As recently as a decade ago, Hollywood actors, directors and producers mainly flew two airlines - United and American. Both carriers flew the lucrative route between Los Angeles and New York JFK, and each cultivated the industry's leaders. Delta was afterthought, more focused on the Southeast United States than flashy coastal customers.
But as Delta has grown in New York and L.A., United has receded. In October, it even stopped flying between L.A. and JFK. United still flies its P.S. - or Premium Service - flights just about every hour from L.A. to Newark, which is close to New York City. But Hollywood prefers JFK, and those who can fly in three-cabin first class prefer American, which offers it on all flights. Business class customers like Delta, Virgin America and JetBlue to JFK, as well as United to Newark. All airlines except American have only two-class planes.
United is no longer dominant but it is not giving up on entertainment and media customers. One of my readers sent me a recent issue of United's customer service news, and we learned the airline is forming a "dedicated phone desk" for important East and West Coast customers.
"The desk offers high touch phone and email support for our entertainment and media customers - a growing market for United," the airline told employees. "A progressive step forward for our high yielding customers, United can now compete even further with Delta and American who offer similar support products in a very competitive market."
In a related story, you may have seen news last week in the Wall Street Journal saying at Los Angeles International Airport will be build a private terminal for VIPs, including entertainment industry titans. It will be run by a private company and it will not be affiliated with any airline, so you can use it regardless of which carrier you fly to New York.
Here's how it will work, according to the Journal.
Departing passengers will be driven in through a gated entrance to the back of the building, which faces the runways and terminals. They’ll be ushered to a private suite. Bags will be checked and they’ll go through TSA screening. They’ll be driven straight to their plane, often into first-class seats before other passengers.
The terminal will be built in an abandoned cargo office on Imperial Highway, on the south side of the airport. The location is industrial: neighbors include an airline food kitchen and cargo warehouses. But it offers easy access from Interstate 105, so fliers can avoid the traffic snarls of LAX.
The service, which can be used by anyone who pays for it, will cost $1,500 to $1,800 per trip, the Journal says.