VIP Services at Airports: Are They Worth It?

GodwinCurrin2474 | 2021.11.23 05:04 | 조회 54
If you can hire a personal escort to whisk you to the front of the line, why wait in long security lines? Growing numbers of airport concierge firms make this promise to fliers, whether they are arriving or departing. Services are offered in airports worldwide by companies that are independent from airports and airlines (they have permission to operate in the airports where they sell their products).

Analyst George Hobica, who has used a handful of these services, says airports have become busier in the last several years, so their popularity has increased. He said they are ideal for travelers who get frustrated waiting in long lines, have trouble navigating through an airport or who have a tight connection at an airport. If you like to board a plane just when the doors are closing, a concierge is a great idea, he said. Moreover, you are made to feel like a VIP.

Those who have an international departure and are flying in economy class may particularly benefit from an airport escort, Mr. Hobica said, because theyre required to arrive at the airport three hours in advance and have to contend with longer security lines, compared with business and first class fliers who usually have separate security lines. He said airport escorts can save you a lot of time.

Royal Airport Concierge is an established company that provides airport escorting services. Since its inception in 2006, it now operates in over 550 airports throughout the world and uses both its own greeters and local companies for its escorting services. According to Ron Gorfinkel, the type of service provided depends on the rules at the airport and the country. For a departure from Italy, for example, a greeter is permitted to escort departing passengers onto the plane and help them stow their carry-on luggage while fliers arriving into Londons Heathrow Airport have the option to be met at their gate and taken to customs and immigration in a golf cart, where they are fast tracked through the lanes. Pricing varies but averages $300-$450 for up to four passengers.

Blacklane, a Berlin-based company that launched Blacklane PASS, a concierge service at airports, caught my attention because of the idea of getting star treatment at an airport.

The Basics:

As of 2017, Blacklane offers escorts and car services in more than 500 airports worldwide through their Blacklane PASS service. Escorts are either employed by the airport itself or by local concierge companies. The services Blacklane provides are based on the country and airport rules, just as Royal Airport Concierge does. Generally, according to CEO Jens Wohltorf, the company escorts travelers through security, customs, immigration, and handles refunded VAT. Additionally, they meet arriving passengers at the exit of the aircraft and assist them through customs and immigration as well as baggage claim; they can even arrange transportation and coordinate with a driver for curbside pickup.
The Cost:

There is a fee of $200 for the first guest and a fee of $100 for subsequent guests. Children two and under are free. The typical passenger tips his escort, but Mr. Wohltorf said gratuities are completely optional.
My Experience:

The Blacklane PASS was booked for me, my two children, and my parents on a recent trip from Paris Orly Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport. I reserved the service online a week before our trip (first-time customers must reserve online but subsequent bookings can be made online or via phone) and received a text message from our escort, Reda (only permitted to use his first name), the night before our journey introducing himself and asking if I could text him when we were five minutes away from the airport so that he could greet us. When we pulled up at the terminal, he was waiting to welcome us with a smile. In a luggage cart, Reda loaded our four carry-ons and four check-in bags and led us to the front of the line at La Compagnie, our airline. While the line wasn't too long, I did feel a sliver of joy when Reda flashed his pass to an airline employee, who allowed us to bypass other travelers.

Checking in, we filed for a VAT refund to be reimbursed for the shopping we had done while in Paris. Here's where things got tough: we were told by the employee- a lady- who we dealt with for the refund process that we needed to bring in actual goods in order to claim our refunds. We had packed most of our groceries into our check-in bags unaware that this rule applied. خدمات المطار Over $1000 in refunds was owed to us, and we were remiss in not returning the money. Even though my father and I pleaded with her to make an exception, she refused- no items, no refunds.

It was Reda who stepped in for us, saying that we were airport VIPs. Her persistence paid off and she processed our refund. Where would we be without his help?
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