The World of Luxury Jets
Picture this: the executive team is seated around the conference table in plush leather recliners, watching a presentation on the wall-mounted plasma screen. Champagne orange juice and fresh baked goods are delivered to the table. A few feet away, the CEO emerges from his bedroom refreshed and ready to take on the day. Meanwhile, his kids are down at the other end relaxing on the sofas, quietly occupied with magazines and DVD players. Wonder where you are?
Welcome to the real mile-high club, where only the wealthy can afford the cover charge. Corporations and the super-rich are sparing no expense to make their private jets every bit as luxurious as the homes, hotels, and offices they are accustomed to, and commercial airlines are stepping up to the luxury plate as well, with state-of-the-art offerings for their elite clientele. A steadily increasing number of large business jets are rolling down the world's runways, and inside the aircraft the scene isn't unlike our opening scenario: an in-flight office, equipped with all the amenities for a high-flying executive team.
But it's not limited to corporations. If you're good for it (to the tune of millions), you can buy yourself your own fully customized luxury jumbo aircraft, and turn the meant-for-400-passengers plane into a luxury space for you and a dozen of your fortunate friends. Big, long-haul airliners that are converted to private jets can carry not only pampered passengers and their entourages, but also, in some cases, their Rolls Royces. Most of these customized luxury jets end up in the Arab oil states; sheikhs prefer jumbo jets or their slightly smaller cousins, the Boeing 767 or 777, which offer plenty of cargo space to accommodate stalls for their racehorses.
And increasingly, one doesn't have to be mega-rich to enjoy the pleasures of private flight. Luxury sub-jumbos are now available for charter with PrivatAir, a Geneva, Switzerland-based charter company, who recently added a Boeing 767 to its fleet. Mind you, even rentals can cost up to €30,000 per flight hour. (Just to put it in persepective, The Rolling Stones and Madonna are both PrivatAir customers.)
In short, the super-rich are propelling the custom and luxury jet industry to new heights, and the rest of us can only stand by and drool (or rather, be drooled on by the snoring passenger sitting next to us in the cramped quarters of coach class). Take a gander at some of the existing and upcoming luxury planes gathered here for your viewing pleasure, and find out what you've been missing.