Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Air travel industry & celebrities

Some celebrities choose to avoid paparazzi; others use paparazzi for some free publicity.

"Many carriers have "special service" staffers to speed stars and VIPs through airports and on to planes, or out back doors to limousines. Special rooms, some hidden behind unmarked doors adjacent to gates and some private lounges inside airport clubs, are reserved for politicians, movie stars, sports heroes and other dignitaries.

British Airways recently slipped a major movie star out of the airport "completely avoiding photographers by devious, but legal, means," Mr. Williams says with pride. He can't say who, but airport officials say Angelina Jolie was a recent airport patron.
In general, if you have to ask for it, you probably don't qualify for special-services treatment. But even if you haven't won an Oscar, you can purchase a bit of special coddling for yourself for as little as $100.

Last July, even Victoria Beckham, aka pop singer "Posh Spice" and wife of soccer star David Beckham, was sent to the end of the immigration line as 200 photographers waited outside for her arrival. (British Airways did whisk her children and their nanny out a back door so they'd avoid the media crush.)

Airport and airline officials say gate agents or skycaps who check in celebrities often tip off photographers -- and earn a percentage of the revenue a photo generates.

Of course, many times the tips come from the celebrity's publicist. While some stars ask airlines to help them avoid photographers, others covet the attention and ask airline special-service representatives for help with hair and makeup before facing swarms of cameras."

Source: The Star Treatment: Flying Like Jennifer Aniston - The Wall Street Journal