Celebrities are safe from paparazzi in LAX's Terminal 5 now. The $229 million upgrade ensures passengers a ride from the tarmac, outside of prying eyes. But will it work?
Fans looking for LAX photographs may have to search harder since Delta teamed up to create a paparazzi-proof terminal in the California airport.
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, the $229 million upgrade to the terminal was much needed after 3 decades of languishing, and now Terminal 5 is ready for celebrity takeoff. Unveiled at the June 10 ceremony, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti opened up the sleek, modern design to the public before closing it off to invited members.
And how do you avoid the paparazzi? Well, if you're a first-class ticket holder with some fame, you can phone the VIP Select service, which can start at $350 with a first-class ticket. Either a Porsche sedan or Cayenne SUV hybrid will pick them up on the tarmac and taken to meet their drive somewhere underground near Century Boulevard.
Delta Vice President Ranjan Goswami says celebs will "avoid the entire arrivals process." One paparazzo doesn't find the process to be completely unavoidable. "If they're going off the tarmac, there's no way around it."
LAist.com's reporting the VIP lounge is top of the line if you have enough cash and celebrity status to warrant some privacy. Delta One passengers can drive up to the entrance, cutting off TMZ shots, and quietly checking in.
For parents with children, this will probably save a lot of tears, too. Nothing like a barrage of cameras in the face of a scared three-year-old to cause a major problem. Especially since policy makers signed a law on harassing/photographing celebrity children in 2013. People won't buy or promote pictures of children in distress.
In a press release, Garcetti seemed pleased at the overhaul. "Whether by upgrading nearly all of our terminals, bringing in ridesharing services to pick up passengers, or connecting the nation's second-busiest airport to rail, we're making LAX a world-class airport befitting a city that is the global capital of creativity, innovation and possibility."
THR also notes that once the patron's checked in, an elevator will move quickly move the celebrity into a premium security line meant to keep the riff-raff out. Once a handler's obtained, the next stop is the 100 seat larger Sky Club lounge.
Of course, there's the chance of maybe seeing a celebrity if they hit the dining court where Ford's Filling Station, run by Harrison Ford's son Ben, is located. Other options include a Farmers Market and French cuisine found at Monsieur Marcel's.
The idea is to reflect Los Angeles through cuisine, culture, and lifestyle. The shops and restaurants will feature celebrity chefs and major retail brands while waiting for a flight.
And this is only the beginning. Like Terminal 5, the airport's been a staple for Hollywood industry types. But it's time for a change. Southwest's banking on a $508 million investment for Terminal 1, international Terminal 2's getting a makeover and new restaurants, American Airlines will spruce up Terminal 4, and United's spending $573 million on Terminal 7.
With a projected cost of $8.5 billion, the updates will create a more cohesive, elevated look in the 21st century. One of the most famous airports in the world needs a nip-and-tuck, too.
Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin represents LAX and the surrounding neighborhoods. "I greatly appreciate Delta's commitment to helping LAX modernize into a world-class airport this city can be proud of."
But don't expect the lightrail to be finished until 2024. Bring a book for those long waits. Maybe you can sit with a paparazzo and chat up stories. Or let you borrow the telescopic lens will give an updated flight time while you try and get between terminals.
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Then again, showing the photogs where all the best hidey-holes via a ribbon cutting may have leave a few loop holes in the celebrity privacy plan.