You Don’t Have to Be a Celebrity to Fly Like One

Photo (cc) by Richard Moross

A swipe of your credit card and you too can enjoy VIP status the next time you fly.

Perks like curbside-to-plane personal escorts and planeside limousine service are now offered by airlines in pampering packages once reserved for travelers having platinum status.

A new report, “VIP for a Fee: Airport Services Designed for High Value Customers,” explains that an increasing number of airlines are selling travel perks to passengers for a profit.

“VIP treatment, such as early boarding, bonus miles, fast-track screening, and first-class upgrades, has proven to produce the revenue payback eagerly desired by airline management,” said Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorksCompany, which compiled the report.

These VIP perks could mean big bucks for airlines, as the revenue generated from a little pampering is immediately seen on airline income statements. “Airlines are realizing that they can actually sell this. And we’re going to see more and more of that, because it works,” Sorensen told The New York Times.

Pricing on the VIP à la carte services varies, depending on the airline, services provided and airport location.

Reactions to the travel pampering packages are mixed. “We are seeing a democratization of travel as airlines see the possibility of additional revenue,” Henry H. Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst at Hudson Crossing, told Fox News.

New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey wrote:

To me, this highlights a disconcerting trend toward imposing almost-medieval degrees of social stratification on air travel. This trend can be most easily witnessed in that absurd routine you see at airport boarding gates, where the agent invites premium and elite passengers to board along a blue or red carpet and then quickly closes that lane off with a rope and directs the nonprivileged to walk on a gray-carpeted lane next to it.

But that’s only the stuff most of us see. For the right price, there’s a whole new level of privileged service at the airport — not to be confused with the spectacular levels of in-flight service (private compartments, bathrooms with showers, sumptuous beds, haute cuisine) being marketed by international airlines in first-class and business-class cabins, all unseen by coach passengers shoehorned in the back into 10-across rows.

Would you pay extra to travel like a VIP? Tell us below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There
My Favorite Amazon Purchases From 22 Years of Shopping There

Yes, I’ve been shopping on Amazon since the 1990s. These are among my most beloved buys.

How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month
How Baby Boomers Are Earning an Extra $573 a Month

In the gig economy, baby boomers are out-hustling their younger competition. You can cash in, too.

3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances
3 Ways a Health Savings Account Can Improve Your Finances

Open an HSA in minutes to help you save on taxes, cover medical expenses and grow your retirement nest egg.

7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health
7 Gadgets Under $60 That Can Boost Your Health

These Amazon finds can help ease foot aches, boost energy and even protect your heart.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

You probably don’t realize these items are worth decent cash.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire
These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire

If you expect to have modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.