United Airlines has partnered with airport food service company OTG to open a high-end restaurant at Newark Airport, but entry is not guaranteed by racking up frequent flier miles or credit card points–it is invitation-only for the truly luxury traveler.
Classified, the 36-seat restaurant located somewhere in Terminal C, is “a bright and airy dining space that’s hidden away for those lucky enough to get an invitation,” according to United Airlines. The invitation is issued using a secret algorithm and a MileagePlus number is required to make a reservation.
Less than luxurious are the ever-present iPads to place your order, but unlike other airport restaurants, menu items range from a $120 seafood platter to a $104.90 dry-aged porterhouse. And cocktails are wheeled by on a bar cart, reminiscent of both a bygone era and luxury lounges abroad.
Transforming the time spent before a flight into a luxury experience is a relatively new concept for United Airlines at Newark Airport save for their overcrowded yet functional frequent flier lounges. Classified perhaps is their answer to similar jet-set services offered by other airports and a repositioning of the company in the wake of some very bad press last year.
LAX has devoted an entire terminal to celebrities’ travel needs, keeping them sequestered from the paparazzi and whisking them to the tarmac via private Porsche. In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific offers specialty spa service. And at Muscat International Airport, the Oman Air Lounge serves meals prepared by personal chefs.
Back at Classified in Newark’s Terminal C, the chosen crowd can order the signature shrimp-adorned cocktail called The Caesar and have an experience that “will change the way you think about airport dining forever,” according to Business Insider. However, custom and often complimentary luxury are the true desires of the elite, and Classified’s simple exclusivity might be more PR than real pre-flight opulence.