's vital that we maintain that trust."

Alan Newing, travel manager for Trinifold Travel, another agency for the stars, is equally tight-lipped, "We have a very enviable client list," he says pointedly. "In fact there is no major UK or US act that hasn't had dealings with us, but that's all I'm saying." The Travel Company, which specialises in organising travel for the film industry imposes similar self-restraint, although the company does admit to having organised travel for the James Bond film crew two years ago.

So apart from a wall of silence, what do celebrities get that the ordinary business traveller doesn't? Private jets, for a start. "The very high profile household names travel purely by private air charter with luxury facilities," says Douglas, although Johnny Hopkins, press officer for Oasis, maintains that the boys have been known to travel by train. "Sometimes it's the easiest way to travel and you get there quicker." British Rail's successors would be proud, but I'm not sure I believe him.

All the travel agencies have VIP Meet and Greet programmes, so the star can be whisked from car to airport and back again with as little or as much fuss as required by their PR agent. And it's not just the celebrity that needs to be kept happy. Getting a star to their plane without the terminal being brought to a stop by screaming teenagers is as important for the airport.

So, it's tough at the top, as the saying goes. But my bet is, it's harder for the travel agent. If you've painstakingly organised a band's World Tour, booked fifty crew members into hotels over several months, reserved entire hotel floors for one individual and organised everything from macrobiotic diets to oxygen tents in each destination, then re-organising the entire schedule when a leg of the tour is cancelled could presumably wipe the smile off the most star-struck travel agent's face.

"Fortunately we've got very innovative technology," says Douglas. "If dates are suddenly re-arranged, our system will automatically fax the hotels and notify them of the changes. In this business everything is very last minute, anything can happen and the smallest error can be disastrous."

Which brings us to the notorious celebrity ego - isn't satisfying the stars a precarious business? "As a person's celebrity status grows they are more able to redefine their preferences, because they are have become more exposed to a wider range of possibilities," says Newing, with the utmost diplomacy. "But you get used to never taking anything for granted. Someone can be a meat eater on one trip and a vegetarian the next, and you get it in the neck if you get it wrong."

So apart from being able to have tantrums over what you have for dinner, re-arranging your schedules at the last minute, enjoying the utmost luxury at all times, having your own private jet and being met at the airport at any time of the day or night, how does one know when you've "made it" in the celebrity business travel stakes?

One way is if you are invited to be an American Express Platinum Card holder, which for the price of a celebrity hair cut (pounds 375) will provide you with a personal account manager who can arrange for your shopping to be done without you having to leave the hotel and be mobbed and gives you special privileges and upgrades at more than 180 of the world's most exclusive establishments (although presumably, if you need upgrading, you haven't made it after all). For those who have fame but not fortune, it can also save you up to 40 per cent on flights, hotels and cruise lines. Fergie is, no doubt, delighted.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas