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American Airlines Passengers Can Now Skip Airport Traffic (and TSA Lines) with a New VIP Helicopter Service

Because, sometimes, just getting to the airport is half the battle.

Helicopter flying over Manhattan Bridge, Manhattan, New York City, NY Shutterstock

Sometimes just getting to the airport—and through the dreaded TSA lines—can feel like the most perilous parts of a journey. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just skip all the traffic and the take-off-your-shoes drama to get the trip started already?

American Airlines has heard your cry, apparently. On Tuesday, the airline announced Five Star Service, a new program designed to make traveling to the airport feel less like your morning commute and more like a white glove personalized luxury experience. Since traffic is often the first hurdle to a relaxed travel experience, AA has partnered with helicopter service Blade to offer “helicopter transfers” to the airport. In other words, AA wants to fly you to your flight.

The service, which is currently limited to NYC and L.A., works like this: You’ll be whisked away via helicopter from a Blade location in the city, then soar skyward toward to the airport (either JFK or LAX), bypassing snaking lanes of traffic, and turning a trip which might take an hour or more into a about a 10-minute flight (to say nothing of the enviable Instagram opp). The Blade service can be booked both to or from the airport—so, from the moment you leave your front door to the moment you get back, the whole experience takes place almost entirely by air. “Blade and American Airlines will now provide customers with a seamless experience from the door of the helicopter to their seat on their American flight,”  Blade founder and CEO Rob Wiesenthal said in a release.

While the helicopter ride is certainly the splashiest feature, there are five different tiers to AA’s new service, each aimed at taking the headaches out of traveling and streamlining the boarding and deplaning process for fliers. For about $1,600, you get the full range of benefits: In addition to the helicopter ride to the airport, you’ll be greeted at an off-terminal entrance and then whisked through a private screening service, all with your very own personal chaperone, in case the very act of explaining your VIP status is too exhausting. If you’re in Los Angeles, there’s also the option for access to The Private Suite at LAX, which AA bills as “a new terminal designed for first and business class travelers seeking the highest convenience, privacy, and luxury.”

“We understand the value our customers put on their time and a personalized end-to-end travel experience — whether it is a private travel experience, a little more luxury, fine dining in the airport or getting to the gate quickly, we have them covered,” Janelle Anderson, VP of global marketing said. “This gives our customers a range of choices when traveling on American.”

Given the choice to avoid airport traffic and lines altogether, we can think of only one answer: Yes, please.

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