Airlines offer V.I.P. treatment for a price
Some airlines are offering services reserved for V.I.P.s and celebrities to the common man for a price. New York Times reports that American Airlines sells a $200 per couple (babies are free) Five Star Service program which entitles you to be greeted at the curb, get you and your luggage checked in right there, get breezed through security, put up in a relaxing lounge, and then allowed to board at the same time as first-class passengers. Another $200 and you will get help during their flight connection. And for $200 yet more you will get helped through customs and baggage claim. For an individual the same services are $120.
American isn’t the only airline offering V.I.P. service to coach passengers willing to pay for it. In June, JetBlue introduced Even More Speed, which offers passengers who, depending on the flight, pay $10 to $75 extra for a seat with more legroom, as well as a spot in an expedited security line at 15 airports, including Newark Liberty, San Francisco and Kennedy. And United began selling a variety of perks a couple of years ago, like door-to-door baggage delivery ($79 to $99, depending on the flight) and expedited security and preboarding (from $9). Its Premier Travel package, which starts at $47 for short flights, bundles several add-ons, including Economy Plus seating with extra legroom ($9 to $163, depending on the flight), expedited security and priority boarding (from $9), and bonus miles (from $9). And practically every airline will sell you a day pass to its airline lounge for about $50, often less if you buy it online in advance.