Punta Cana International Airport is the second busiest airport in the Caribbean but not a lot of people know you can breeze to the front of the line at customs and immigration, receive access to an exclusive and very private VIP lounge, have a personal airport escort and take your last dip in an outdoor pool overlooking the runway, thanks to the VIP Service.
You’ll have to fork over up to $200 — but the price is worth the perks.
VIP Service is quite literally what the name implies, and it’s offered at Punta Cana Airport. The reason VIP Service is secret is because nobody knows about it. You can book only through an email found on the official airport website, and it’s definitely not common to scope out an airport’s website before flying. Obviously, when you book your flight to Punta Cana through a booking engine or airline’s website (like Delta.com, for instance), you do not get the option to upgrade to VIP Service.
So, with that said, it’s rare that anyone would know about VIP Service unless: A) They have a travel agent who offers it B) They have been to Punta Cana in the past and stumbled upon the service at the airport or C) They happened to randomly go through Punta Cana International Airport’s website.
If you want to get from Punta Cana Airport to the beach in lightning speed, you’ll want to do VIP Service.
If you’re flying into Dominican Republic, here’s a quick guide on 7 things you should know about traveling to the country. Dominican Republic is in a tough place (with the backlash from tourists deaths last year, and the protests this year), but I went for five nights last month, and everything is fine. In fact, I had one of the best vacations in years.
This is how VIP Service at Punta Cana Airport works after you book the service.
Arriving to Punta Cana International Airport
Once your flight lands and pulls up to the gate, and the flight attendant opens the door, your VIP Escort will meet you at either the jetbridge or plane side, depending on your plane. For instance, if you’re flying in on WestJet, which flies small planes going to a small gate in Terminal A, you don’t go through a jetbridge. If you’re flying on a larger wide-body aircraft, like Delta’s 737, into Terminal B, you will have a jetbridge.
I flew in on Delta, so my escort met me at the end of the jetbridge with my name on a sign. She was amazing, cheerful and sweet. She escorted me directly to customs, where there were only 4 agents working. At customs on arrival, the insane perk you receive with VIP Service is a separate, dedicated fast-track customs lane exclusive to VIP Service guests. This means you do not have to wait in the customs line, which can take up to an hour.
I flew first class (click here on the secret to getting upgraded for free), so I was already one of the first off the plane and would have gone through customs fast. But if another flight landed just ten minutes earlier, I would have waited forever.
Once we went through customs, we arrived at the luggage carousel. Because I was the first one off the plane, the luggage hadn’t even arrived. I could have checked my luggage, but I wanted to bring my favorite sunscreen, Jack Black SPF 45. It’s insanely cheap (only $22) for a huge 4 oz bottle, and the active sunscreen agent is zinc oxide, which is broad spectrum, meaning it works better than other sunscreens.
If you’re interested in buying the sunscreen, you can click the link.
I received my luggage (which came quickly since it had a first-class bag tag), and my escort walked me to immigration. Again, there is a separate, expedited line for people who purchase VIP Service.
The escort was with me until the end. She walked me through a private exit at the airport, which is a door away from the main exit (and crowds), into a private pick-up area. If you are arranging transportation through your resort, you must tell them you’re doing VIP Service so they pick you up in this private pick-up area.
The Arrival VIP Assistance costs $75 per person for up to 2 people. If you’re traveling in a group with 3 or more people, the price goes down to $60 per person.
There is no lounge access for the VIP Service Arrival segment, mostly because: why would you want to hang out in a lounge at the airport rather than get to your amazing resort!
Departing from Punta Cana International Airport
I think there’s a lot more value in the VIP Service when you depart from the airport, a reason why it costs more.
After staying at Eden Roc, my driver dropped me off at Terminal B for my Delta flight. There is no private pick-up/drop off area for VIP Service guests. However, there is a VIP Service reception in its own little building right in front of the airport check-in desks. You won’t miss it. This is also true for Terminal A.
My VIP escort was already waiting for me outside (she obviously had all my flight details). We didn’t do much in the VIP reception because I already checked in online, and I was doing carry-on with my luggage. I already had my boarding pass. But if you do need to check in, the VIP escort takes you directly to the check-in desk.
Now, after check-in, she walked me to customs. Again, there is a separate fast-track lane for VIP Service guests. We easily passed the main line already forming in the general area. If you’re a first-class passenger on any airline, you are herded with everyone else in the main customs line, so VIP Service is truly VIP.
The VIP Lounge is located near Gate 26, after Duty Free, at Terminal B. It was literally two gates away from my Delta flight.
So here’s where VIP Service gets *extra* VIP.
The VIP Lounge is available for any passenger who pays for it ($25 with American Express/$50 everyone else). Also, if you have DragonPass, Lounge Key, Priority Pass and Lounge Club, you can have access. You do not have to do VIP Service to use the lounge. However, the VIP Lounge has a *separate* private VIP lounge within this main VIP Lounge exclusive to VIP Service guests. Standard VIP Lounge guests cannot use this private lounge. Now, that’s privilege.
The VIP Lounge has plenty of seats, a food buffet, a bar and an amazing, outdoor deck with a swimming pool. The pool is more of a plunge pool, and nobody was swimming in it, though plenty of passengers were sitting there with their feet in the pool.
Not a lot of airports in the world have an outdoor pool, so this is already quite unique. (Note: Terminal A, which my friend used to go back home, does not have a pool, but it does have an outdoor deck.).Both of these decks have a smoking section, and there is a dedicated area to light up. There are also showers! YES. You can get to the airport, go swim and shower before your flight.When I arrived, the VIP Lounge was ridiculously crowded. I’ve never seen so many people in a lounge, and there were kids, teenagers, college people, families… so that’s why the private VIP Lounge for VIP Service guests was amazing. It was quiet and there was literally no one inside. It’s all glass walls here, so you can see the runway and watch all the action at the pool.
Both VIP Lounges at Terminal A and Terminal B offer free wifi, an outdoor terrace, showers, soft and hot drinks, local alcoholic beverages, snacks and food (like soup, sandwiches, pasta), washrooms and boarding information screens.
For VIP Service at departure, the cost is $125 per person for up to 2 people, then $100 per person for 3 people or more.
Kids from 2-7 years old cost $15.
If you’re going to do the VIP Service for both your arriving and departing flight, you’ll spend $200. If you hate waiting in lines, want VIP services, fast-track through customs, a very exclusive and private VIP lounge at departure and want to spend more time at your resort (meaning you don’t have to rush to get to the airport since you’ll fly through security) and want to get to your resort faster after a long flight, I’d recommend VIP Service. $200 is reasonable, considering these sort of VIP Service experiences can cost thousands of dollars, like PS at Los Angeles International Airport, which cost at least $3,150 one way (and obviously worth it, as you can see in my review.)
As an incredibly busy airport, Punta Cana International Airport gets about 8 million passengers a year (compared to San Juan International Airport, which receives 8.4 million, and is five times larger), meaning thousands of passengers pass through a day.
Punta Cana International Airport serves 96 cities in 28 countries, and the airport keeps expanding. Terminal B is relatively new. It opened in 2014 and can comfortably accommodate 6,500 travelers daily.
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Click below to see my experience at Punta Cana Airport!