Do you have some serious cash to drop in order to escape the hoi polloi and smooth your way through London's Heathrow Airport?
For £1500 plus taxes -- working out to just under A$2750 -- Heathrow By Invitation's Windsor Suite VIP rooms are available for groups of up to six, promising a private entrance, personal lounge, dedicated security and to-the-plane-door luxury transfer.
It's available for "almost all major airlines", its brochure says, but passengers on American Airlines -- which operates its own Five Star Service VIP treatment -- are specifically excluded.
There are certainly business travellers clinching a valuable deal who will value the ability to arrive at Heathrow, avoid the usual immigration scrum and get straight down to business in a secure, private area before travelling onwards.
When arriving, you'll be collected by luxury car at the aircraft door and whisked straight to the lounge, where passport control, customs checks and luggage collection will be taken care of on your behalf.
Feel free to conduct your meeting in privacy there -- although there aren't any showers, so best to freshen up on the plane before you arrive if you'll be in meetings on arrival.
If you're departing Heathrow, just drive up to the dedicated entrance at Terminal 5 -- no matter which terminal everyone else on your flight is using. The staff will valet park your car if you've driven yourself and take care of your luggage.
You'll speed through private check-in and security, wait in your six-person lounge and be driven by limo directly to your plane when it's time to leave.
Forget about wallowing in gallons of champagne or tucking into the caviar, though -- on offer are "tea, coffee, biscuits and a small alcohol selection", although more can be organised if you like.
That $2750 fee, by the way, includes the 20 percent Value Added Tax (VAT). That's theoretically reclaimable if you're departing the UK, but the lounge brochure says "we will need to escort you to the tax reclaim bureau, which is outside of the VIP area". And let's face it -- if you're dropping the $2750, you can probably afford to skip the tax-back option.
Fans of 1990s TV documentary Airport won't find the familiar Royal Suite featured in the show, though. Heathrow By Invitation is located in completely different facilities at the south end of Terminal 5.
Your other super-VIP travel options include:
- Qantas' fabulous Sydney and Melbourne First Class lounges
- Virgin Australia: Concierge service for frequent flyers at Australian airports
- American Airlines Five Star Service fast-track airport option
- Lufthansa: beyond-the-lounge First Class Terminal at Frankfurt
- VIP luxury interiors for the enormous Airbus A380 superjumbo from Lufthansa Technik
About John Walton
Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.