On the positive side, the uberrich will trickle some money to airlines/airports which then may not have to gouge us That Much.
…one can dream…
LAX has a $15 an hour min wage, that’ll sting a bit.
$1800 a year? a flight? onetime life long membership? If you fly through LAX often enough one of those price points could be worth it.
Living life as a prole is sweeeet.
OMG $1800?? Even if I had $1800, there’s no way I’d do it unless there was a fountain streaming tears collected in the poor people’s security line. As if.
When they get it built, why don’t we all sneak in there and shit on the floors? Sound like fun? Who’s in?
So they’re sprucing up an old cargo hangar into a facility for fleecing the rich. And this is a bad thing?
I would think that doing something to mitigate dangerous, hounding crowds of paparazzi and fans (have we forgotten Princess Di?) is probably a worthwhile security measure as long as the cost is not passed down to those not requiring the services.
I suppose ideally it would be nicer to re-structure society such that there would be no place for said hounding crowds, but that would be nuts.
Last time I flew to LA, I was on the same crowded plane as Katee Sackhoff; I said hi to her in the gate waiting area, but didn’t ask for a selfie or otherwise bother her. Air travel is obnoxious enough without being bothered by douchey entitled fans. If you’re rich enough to have $1200 to burn and famous enough that people will want to take your picture when your on the toilet, then I say go with god.
Incidentally, Los Angeles World Airports (which operates LAX) made a profit of $66 million in 2014. The annual lease to the company offering the VIP terminal is worth about $3.4 million per year, which is a pretty nifty profit center. LAWA is a division of the City of Los Angeles, so yes, it’s likely not free from corruption, but that money isn’t going into some CEO’s bonus check, and hopefully is doing good things for the people of LA.
The price is part of the selling point.
Imagine you are a legitimate celebrity, you show up at the airport and you’re surrounded by fans looking for autographs and a bit of personal time, paparazzi looking for photos, etc. In addition to the typical stress of travel you now have to dress like a celebrity and be kind and gracious to every weird person that comes up.
Or you can pay $1800 and relax among the other rich and famous who are willing to pay $1800 to relax. I suspect a lot of celebrities get private plans not as a status symbol, but because they don’t like having to be “on” every time they need to take a flight.
Will it include a giant “terrorists attack here” sign?
Talk about a big juicy target.
The rich didn’t get that way by investing in anything that trickled money to the poor. It’s far more likely that money will move in the opposite direction – that this project will cost more than it brings in in revenue and that airlines/airports will have to gouge us MORE as a result.
Well, LAX is owned by the city and, like so many SoCal institutions, came from a land grant, so making a separate little enclave for the blue bloods is…questionable. And a lot of the people who will use it won’t even notice $1,800. The rich aren’t just richer than the middle-class, they’re ludicrously richer.
Of course, if an enterprising stealth paparazzo (paparazza?) can afford the cost of admission, a picture of North by Northwest or whatever his (her?) name is having a meltdown in the elite private terminal could bring in five times that much. This could actually be a goldmine.
Arguably, the $1800 markup is more encouraging than, say, a $50 markup:
$1800(plus the likely-not-cheap food/etc. options within) is enough of a bump that it is pretty unlikely that you’ll persuade someone to move from the standard terminal to the fancy one unless money is simply no object.
If the premium were a lot smaller, though, there would be the active incentive to make the ‘free’ terminal incrementally more miserable, in order to make the premium terminal more attractive(we’ve certainly seen this in other areas of airline travel). An incentive to actively degrade the baseline experience, because you can reasonably expect to nudge a decent percentage of travelers into the next bracket, would be a very bad thing. A price bracket that is too high to make nudging realistic is safer in that sense.
The only aspect of this plan that would really rub me the wrong way is if the TSA experience is markedly different. The fact that money buys nicer interior decoration and upscale depressing-terminal-dining is one thing; allowing it to buy improved treatment from federal security flunkies is quite another(though not exactly a surprise, if it does happen).
One time I was getting my bag off the carousel at Seatac the same time that (apparently) Michelle Rodriguez was.
Not being a connoisseur of the Fast and Furious films (or celebrity in general) I couldn’t have cared less, but some people seemed interested.
I can imagine paying a bit of cash to avoid the scrum is worth it if you’re wealthy enough.
Security is already much nicer if you’ve got any kind of ‘VIP’ status - e.g. even just flying business class lets you skip the lines at Heathrow.
Only if they’re having a meltdown, 99.9% of the time it will just be celebrities sitting being completely innocuous. And again having the money doesn’t give you the right to go in there, it just means they’re prepared to accept you. If you hear some A-lister is having a meltdown and pay your $1800 to get inside I bet the moment your camera comes out you’re getting an escort out and a refund.
So a terrorist just needs $1800 to go through the lax security terminal?