Flyers who require an extra level of service at the airport can often purchase a VIP package prior to departure. At American Airlines, the price of Five Star Service is $350, increasing of 180 percent over the last seven years. Is the price commensurate with the level of service executives and celebrities receive on the ground?
When it comes time for celebrities and high-profile executives to fly, many choose the economy and reliability of airlines over private planes. But boarding a commercial aircraft can also come with a number of problems, including unwanted attention and difficulty getting to the gate.
For those truly elite flyers (who may or may not carry status), many carriers offer a “VIP” add-on to help navigate from the curbside to the gate and everything in-between. The price of assistance at the gate can vary between airline to airline and service to service. At American Airlines, the cost of their VIP package, Five Star Service, has jumped by over 180 percent over the past seven years, going from $125 to $350 for one flyer.
The most recent price change went unannounced for the Dallas-based carrier, with nothing more than a simple change on their website. The service is available at 12 American airports including Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C.
For $350, flyers receive a dedicated concierge to meet them at curbside, check in through Flagship First, Admirals Club lounge access and escort from curb to airplane. Flyers can also preboard the aircraft, get assistance with rebooking if necessary and even book car service at their arrival airport.
But how does the price stack up with other carriers? Delta Air Lines offers VIP Select service as an add-on (similar to American), while United Airlines outsources their service to Global Airport Concierge. At both carriers, the price is the same: $250 for departure VIP service only.
FlyerTalk reached out to American about the price change, but a spokesperson declined to comment.