The Ultimate Preflight Amenity
The best option for jetting around the world is a private plane, but sometimes commercial can be quicker and more convenient.
When you have to transit via a major hub, you can book into one of the elite suites that have sprung up in the past decade. Often located in stand-alone terminals, the facilities at a commercial airport are transformed into an ad hoc, upscale fixed-based operator (FBO). In fact, most have better services than the often-skimpy, on-ground arrangements at private airports. Here, the top VIP check-ins across the world, from London to Los Angeles.
This former cargo facility has been repurposed into an 11-room, FBO-style terminal, where all formalities take place.
VIP Touches The two-person daybed in every suite is ideal for a complimentary in-room massage or manicure, or you could even book a check-up with a concierge doctor. Once you’re ready to board, a chauffeur-driven BMW takes you across the airfield.
Cost This membership program is aimed squarely at bold-faced frequent flyers: Annual dues are $4,500 per person, in addition to the $3,150 charge each time you use it for up to four people.
Exclusivity Each member receives a private TSA screening, so you’ll never know who else is hiding behind the other 10 doors. reservePS.com
AL MAKTOUM SOUTH
On-site at the main airport, the 60,000-square-foot building features private lounges where a dedicated team handles check-in, immigration, and security, and has a special duty-free boutique.
VIP Touches No smoking? Not in the cigar room stocked with something for every taste, including Cubans. Curl up in a MetroNaps sleep pod installed in the relaxation room, though the live piano player’s tunes might be all you need to relax.
Cost Built into the fees to rent a plane from Jetex, which costs around $11,000 per hour. All private jets flying to Al Maktoum airport and being handled by Jetex can enjoy full access to the VIP terminal.
Exclusivity This is as close to a private airport experience as you can get. jetex.com
Book to depart LHR and a BMW 7 Series will whisk you from home to the hidden entrance of this 14-suite private wing for check-in, security, and tax refunds. Indulge in a menu by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.
VIP Touches Black netting on windows stymies long-lensed snoopers; the doorman in top hat and tails evokes an old-fashioned, upscale vibe.
Cost Around $3,600 for up to three people—or $166,000 to buy out the whole wing, as often happens.
Exclusivity The service originated in the 1960s as a government-run fast-track for British diplomats en route overseas and foreign leaders arriving at Heathrow, though since 2013 it’s been open to all. heathrowvip.com
BEN GURION FATTAL TERMINAL
Operated by the Fattal hotel chain, the $5 million, 14,000-square-foot lounge adjacent to Terminal 1 opened in time for Israel’s stint hosting the 64th Eurovision Song Contest last May. It is a major upgrade over Ben Gurion’s previous, rather tired VIP facility, the Masada Lounge.
VIP Touches Enjoy the cigar lounge or, better yet, hole up in one of the six private rooms, where a butler caters to your every whim, from making a bed for a nap to bringing you food from the on-site kitchen.
Cost $475 for two hours for the first person, and $330 for a companion.
Exclusivity Given how tortuous and long security lines can be in Tel Aviv, the shortcut fast- track here is one of its major upsides. fattal-terminal.com
Inside the B transit zone, the 13,000-square-foot area is an unexpected boost to VIPs from the egalitarian Germans. Alongside a shared lounge with a pinball machine, foosball table, and other distractions, a raft of eight private suites.
VIP Touches Tarmac transfer by a fleet of luxury cars.
Cost Tiered pricing system is named like a diamond: carat, color, clarity, and cut. The last of which, the ultimate option, costs around $1,900, and includes everything from a private Royal Suite to personal shopping assistance.
Exclusivity Beyond bypassing the local hoi polloi, the service has secured partnerships around the world to ensure discreet end-to-end travel without luring gawkers. vip.frankfurt-airport.com