As if jet lag, baggage claim and the long hunt for the right limo driver weren’t enough to contend with, celebrities arriving at Los Angeles airport (LAX) have always had one more challenging obstacle to negotiate: the swarm of paparazzi ready to greet them in the arrivals hall.
Now, however, Delta Air Lines claims to have solved that problem with a new, “paparazzi-proof” terminal. After a $229m (£148m) refurbishment that took five years, LAX Terminal 5 reopened earlier this week with a selection of special features for its most recognisable passengers. For just $350 on top of the cost of their first-class ticket, movie stars can avail themselves of the “VIP Select” service. A Porsche will greet them on the tarmac and transport them to a secret, underground arrivals terminal to meet their limo driver – far from the flashbulbs and autograph hunters.
“You avoid the entire arrivals process,” Delta’s vice-president Ranjan Goswami told The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the details. “You won’t see TMZ.”
For stars travelling out of LAX, meanwhile, the check-in desk at the VIP Delta One Lounge is now obscured by frosted glass. After checking their bags, the elite passenger is escorted by lift to a private corridor leading to an express security line, and from there to the plush Sky Club lounge.
As the LA Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the new terminal, the Delta president Ed Bastian said in a statement, “We’re fast on our way to becoming the airline of choice in Los Angeles by understanding what moves LA – its most prominent industries, and its discerning customers’ required amenities for travel.”
Heathrow has a similar service. For £1,800, Heathrow By Invitation offers to take passengers by chauffeur-driven limo to a private check-in area and luxury lounge, after which a second limo will take them directly onto the tarmac to board their flight.Reuse content