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What it's like inside LAX's new VIP-only private terminal

Navigating LAX just got a whole lot more bearable thanks to the Private Suite, an all-new exclusive terminal that allows passengers to bypass the crowds and traffic of one of the country's busiest airports.

Envisioned by the private security expert Gavin de Becker, the terminal is the first of its kind in the United States, offering members unrivalled ease of travel— including vehicle transfers directly to the runway.

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Designed to mimic the experience of private air travel, the Private Suite terminal is tucked away in a guarded compound on the south side of Los Angeles International Airport. Once through the gates, departing passengers are whisked from their cars directly to their personal suites, where they are checked into their flight and their luggage is carted off to the main terminal.

After relaxing in their suite — which comes fully stocked with daybeds, self-service snacks (hot meals can also be arranged), toiletries, electronics accessories, children's toys, and even emergency changes of clothes — guests are taken through the terminal's private security checkpoint, then driven across the tarmac directly to their aircraft in one of the terminal's fleet of BMW 7-Series sedans.

Arriving passengers experience a similar process in reverse. Upon landing, they are driven directly from the aircraft to their suite, where they can clear immigration and customs in privacy, as well refresh and relax while waiting for their luggage and car or chauffeur.

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The Private Suite expands upon existing services like London Heathrow's Windsor Suite, where high-profile individuals (or those willing to do anything to avoid the airport drag) can escape the chaos of the typical airport experience.

De Becker asserts that Los Angeles has perfected this service, offering travellers an experience designed to be as all-inclusive, efficient, and painless as possible. Every aspect of the suites — from the absence of a check-in desk, to de Becker's insistence that employees never disturb guests by knocking on the doors of the suites — has been finely tuned to give members "the one thing that never exists in a commercial airport in America: peace."

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Reserving an LAX Private Suite ranges from $US1500 to $US4000 (about $A2000 to $A5350) per one-way trip, depending on the size of the suite and membership status. A $US7500 (about $A10,000) annual membership fee gives travellers additional perks, such as free massages and terminal parking, as well as discounted reservation rates.

And for bicoastal travellers, the advantages will soon get even sweeter: New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport is currently in negotiations to construct a Private Suite of its own. (theprivatesuite.com)

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