Rich and Famous? There’s a Lounge for That

Los Angeles International Airport may soon have a special lounge for globetrotting superstars and glitterati. Oh, and for you too, if you can afford the entry fee.

Pity the globetrotting superstars and glitterati.

Not only must they endure the same long lines and packed planes as the rest of us (albeit with some first-class seat time for consolation), but they have to fight their way through a frenzied scrum of TMZ reporters and starstruck fans just to get through the airport.

That’s a prospect they’ll no longer face if, as expected, the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners today approves a plan to “develop a remote airline lounge providing for the seamless transfer of passengers to and from scheduled commercial aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport.”

The new lounge would be located in a 43,750-square-foot building far from the airport’s passenger terminals, in a stretch alongside the south runway populated by cargo facilities. With its own dedicated parking area, the lounge would feature quick, easy access for the publicity-averse.

After a presumably line-free check-in, passengers will wait in private suites before being bused across the tarmac to their gates.

There will be no requirement that customers prove their entertainment-industry or sports-world bona fides to access the lounge. But at prices ranging between $1,500 and $1,800 per visit, it’s clearly a service targeting the rich and famous.

Even with those hefty fees, the lounge will be challenged to attain financial viability. According to the proposal, the project would generate $34 million for the airport during a 10-year lease period. Add to those lease costs the expense of renovating an existing building, and ongoing operational overhead, and it’s clear that the lounge’s profitability is anything but assured.

Which raises the questions: how full are the ranks of the rich and famous; and how willing are they to pay a premium to travel on the QT?

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By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.