This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Passengers flying at the front of the plane are the most profitable for airlines, so attracting and keeping these customers happy is a top priority for airlines. Starting today, American Airlines is partnering with two service providers to offer a more seamless experience for those willing to pay for it.
AA passengers can now add helicopter transfers for departures or arrivals at New York Kennedy (JFK) or Los Angeles (LAX). Also, business and first class passengers departing Los Angeles now have the option to check-in and clear security at The Private Suite.
American Airlines passengers departing from New York and Los Angeles can now purchase a $350 BLADE add on to be “greeted by an American Airlines team member and escorted via Cadillac to Flagship First Check-In” upon arrival at the airport. This transfer is available to passengers flying in any cabin who’ve purchased a BLADE transfer. Passengers who don’t have access to Flagship First Check-In through elite status or by purchasing Five Star Service will have to use the standard check-in desks.
Arriving passengers have the option to take the process in reverse. Passengers with carry-on baggage only will be picked up at the gate and transferred directly to BLADE’s airport terminal via Cadillac. Passengers with checked bags will get an escort through baggage claim before getting the Cadillac transfer to BLADE.
It’s important to note that this $350 transfer price is on top of BLADE’s price for the helicopter flight itself.
This partnership comes almost two years after Delta announced a similar partnership with BLADE for helicopter transfers between Manhattan and JFK and nine months after United began offering its own helicopter transfer service between Manhattan and Newark (EWR).
To purchase this service, passengers are instructed to select the $350 American Airlines add-on during checkout on the BLADE app. If you’re interested in trying out BLADE for yourself, sign up here and enter referral code THEPOINTSGUY (case sensitive). You’ll earn $100 in credit — applied in $50 — to use toward future BLADE flights.
The Private Suite LAX
American Airlines already works to provide an exclusive check-in experience through its Flagship First Check-In. However, LAX passengers that want an even more exclusive and private experience can now do so at The Private Suite. Departing passengers can arrive at the airport, check-in and clear security at the private terminal before being transferred via Cadillac to the terminal, lounge or directly to their gate. The add-on service is priced at $1,200 for the first two passengers, and passengers must be flying in business or first class to purchase this add-on.
This story has been updated since publication to indicate that BLADE airport transfers are available to all American Airlines passengers — not just Five Star Service passengers as originally indicated in AA’s press release.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, the 50,000 miles are worth $700. In addition, you can earn 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) toward elite status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year. As of July 23, 2017 this is the only card that offers Admirals Club lounge access so if you are an AA flyer this card might make sense for you. Aside from lounge access the primary cardholder will receive a Global Entry application fee credit every 5 years, first checked bag free for up to 8 travel companions on domestic itineraries and a 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases on American Airlines flights.
- Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Admirals Club® membership for you and access for guests traveling with you
- Complimentary Admirals Club® lounge access for authorized users
- Earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
- Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases and 1 AAdvantage® mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
- First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation