My son and daughter-in-law have always been as obsessed with traveling as I am, so I love introducing them to new places, trends and experiences. But since they became digital nomads over the past year and I’ve stayed home, the roles have been reversed and they’ve been the ones to tell me about some exciting new travel discoveries.
The one I’m most intrigued by is the one that prompted a text message from Alex, who had just spent a couple of hours at PS at LAX before being driven on the tarmac directly to the plane, where he and Julie boarded a flight to Bora Bora. He wrote, “That was legit among the coolest things I’ve ever done.”
Now, Alex has done some pretty cool things so this was a big deal. So, while he and Julie were flying, I started frantically researching PS, formerly known as The Private Suite, and adding this experience to my own travel bucket list.
Launched in 2017, PS describes itself as “a better way to fly commercial, with unwavering service, seamless access and inspired experience.”
Located in a private terminal adjacent to LAX, PS offers – according to its website – its own official TSA, Customs and Immigration, luggage assistance and personal delivery, a BMW escort across the airfield directly to the cabin door, indoor and outdoor lounges with salon, spa and entertainment amenities and the best dining in Los Angeles.
In fact, it’s so private and hidden away in such a non-descript building, Alex said the Uber driver was wary of dropping them off there. But once their names had been verified and they were guided through the gates, it was obvious they were in the right place. Most guests leave their cars there while they’re away, and the parking lot was filled with top of the line Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Teslas – all of which get lovingly detailed as part of the PS service.
“Due to the strong car culture of Los Angeles, it’s no surprise that members love driving their own cars to PS,” says Joshua Gausman, PS Co-CEO. “Our members often rave about what a luxury it is to valet their vehicle and have their car detailed while they are away. Members love to return to LA, hop in their newly detailed car and seamlessly transition into whatever their day may bring—headed straight into the office, a day of fun, or just going home in the comfort of your own vehicle after a long flight. For locals, tourists, members and non-members, the drive across the airfield directly to the aircraft door of a commercial flight is hands down everyone’s favorite feature. The drive across the tarmac past majestic airplanes is a unique experience only found at PS. It makes for a special photo opportunity!”
Looking forward to that photo opportunity (captured above), Alex and Julie were greeted warmly and led to their beautifully-appointed private suite – one of a dozen filled with lovely touches including books, DirecTV, a yoga mat and all the snacks and beverages they could want. While Alex settled in on their private outdoor patio, with its unique runway views, Julie opted for a complimentary massage. (Complimentary haircuts and manicures are also available.)
“Our most popular pre-flight or post-flight amenity is an in-suite massage,” confirms Gausman. “A massage is the perfect antidote for a long day of travel since it can help relieve jetlag, reduce stress, and improve circulation.”
Although, usually, you probably try to spend the least amount of time at the airport as possible, you’ll want to get to PS up to three hours earlier to really take advantage of all they have to offer, especially the food.
“People think of their time at PS as an extension of their time in LA,” says Gausman. “Members and non-members alike often request In-N-Out for burgers, Sugarfish for sushi and our house-made avocado toast. In-N-Out consistently remains our most requested food order. We keep everyone’s orders on file so we know how they like their burgers and shakes since after they order In-N-Out once, they tend to order it again and again. For those looking for something a bit lighter, our guests request sushi or a seasonal dish from our menu.”
Alex and Julie had picked out their menu selections the day before and were happy to have a good dinner from Mendocino Farms so they could just sleep on their overnight flight.
PS checked them into their flight and got their boarding passes delivered to them. As they got ready to head out, they were encouraged to pack up a bag of treats to enjoy on the plane and to take whatever they needed from their private bathroom – from Advil and Benadryl to toothbrushes and deodorant – and from the tray featuring travel tech essentials including adapters, chargers and headphones.
They were then escorted through PS’s exclusive, private TSA checkpoint before hopping in their branded white BMW to be driven across the tarmac straight to the plane, a fantastic experience which Julie captured on video. From the tarmac, they took the security elevator to the jet bridge, where they were met by a PS rep and welcomed on to the plane.
As amazing as all of this was, Alex and Julie say the best was yet to come. When they returned a week later, their luggage was stored separately so it could be taken off the plane first and, when they landed, they were whisked away to PS’s own Customs and Immigration area. Although they both have global entry, this was even better because, not only was it quick and easy, but there was nobody else around.
“We never had to deal with the airport or other passengers, which was such a luxury, especially during COVID,” says Alex. “We were so well taken care of, I wish we could travel through PS all the time.”
Julie agrees. “I now understand why so many celebrities use PS. It keeps them far away from the crowds and lets them travel in peace. We were treated so well, we felt like celebrities ourselves!”
Not surprisingly, PS membership has climbed since the pandemic and is likely to continue to increase. “PS is perfect for these post-pandemic times,” says Gausman. “Not only did we invent socially-distant luxury, our members absolutely love eliminating traffic, lines, shared surfaces, crowded concourses, and gate areas as they get back into the groove of regular travel. Our goal is to help members transcend compromised, unavoidable environments. Busy International airports are not fun, and we’ve created a way to avoid them while still flying on commercial airlines. Private and remote TSA, private and remote Customs and Immigration processing, and an unforgettable drive across the airfield to the door of your plane – these are some post-pandemic experiences our clients cherish.”
As travel continues to evolve due to COVID, expanding locations is top of mind for PS. Their plan is to eventually be in every major US airport and they’re currently in active discussions with JFK in New York and MIA in Florida.
According to Gausman, “PS is a natural for these times, given the natural socially distant business model and a mission of providing seamless, private, and high-touch service. Offering our members an end-to-end service across major US airports is a key part of the PS vision.”
Considering the fact that airports are the most worrisome part of traveling during COVID times, PS’s vision is more relevant than ever. It’s something I can’t wait to try although I’m afraid once I do, I’ll never be able to travel any other way.
For pricing and more information, visit the PS website.