Despite the sad state of today's travel industry, airlines still roll out the old-fashioned red-carpet treatment for VIPs – political leaders, screen names, sports stars and other dignitaries – reports the Wall Street Journal, which says members of the public can also receive the same limo-to-plane pampering for as little as $100.
Though private jets have replaced commercial airliners as the preferred means for star travel, the beleaguered carriers still cater to a celebrity clientele – even allowing them to order special meals, just in case they haven't brought along their private chefs to cook for them onboard (which also takes place).
Besides making sure they are efficiently whisked to the plane, the airlines' chief concern is the star's privacy, as evidenced by British Airways' recent escort service for Angelina Jolie – who, with the airline's help, cleared customs and immigration in Los Angeles and exited the terminal door without encountering a single photographer.
It also works on the other side of the Pond. To maneuver London's Heathrow once she was swarmed by 60 photographers, Aniston was surrounded by a team of airport security officers, who formed a protective bubble around her – and reportedly sparked requests from other celebrities who wanted similar treatment.
Like Anybody ElseNot that the velvet glove can always be put to use. In July, Victoria Beckham was forced to wait like anybody else at the end of Heathrow's immigration line, as 200 photogs awaited her arrival outside. Her children and their nanny were discreetly taken out a back door, however.
In terms of public consumption, the Journal reveals that American Airlines doesn't advertise its special "Five Star" concierge service, but it is available at L.A. Airport and New York's JFK. (The paper also says the private phone number is 877-578-2702.)
And surprising as it may seem, Paris Hilton routinely used to fly Southwest Airlines from LAX to Las Vegas without incident, but the Journal says skycaps and gate agents, in exchange for a financial kickback once the photos are sold, are now wise to tipping off the paparazzi when a celebrity is due to take wing. The price of fame.
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