Air travel is finally going to be easy and fun again... if you're very rich and in Hollywood

We all know the airport horror stories which so many of us experience on a daily basis all too well. The cramped seats, endless fees and occasional tooth-shattering beatdowns are just part of the flying experience. But not if you can afford to fly first class and pay out the nose for the privilege of not being treated like a rabid animal. Those with the financial wherewithal can have large, comfortable seats, plenty of leg room, free drinks and early boarding and exit options. Plus, whenever the airline “randomly” picks somebody to be booted off of the inevitably overbooked flight, it mysteriously never happens to be your seat in first class. But there are still huge annoyances for the well off when they arrive at the airport. Unless they can afford a private jet they still have to wait in those long lines and go through the nude modeling, er… I mean TSA screening experience.

But all that may be coming to an end in a couple of weeks, provided you live near Los Angeles and can afford to lay out even more cash. The LA Times Steve Lopez got to take a tour of a new, exclusive facility at LAX known as the Private Suite terminal. If you manage to get into this private club your TSA worries and other inconveniences will soon be a thing of the past.

As the Private Suite website puts it: “It typically takes 2,200 footsteps from car seat to plane seat. For members of The Private Suite, it’s 70 footsteps. And they are all peaceful footsteps.”

If you’re not sold yet, consider this: “Members of The Private Suite don’t wait in crowded lines because private [Transportation Security Administration] screening is done right in our building. Members don’t walk down long crowded concourses, or line up at ticket counters and boarding gates. They don’t deal with baggage. And they don’t deal with paparazzi.”

I believe you have to blow your own nose, but I could be wrong.

Isn’t that great? Before you run out to sign up, however, you should be aware that you’ll be paying a $7,500 a year membership fee plus an additional $2,700 per flight (that’s domestic flights… it’s $3K for international) to use the Private Suite. But there are some immediate questions which come to mind if any of the hoi polloi out there are uppity enough to ask them. Aren’t those TSA agents representatives of the federal government and on our payroll? And aren’t all of the screening machines and other equipment paid for by the taxpayers as well? Are we really funding a scheme where some of those already strained resources are being diverted away to an exclusive club for Hollywood movie stars and directors so they can save a few steps when they fly out of town?

Never fear. They’ve already thought up an explanation for that.

De Becker said his company is reimbursing the cost of Customs and Border Protection employees, and TSA employees will be used only as needed. He said airport police will have to respond to fewer disruptions when celebrities are hounded at the airport.

Are you kidding me? I suppose it’s nice that they’re reimbursing the cost of the Border Patrol, but whether it’s them or the TSA agents, I don’t care how few of them qualify in the category of “as needed.” That’s too many if we’re all waiting in lines that take an hour to get through.

So how will the Hollywood elite respond to this news? Keep in mind that those stars, directors and studio executives are our moral compass these days. They lecture us endlessly about how we have to be fair to everyone, be mindful of our fellow citizens’ feelings and be more human, not evil. They also lecture us on the evils of carbon emissions (right before jumping out of their limos to get on their private jets to flight off to a climate change conference in Europe). Will they shun this private club which is redirecting federal resources to make life even more miserable for the less affluent standing in line?

Don’t hold your breath. I’m betting they’ll have to expand the size of the Private Suite within a few weeks to accommodate all of the Hollywood types who are lining up to join.

David Strom 4:41 PM on September 26, 2022