Peter Flax crossed the U.S. four times in a 36-hour period for the Hollywood Reporter. That sounds like pure hell for most of us, but his assignment was to experience and compare four different airlines' premium first-class service. He had to compare the VIP lounges, the wine lists, the meals, the seats, and the concierge services. It turns out that airlines really go the extra mile for their most profitable customers.
On Tuesday morning, I was greeted curbside at LAX by a rep with American's Five Star Service who led me into the Flagship First Class entrance. This check-in area is unassuming but a world away from the normal airport chaos just a few yards away. The room was hushed and spare and everyone greeted me by name. The efficiency actually was staggering — within five minutes of stepping out of my Lyft ride, I had checked in, taken an elevator and a series of secret passageways, been escorted to the front of a long security line, put my laptop in a bin and was on my way to the lounge.
The appeal for high-profile Hollywood actors and other power players is obvious — no paparazzi or phone-wielding fans snapping photos, no plebeian security lines, no earthly hassles. For true A-list talent — the morning I was traveling Julie Andrews also was flying to New York, and Julia Roberts and her kids had been there the day before — American and TSA collaborate to empty the queue so no other travelers are in the room when they pass through security. And there's a back entrance to the Admiral's Club so heavy hitters can be escorted into the First Class Lounge without strolling through the main entrance.
And that was even before he got on the first plane. Reading Flax's experiences is an exercise in envy, as he enjoyed the best luxury treatment from American, JetBlue, Delta, and United. Of course, 10,000 miles is a long time in the air, but not being shoehorned into a tiny coach seat with screaming children makes it tolerable. Read the entire article at The Hollywood Reporter. -via Digg