It’s never been a better time to be a celebrity.
Though make no mistake: There’s really never been a bad time to be famous. Sure, there are drawbacks, but the positives always outweigh the negatives. Today, that means perks (make that Perks). Most of the most exciting aspects of being an A-lister are obvious: The huge salaries, the glamorous appearances, the getting-to-be-on-TV. The fact that it’s basically their full-time job to look good. But there are secret, under-the-radar perks that are only available to those highly in the know.
Perhaps the most interesting thing is that all of these fringe benefits are privilege on top of privilege: To even be in a situation that comes before the perk is to be #blessed. But whereas a non-famous person might think it’s truly fabulous to even have the option of paying $30 to take a spin class at SoulCycle, celebrities get oh so much more. E! News is letting you in on some of the best examples, but the envy is real. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Let’s start where all good celebrity stories do: The airport. It may not be sexy, but it’s where A-listers spend the majority of the time.
When they fly commercial, they’re not really flying commercial—at least in the way that the rest of us are. Major airports are equipped to handle VIPs and all the things that come with them (like the paparazzi crush, for one).
Ever wonder why, whenever you see a photo of a star at LAX, they look like they’re leaving dinner instead of disembarking from a long-haul journey? It’s because of services like American Airlines’ Five-Star. For an additional fee, celebrities can access the red carpet treatment when they fly between New York and Los Angeles.
It starts with a curbside meet-and-greet, where an airport employee will collect the star from their car and bring them to an expedited check-in and security zone that is paparazzi-free. They then wait for takeoff in a special lounge, and are driven out to the tarmac in a luxury car, where they get to board the plane before anybody else.
Once they land they’re escorted through customs and baggage claim, to help with any carrying needs and to keep fellow travelers with personal space issues from bother them. In short, nothing about this air travel experience is normal.
Then comes dinner; even stars have to eat. There are plenty of Mom-and-Pop shops that may not even know their Kendall Jenners from their Emma Roberts, but in New York and Los Angeles the hotspots deal in the business of catering to the stars—in more ways than one.
To start, the secret entrance is alive and well. Big stars (and, quite frankly, even C-listers) are welcome to enter and exit via the kitchen or private side doors to avoid both potential paparazzi outside and having to walk by the general public inside the restaurant.
At the most exclusive restos like Catch in Los Angeles—which owner Mark Birnbaum told E! News is a star favorite because they treat their clientele “like regular people” while also recognizing that some need more privacy than others—special seats, or most often the best seats in the house, are permanently set aside for A-listers.
“We hold them dearly for anyone we know is going to come,” Birnbaum explained. “Or in case there are any last minute requests. Nobody ever tells us in advance [that they’re coming.”
That means that if Jay Z decides on a whim that he wants to go to, say, Jon & Vinny’s, a tiny restaurant in West Hollywood that books up weeks or even months in advance, he can simply have his people call their people, and within minutes he’s enjoying that highly sought after vodka fusilli.