I remember watching jealously as my seatmate on a flight to Geneva a few years ago – a former White House official now employed by a multinational – did not show up with the rest of between us on the terminal walkway and was instead met by a Mercedes next to the plane. However, with a new service introduced last month at LAX, passengers arriving on domestic flights can now have the same experience. It’s a different car – BMW instead of Mercedes – but the same procedure: Passengers descend the stairs on the side of the pier, have their luggage unloaded directly from the plane, and head straight to their homes or hotels.
The service that provides this is PS Direct, available for an additional fee to PS members at LAX, the private terminal at Los Angeles Airport formerly known as The Private Suite. Originally opened in 2017 as a haven for celebrities harassed by paparazzi and other travelers willing to pay for fun (current per use fee: $ 4,150; $ 3,150 for members who pay $ 4,500 annual fee) not to have In dealing with the main airport terminals, it has taken on greater importance this year during the pandemic due to its privacy and separation from the crowds. And he’s changing more than his name.
“We have remained open throughout the pandemic despite the low volumes of air travel to LAX,” says Amina Belouizdad, co-CEO. “We took advantage of this period to double our efforts to perfect and refine the PS experience. The goal is to build on, not transform, what we have been delivering to our members from day one. Many of the things our members love – the privacy, comfort, premium service, unlimited snacks and amenities, and (of course!) The Chocolate Bar (a collection of candy dispensers the size of one bite affixed to the wall) still remains. ”
A major change is the redesign of the 12 stand-alone suites (two of which can be connected into a double suite) created by Los Angeles designer Cliff Fong. “The management is very residential; We want our members to feel no disconnection between leaving their home and boarding a flight, ”explains Belouizdad. “Or, if they come from abroad, we aspire to give them a sense of belonging and familiarity from the moment they arrive at the PS. To achieve this, we rethought both the form and function of the spaces, and relied on old, vintage, and recycled decors to bring that personal and ‘collected’ feel that we would expect to see in a House. My favorite pieces are the vintage Vladimir Kagan upholstered chairs that have been harvested from merchants and markets near and far. “Three of the suites are ready now; the other nine will be unveiled in spring 2021 and all contain state-of-the-art entertainment systems, a range of snacks and beverage offerings, including elite spirits.
Catering is also evolving from delivering local restaurants to a culinary plan being developed by hotel company The h.wood group, specialists in Californian / Mediterranean cuisine at restaurants like The Nice Guy and Delilah in West Hollywood. The menu is expected to debut early next year; specific dishes have yet to be decided but according to group co-founder Brian Toll the emphasis will be on fresh, seasonal and lightness, like some of their restaurants signature dishes such as kale salad with pomegranate, parmesan, pepitas and lemon vinaigrette and tuna tartare with avocado, radish, shallot, herbs and soy vinaigrette.
Besides the new improvements, the basic services of PS remain the same and passengers do not need to be members to use them. (In addition to the lower usage fees, members have priority booking and enjoy free services such as spa services and car details.) Passengers on departing flights go directly to the PS terminal where baggage is processed, boarding passes can be issued and there is a dedicated TSA security check; after crossing it, they are led to the door of the plane. If returning from an international flight, passengers are also taken from the plane to the terminal where they go through dedicated customs and immigration and have their luggage delivered.
The experience may soon be available at other airports as well. “Providing end-to-end service at major US airports would be the ultimate ‘only at PS’ experience,” explains Belouizdad. They hope to announce the next locations in 2021.