Travel | November 24, 2021 4:14 pm

The VIP Flight Perk That’s Above Even First Class

It's the number one reason you likely aren't seeing more celebrities on your flights

The VIP Flight Perk That’s Above Even First Class

I’ve never understood why boarding the plane first is considered to be the pinnacle of luxury. Assuming you aren’t battling to the death for overhead storage, what is the actual perk? From my vantage point, you’re in your seat longer, forced to wait — probably impatiently — for the lion’s share of the other passengers to board. If I’m on an eight-hour flight from New York to Barcelona, do you know what I’m not interested in doing? Spending an extra hour in my seat unnecessarily. Not to mention the fact that boarding first means arriving earlier.

It’s for those reasons, according to frequent flyer blog God Save the Points, that you very rarely — if ever — spot celebrities on your flights. Why? Because the real VIP perk is not boarding first, but rather dead last.

“After what usually feels like 10-15 minutes of pure idling, where everyone appears to already be on board, the flight deck seems ready to go and crew have completed final checks, that’s usually when it happens,” Gilbert Ott wrote. “A true ‘A-lister’ magically appears, and the aircraft door practically closes behind them, on command, and the words ‘cabin crew, boarding complete’ come over the loudspeaker.”

“Sometimes, you’ll even notice a luxury sedan below the plane, signifying that the A-lister did not arrive on board the same way we did. Anyone can actually pay for this perk at certain airports, but it doesn’t come cheap. For A-listers the detail is different,” he added.

Generally the whole ordeal is carefully choreographed by the gate staff and the celebrity-in-question’s team well in advance, so you’re very seldom even aware that it’s happening. But the dance is twofold: not only does it reduce the amount of time the A-lister is in their seat, it also restricts the amount of small talk with civilians they’re forced to endure (as well as the ever-looming possibility that they wind up on Deux Moi before they’ve hit the tarmac again). And this doesn’t just happen at airports: one InsideHook staffer reports seeing Jay-Z and Beyoncé shuffle into a concert in New York mere seconds prior to it beginning, nearly 10 minutes after all the hoi polloi had been seated.

This is likely why you’ve never seen celebrities on your own flights. Ott, per his own account, has heard that some of the ultra famous — glitterati and global leaders alike — regularly insist upon never having to walk past anyone during boarding or deplaning.

Of course, some would argue that said celebrities should, at that point, just be taking their own private jets rather than fly commercial. Others would argue that that’s environmentally irresponsible of them. Any way you package it, the moral of the story is this: they fly among us and, no, you absolutely may not welcome them to board first.