Traveling Perks of the Rich and Famous
October 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
There are a lot of things that the average Joe doesn’t know exists in our world. There are travel perks that have been reserved for the élite few that want to pay for certain high-end services. I thought it would be fun to mention a few of my favorites.
FLIGHT DELAY? NO PROBLEM–Do you know about airport lounges at most airports where you do not wait with the general public, but in a plush and comfortable lounge? This is becoming popular with business travelers who can gain access with frequent travel miles as well and all first class passengers or Am Ex Platinum and above members. Upon entering you are greeted by the desk concierge who checks that you are authorized and checks your departure (if you get too comfortable and forget your flight). Here you enter a world of cyber cafes, teleconferencing rooms, comfortable lounge chairs, and depending on your carrier, some include barbers, manicurists, full spa services like facials and massages, work stations, theaters, bedrooms, lockers, showers, libraries, bar, food, sushi bars with chefs, living rooms, etc. They are tucked away at all major airports. Some major carriers have their own or partner with others. Lufthansa Germany even assigns you a personal assistant and shuttles you to your flight in your choice of luxury automobile from their private first class terminal! But alas, for us common folk, in La La Land (where who better knows that dollar is king), you can always pay to use the day lounge in the Tom Bradley terminal. Brilliant!
AIRPORT PARKING NIGHTMARE NO MORE–Did you know if you go to LAX airport there is a parking service extraordinaire? Here you can drive up to the curb, a man jumps in with a clipboard while you drive to your terminal, takes your credit card number, flight information of when to pick you up and you tell them what you want done to your car while you are gone? You can pick anything from an oil change to full detail and gas fill up. He checks off his list and bids you bye-bye. No reservations are necessary. Then when you are due to return, they monitor your flight (in case of delays) and are curbside with your car. You jump in and drop them off on your way out of the terminal. What could be easier?
MEET & GREET–Did you know at most airports, not only can your limo driver drop you off, but he can coordinate with a “meet-and-greet” service at the airport to assist your departure and arrival? This person meets your limo (or town car) curbside and assists you through to the first class counter, gets your boarding passes, bags checked, and escorts you all the way to the gate (or in most cases, your lounge). They can also meet you at your gate upon arrival, make sure your driver is curbside, and retrieves your luggage all while you are sitting in your car. This is a private service that work at most airports through your car company.
AIRPORT PARKING–Did you know when you’re in a private jet, your driver can pull right up to the plane on the tarmac and walk right up the ramp into your plane? Your driver, pilot and co-pilot load your luggage into the plane and the flight attendant makes sure you have drink in hand before you ever leave for take off? And yes, when flying internationally, the passport agent comes to you–onto your plane to check your documents. No long lines at the terminals!
DOWN COMFORTER ON YOUR PLANE BED?–Did you know on some first class transatlantic flights, they offer massages, private bars/clubs, chefs, fully extending private sleeping pods, private TV, DVD collection of movies for you to pick from, personal travel kit, down comforters, pillows, 5 star menu including steak and lobster, and just about anything else short of flying the plane! Who would want to leave when you arrive at your destination?
FLIGHT OF FANCY-One of my favorite stories was when I was working for a good friend at holiday time in Holmby Hills, an exclusive LA neighborhood. She was a personal assistant to a very, very wealthy family. Her employers decided to go to lunch on short notice with their son…in Texas! I asked her which FBO (fixed based operator) they flew out of so I could help coordinate. (FBO’s are the smaller carriers at airports terminals most private jets fly out of.) When she replied, “LAX,” I knew it had to be a large plane and not one of the smaller airports/terminals. Turns out it was a private commercial 737. I can only imagine what the gas was just for a couple hour excursion! A $100K lunch for sure!
It is important for the extreme assistant that you know what is available so you can navigate these waters for clients. And while you may be along for the ride, you’re the one coordinating with the meet and greet, the pilots, the drivers, the trip changes etc. etc., to make sure their trip is even more effortless.
In the world of travel, like anything else, you are only limited by what you can afford. For further evidence of this, check out the links below: