This weeks Fabulous Friday will have a look at American Airlines Five Star Concierge Service which the airline offers their First & Business Class customers for a rather steep fee at many locations.
I will combine this with a reader question as we recently got an email from one of our readers asking if American would offer something like this as he booked a long itinerary involving AA First Class segments.
Hi Loyalty Lobby:
I redeemed two mileage tickets pre-devaluation flying Taipei-Tokyo-Los Angeles-New York-Miami / Miami-Los Angeles-Tokyo-Taipei on a First Class award (no partner flights JAL/Cathay available at the time I booked). There are quiet a few connections in between and it doesn’t seem AA provides good ground services for First Class. Can I pay for an escort / gate transport? I’m traveling with my father (74 years) who is doing well but don’t want to stress while flying First.
I replied to the reader that American Airlines indeed does not provide special ground services. In fact the already limited First Class experience ends as soon as you leave the aircraft. While most international carriers escort their First Class passengers through security, to the lounge and gate this doesn’t happen with U.S. carriers in most cases. I noted he could either ask for a wheelchair service which probably wouldn’t be very luxurious and maybe not suitable for this occasion or book (and pay for) American’s Five Star Concierge Service.
This service is actually very nice and can be reserved with American directly (see their website here). They describe it like this:
Five Star Service is a premium and personal airport experience available for your departure, connection or arrival in select markets when traveling in First or Business Class.
Each service option is priced separately:
Within the U.S. $250 per adult, per option.
Outside the U.S. $300 per adult, per option.
Extra Passengers: $75 each additional adult.
What are these service options? American breaks this down into three separate categories: Departure Assistance, Connection Assistance and Arrival Assistance.
If our reader wanted to have this service during his entire trip then he better has really deep pockets as one is looking at 1000$ per way just for the escort and assistance services (for 2 passengers). Services that other airlines provide free of charge to International First Class guests.
And here is what you get:
Deaprture Assistance: Customized help with your departure check-in and security.
While certainly comfortable I leave it to the readers to decide if these things are worth 250-300$. Especially on an international itinerary where lounge access is already included.
The other two service options include similar things:
The description makes no notion of whether these connection and arrival assistance services are motorized or just a designated employee walking next to the passenger. I have seen AA buggies though when I was in Chicago last time.
In Los Angeles however a LA Times article (access here) revealed that there are Cadillac car services available to transfer passengers to their aircraft.
To avoid even the merest chance of a missed flight, unwanted delay or possible sighting, American has a collection of Cadillacs on the tarmac that can transfer you directly to your plane.
I’m not sure what purpose that serves considering AA’s Terminal 4 at LAX is rather compact but maybe they also shuttle connecting passengers over to Tom Bradley International Terminal if required.
The service is really exclusive and as long as someone is willing to spend the big bucks for such attention to detail there will be proper accommodation for the passengers needs. Just don’t do it if you need value for money because that is one thing you definitely won’t find with Five Star.
Under normal circumstances I would have recommended our reader to check again short before his flight if he can find award space on another airline such as British Airways or Cathay but since he booked his award before AAdvantage cannibalized their award chart he would be charged with the new values after rebooking.