Celebrities and other wealthy individuals who are looking to enjoy a higher level of privacy while they travel will soon be able to utilize private lounges at Los Angeles International Airport. Meant to help prevent disturbances by paparazzi and those seeking autographs, the lounge will serve as a welcome reprieve from the busy central terminal area. Similar facilities already exist in other countries, including Frankfurt, Germany; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Madrid, Spain; Moscow, Russia; London, England and Paris, France.
Making Better Use of Space
To create the private lounge, Los Angeles International Airport will convert a cargo facility located next to the airport’s southernmost runway. Situated at 6851 West Imperial Highway, the project will involve converting both a 43,750-square-foot building and a 13,840-square-foot parking lot. Those with a ticket to the lounge will be able to drive directly into the secure parking lot and drop-off area. They will then be escorted to private suites until it is time for them to board their plane, at which time a shuttle will take them to the designated terminal.
Purchasing the Private Experience
Currently, airport officials expect to charge travelers $1,800 per trip to enjoy the added security and privacy. According to Gavin de Becker and Associates, which is the L.A.-based security firm in charge of building and operating the facilities, about 10 percent of the 100 or so customers expected to utilize the facilities each day will likely be celebrities. Gavin de Becker and Associates will reportedly sign a 10-year lease for the property, which will remain owned by the airport, with plans to have the lounge up and operational within the next six to eight months. The lounge will initially be set-up as a temporary facility while the permanent structure is being constructed.
While Gavin de Becker and Associates will operate the facilities, TSA and Customs and Border Protection have both agreed to provide staffing for the lounge. The airport will reimburse both agencies for the use of equipment and staff. In all, the new lounge offering is expected to generate approximately $3.75 million for the airport in its first year, with the airport expected to bring in $34 million over the lifetime of the ten-year lease.
Providing Better Services for All
While the new lounge will provide a private and secure location for celebrities and wealthy individuals to wait before boarding a plane, the lounge will also help to create a better experience for all travelers. Currently, paparazzi and others who seek to gain attention from celebrities frequently cause delays as they crowd facilities where celebrities are located. The crowds also frequently block access and egress, including in areas around security checkpoints. This creates additional challenges for travelers who are not interested in getting caught up in the celebrity hysteria.
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