During this holiday time of year many of us are making travel plans to see our family, friends, and loved ones - although not necessarily in that order. I'm hoping and praying, of course, that my nutty employer will be making travel plans as well.
It's no big secret that the rich travel differently from the rest of us, is it? If they don't have their own jets and are forced to fly on commercial airlines, you can bet you won't see them sitting back there in coach along with the rest of us, with their legs going numb from crowded seats and crying babies all around.
Instead, they'll be up there in first class with plenty of space, peace and quiet, and seats that recline all the way into beds for overnight flights. Some airlines even have private cubicles for the rich and famous, and of course their crying babies are left at home with their nannies.
You won't see them in the airports either, huddled in the crowded waiting rooms at each gate. They have their own luxurious first-class lounges complete with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and when all the riffraff have boarded the plane they're escorted to their first class seats just moments before the plane takes off. Nice, right? Champagne and lobster will be on their dinner trays, complete with linen napkins and silverware, as opposed to plastic knives and forks back there in coach.
But now there's something quite extraordinary I want to tell you about - a whole new way for the super rich to travel. It seems that Etihad Airways from United Arab Emirates is installing private rooms on their Airbus A380 Superjumbos for the discerning traveler. Designed for only two people, it's called "The Residence" and consists of a private three-room suite.
The living room has a big flat-screen TV, a chilled-drink bar, luxurious leather furnishings and a dining table; the separate bedroom has a double bed with fine Egyptian cotton sheets; and the bathroom not only has a shower but also high-dollar toiletries and bathrobes like you might expect in any five-star hotel.
But it doesn't stop there. There's also an on-board gourmet chef available to them and a personal assistant from the Savoy Butler Academy to see after their needs - including their fancy dinner with vintage wine, hotel reservations, and a limousine to get them there.
At currents prices this private suite will cost between $43,000 to $48,000 round-trip to get you from here to there. Which is only about $24,000 per person after all, and considerably less than having your own private jet and pilot. In any case, no doubt you'll wake up refreshed with a nice shower before the plane lands.
Here's a link to "The Residence". See for yourself.
Thanks for dropping in tonight, and happy holiday travels,
I'm with you, is this for real? I can think of a lot more ways to spend $48,000 than just an overnight airplane flight! There's nothing wrong with riding in coach that ear plugs and a few drinks won't cure. MillieReplyDelete
And I'm with you, Millie. I'd certainly rather spend $48,000 on the ground than up in the air! Ear plugs and a few drinks works every time. (If you forget your earplugs, you can just leave the movie headphones in all night.)Delete
IDK guys, once you've been groped by TSA agents and then engage in an armrest war one too many times, I'm thinking why not. After the umpteenth time your luggage gets lost or you're sardine-packed so tight you think you're going to experience permanent paralysis, absolutely, there have been times I've thought to myself I'd pay any amount of money never to experience that ordeal again.ReplyDelete
So yes, the angel on my shoulder might be screaming that that's too much to spend for a single flight, but then I remember how that TSA agent shoved her hand down my cleavage and the angel goes mute.
LOL! I know exactly what you mean, Stacy. There's few things more miserable in this world than flying on commercial airlines. Although I've never flown first class, rich people still have to go through TSA screening at some point, although they might have their own private screenings somewhere before going to their first-class lounges. What do I know? I guess the only way to escape TSA is to have your own private jet.Delete
True, I know that I've gone to second base with TSA while traveling first class, but that was regular first class i.e. first class on a regular American airplane on a domestic trip. But I also know that included in the price of a stay at some of those uber luxury accommodations in Dubai is not having to go through customs. You get off a plane, get put on a helicopter and are choppered directly to your hotel suite using your own helicopter pad, of course. The immigration official meets you in your hotel room. You get to bypass all the lines and aggravation of regular travelers.ReplyDelete
If an airline is going to charge me $48,000 for a trip, they better have some special security screening process for me too. Otherwise I'll take my chances with the screaming babies and the multiple sneezers back in coach. Between Sharper Image headphones, a flu shot, antibiotic wipes and an undefeated record in the armrest wars, I'll make do. For $48k I want a private room in soothing colors with Zen music and a Brad Pitt lookalike to 'screen' me.
Coach in luxury airliners like Singapore Airlines is still better than first class on American airliners, so I have to believe that first class on Etihad will have special screening to make 48 grand worth it and to set them apart from other luxury liners.
Ha, I've had more than a few arm rest wars myself, but not quite so successful as you. By coincidence, the next scheduled post is a follow-up to this one, about airlines stepping up their first class cabins to accommodate the ever increasing demands of the rich. It might be completed and ready for publication as soon as tomorrow evening, or Sunday at the latest.Delete
Awesome, I see my Singapore Airlines made the list. But Emirates Airlines should also be included as an honorable mention. They don't really have suites, just uber luxurious compartments.Delete
The Middle Eastern and Asian based airliners really seem to know pamper their clients. The American airliners are a distant distant third. We're like cattle to them. Even in first class.
On a side note, I was having a conversation with my boss this week and I told her about how I'd seen a used 2013 Birkin bag for sale for $48,000. Her response is that no one with a conscience should ever pay that much for a bag. Then I remembered your post and realized it was the same price as the flight. Even though I agreed with my boss that no one NEEDS a handbag that costs as much as a luxury vehicle, the truth is, no one NEEDS a luxury vehicle either. Technically, most of us only need reliable transportation to take us from point A to point B, but if we can spend $50k on a mode of transportation that a $15k car can do just as well, perhaps a $50k plane ride is ok too, as long as one can really afford it and is not maxing out credit cards for the privilege. Compared to the cost of a fully staffed private jet, I imagine it might be considered frugal among the billionaire set. LOL. There's simply no way to justify a $50,000 handbag except to say...it's really really really GORGEOUS...and it'll last a lot longer and get more miles than that flight :-)
LOL! This topic deserves a dedicated post, which I'm scheduling for December, along with a couple of other follow-up essays to this one about Ethiad Airways. It's stirred a lot of interest. Meanwhile, grab that purse while it's still a bargain! AndrewDelete