Photo: © FOUR SEASONS PRIVATE JET EXPERIENCE
TRAVELING BY PRIVATE JET was once a luxury only afforded to royals, presidents and, sure, the occasional musician or two. Today, private jet travel reaches new heights, and thankfully the journey is not as much about luxury as it is about expressing a travel preference. Flying privately becomes more accessible by the minute, with new operators offering options like renting the plane by the hour (a deal that can sometimes rival the cost of a first-class seat on a commercial flight) and even private tours.
Private jet tours allow passengers to maintain flexible schedules while traveling around the world with the ultimate in comfort and conveniences. Heidi Lakani started offering private jet tours in 2003 when she opened her company, Lakani World Tours. The company operates custom and pre-designed journeys in more than 85 countries around the world, with private jet tours including Europe & Ancient Cities by VIP Private Jet ($94,850 per person), African Explorations by Private Jet ($94,500 per person) and the ultimate 2019 World Tour by Private Jet ($134,900 per person for 17 all-inclusive days). Many of the trips max out at 15–18 guests, with each seat a window seat for comprehensive sightseeing opportunities throughout the tour. Guests fly directly between destinations, avoiding airport lines by utilizing private terminals that allow passengers to breeze through customs and immigration and head straight to the luxurious accommodations included in the trip.
Aside from the luxurious amenities on board, Australia-based company Captain’s Choice became known for the bespoke offerings it provides its passengers while on the ground. From meals with Michelin-starred chefs in the crowning place of kings and queens to private performances by a philharmonic orchestra, no experience is too farfetched. The company’s Ultimate African Safari by Private Jet takes passengers on a journey through Cairo, Luxor, Lalibela, Serengeti, Rwanda (to see the gorillas), Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, Rovos Rail and Cape Town in 20 days, with all meals, accommodations, flights and excursions included. In 2020 Captain’s Choice’s Boeing 757 will feature a spacious set-up with 50 all-business-class seats featuring handmade Italian leather and capable of reclining a full 180 degrees into a lie-flat bed.
Other luxury tour operators began offering private jet tours; Abercrombie & Kent, &Beyond and Four Seasons all put together multicountry group tours for guests. For the ultimate in exclusive travel, Presidential Private Jet Vacations customizes trips exclusively for private groups of 12–30 guests, featuring world-class accommodation options (such as Burj al Arab in Dubai) and super-rare experiences.