American’s Five Star Service lets you fly like an elite flier without really being one

Celebrities have people to take care of the annoying and mundane of air travel, and now you can too.

American Airlines offers Five Star Service, which gives you a leg up on your fellow travelers. And you don’t have to be a super-elite flier to get it; you can pay for the privilege of being treated like the privileged. It’s available at a dozen U.S. airports, including LAX, and five international destinations.

With it, your on-the-ground shadow/concierge meets you curbside as you arrive at the airport and you’re directed to a separate American Airlines check-in.


Your luggage is whisked away, and you enter a small, hotel-like lobby, “though sometimes the celebrity deliberately hangs back, or even chooses the regular lines, just so they can be seen,” said Charles Dorsey, elite service manager for American.

Those who don’t want the attention can take a couple flights of stairs and an elevator — backstage, as it were — arriving at what’s known as the “Magic Door.”

Though it doesn’t have a Harry Potter-style handle that talks and it isn’t made of gnarled, old wood, it does do something special: It takes you to the front of the Transportation Security Administration’s screening line. (Having TSA’s PreCheck means you’ll get through even faster.)

Then it’s on to the first-class Flagship Lounge, where you will find a lengthy buffet-style selection of food, a help-yourself selection of alcohol and, of course, Wi-Fi, newspapers, showers and mini-chocolates, almost enough to make you want to arrive early for your flight.

To avoid even the merest chance of a missed flight, unwanted delay or possible sighting, American has a collection of Cadillacs on the tarmac that can transfer you directly to your plane.

James J. Moses, new managing director for American at LAX, said some celebrities book an entire first-class section for themselves and their entourage. “Special requests” tend to be about heavy luggage or space for four-legged friends, “which is why we have introduced a ‘cuddle class’ pet cabin in first class on all A321T direct flights LAX-JFK,” he said.

If you want to fly like a celeb, you can purchase the Five Star Service (you’ll need a first-class ticket, of course) for $250 within the U.S. and $300 outside the U.S.; an additional adult costs $75 and a child is $50. The pet cabin costs $125.

Info: American Airlines Five Star Service