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VIPs Only: Inside American's Flagship Check-In at LAX

VIPs Only: Inside American's Flagship Check-In at LAX
Photo by Darren Booth for CNBC.com

Most travelers trudge through crowded main terminals to check-in for airline flights. But at American Airlines, select VIP fliers have access to a private oasis separate from the bustling terminal dubbed Flagship Check-In.

On Monday, I toured Flagship Check-In at Los Angeles International Airport with Jeff Plant, American's managing director at LAX. American's super-elite frequent fliers, certain first-class passengers and celebrities are the primary users of this check-in area.

The exclusive pre-boarding area features a separate curbside entrance complete with a greeter in a top hat, dedicated agents, comfortable seating and an elevator leading to front-of-line access to airport security.

(Read more: Unique, Luxurious and Exclusive Airport Lounges)

VIPs Only: Inside American's Flagship Check-In at LAX
Photo by Darren Booth for CNBC.com

It's a very serene environment akin to a hotel lobby. And I didn't even feel like I was at an airport once I entered through the double doors.

Beyond the two kiosks, displaying the American Airlines logo on each screen, there's no additional branding inside the upscale area. The Flagship Check-In option is in addition to separate lounges that offer snacks, beverages, work stations and other services.

American staffs the area with its best agents, who personally assist with check-in, baggage, seat assignments, itinerary changes and other individual travel requirements.

Access to Flagship Check-In is free for the following passengers:

  • Concierge Key frequent fliers (an invitation-only program for American's most valuable customers).
  • Passengers traveling in first class on American's three-class transcontinental aircraft between Los Angeles and Miami or New York's JFK Airport.
  • International first class passengers on American or any oneworld alliance member airline.
VIPs Only: Inside American's Flagship Check-In at LAX
Photo by Darren Booth for CNBC.com

You can also buy your way in if you sign up for American's Five Star Service. At LAX, the rate is $125 for the first passenger and $75 for each additional passenger traveling together. Five Star Service includes a personal assistant, who escorts you through every step of the airport process, including check-in at the Flagship area.

In addition to Los Angeles location, which opened in November 2011, lagship Check-In is available at Miami International Airport and London's Heathrow Airport. American plans to add additional locations across their network later this year and in 2013, Plant said.


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