By Andrew Court
For me, the worst part about flying is everything leading up to the actual take off.
It’s not cool to say, but I am an anxious old woman when it comes to getting to the airport. I’m there three hours early in case a bridge has collapsed, a high speed chase is going on, or for some reason the highway decided not to open that day.
It’s not much better when I get there. I rush to get through security tapping my toe like a Greenwich Village jazz musician as I wait for TSA to rub down my crotch. Occasionally I’ll go to a lounge, but more often than not I stand next to the gate staring at it, just in case they decide to move the flight 45 minutes early and reroute it through Zanzibar.
In these moments of self-induced stress, I dream of flying private, having everything done on my terms. The problem is that I’m a peasant traveler already, and a sleek white plane with my name on the side is as realistic as getting a flying magic carpet for Christmas. When I drill down though, it’s not the flying per se that I want changed, just the entire experience around it.
The guys at P/S have read my mind, and are now offering a commercial airline adjacent travel service. It combines the luxury of the private experience with the efficiency and safety of commercial air travel. And I might even be able to afford it too.
Formerly known as Private Suite, the company launched at LAX in 2017 and since then has expanded to Atlanta. On their website, they describe the service in almost philosophical terms, “We offer category defining luxury access. In plain English, we get you in, we get you out, perfectly. How we do it is stupendously complex, but you’ll never notice. You will notice how we make you feel—secure, satisfied, flat-out delighted.” This is probably one of the most high end paragraphs I’ve ever read.
And they do deliver on that promise.
The Salon is their entry level product. It’s essentially a higher end lounge away from the airport with its own TSA and customs as well as transportation directly to the airplane. While you wait for your flight you can enjoy cocktails and “chef-prepared” meals. Two nights of valet parking are even included.
The Private Suite is their next level up. It’s basically the Salon but entirely private, so you avoid the prols who can only afford the Salon. Joking aside, they recommend this for people with pets as well as children. I’m petless and childless but I can imagine this sort of service would be worth its weight in gold after seeing harried parents at the airport.
At the pinnacle is the PS direct service. This is similar to the Private Suite but you get to leave the plane first and you are driven door to door without even seeing the terminal. At this point we’ve ascended to the level of royalty and Hollywood celebrity.
Isn’t it sketchy, you might be asking, that there’s a private company doing TSA screenings for a price? While I can see why this might give one pause, P/S is backed by a heavyweight in the security industry, Gavin De Becker & Associates. Gavin is known as one of the nation’s leading security and violence protection experts. He’s the guy who Jeff Bezos hired to investigate his phone being hacked. His book The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence has been translated into 25 languages. Suffice it to say De Becker doesn’t fuck around.
Now we get to the fun part, the cost, and like everything these days, it’s not cheap. All Access Membership costs $4,850 a year, the Salon rate is $750 per person, and the Private Suite rate is $3,550 for up to four travelers. Judging if it’s worth it depends on what you compare it to. It’s expensive next to flying Spirit, but cheap compared to flying private. If you’re a celebrity, or just have lots of dogs, kids, and airport anxiety, it’ll start making sense in a hurry.
Editor’s note: P/S does not handle firearms. For general travel their service seems like a great option; for hunters, enjoy the Delta Club.