We all like to travel like we are VIPs. In fact we all are, it’s just that the global travel industry hasn’t recognized us yet. But I digress, there are huge perks to being treated like a Hollywood A-Lister. Being met at the plane, whisked through security with big shades on as passengers wonder which celebrity you are is always fun. But there is a practical side to this as well. Honestly who likes to waste time in long immigration lines and worry about connections?
Well here are some ways that we can all travel like an A-Lister.
For starters there are some airlines that give you the royal treatment when you fly First Class. Thai airways in Bangkok will meet every passenger at the plane and escort them in a golf buggy to a separate Immigration check, then take you all the way through Customs. Lufthansa at FRA and MUC with do the same, although in this case you are taken from the plane to the First Class terminal and back again to your next flight by car. But it’s not just any car. You have your choice of a Mercedes or Porsche.
Other services are available at a fee, regardless of what class you fly. American Airlines has the best option. It’s called “5 star service”. It costs about US$200 depending on what airport you book it for. This is a great gift to give a traveling relative. If Grandma is coming out to see the kids this is a little indulgence and a nice way to make sure she actually makes it.
AA normally offers the service where they have a flagship lounge. So this includes MIA, JFK, LAX, ORD, LHR, BOS, SFO, DCA, NRT, GRU and MXP
With this service you are greeted at the plane, escorted off the plane, taken though Immigration and Customs and taken through fast track security to your next flight before being admitted to the lounge. After relaxing in the lounge, you are picked up before your flight and pre-boarded before any other passengers, including special need passengers and First Class. This is a must if you have a tight connection and arrive at airports that are known for long lines at immigration. The worst airports for this are Miami, LAX and Chicago. JFK is actually a lot better these days as it depends what terminal you come into. BA shares with CX and this terminal is often quieter than most international hubs.
However let’s be clear, coming into the US can often take a very long time. If you have to book a connection then leave lots of time for delays. 3 hours is better than 1 and half as there is always a chance that you may miss a tight flight. It’s better to have a confirmed seat and relax at the airport, than worry about a missed connection.
My best advice if you can’t afford a VIP service or First Class ticket is to be smart. Get off that plane quickly, walk fast and it won’t take you long to get past the lagging crowds. To be amongst the first off your flight and into the Immigration queue will make a huge difference. Test to this is on your next flight by simply following this advice and then looking behind you when you are in line; 300 people that have just arrive on a 747 looks like a lots of bodies in a Customs Hall. It’s even worse if you are on an A380.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.