LUX­URY IN THE SKIES

What’s it like to spend three weeks fly­ing around the world on a pri­vate jet? Laura Be­g­ley Bloom checks out the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Jet Ex­pe­ri­ence and makes some amaz­ing dis­cov­er­ies.

Signature Travel & Lifestyle - - Destination Private Jet -

In a few min­utes, look out the left side of the plane,” the pi­lot ad­vises over the in­ter­com. “We’re go­ing to be fly­ing over Mount Kil­i­man­jaro.” I put down my glass of cham­pagne and grab my cam­era. The jet takes a turn and starts cir­cling the snow-dusted sum­mit. I can al­most peer into the crater.

It’s prob­a­bly the clos­est I will ever come to climb­ing this epic moun­tain – and it’s just one ex­am­ple of the many sin­gu­lar ex­pe­ri­ences I have while spend­ing three weeks on the Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Jet.

Launched in 2015, this ex­pe­ri­ence has been cre­at­ing quite a buzz in the travel world, thanks to its around-the-world itineraries with all stays at Four Sea­sons prop­er­ties and over-the-top trap­pings: a Boe­ing 757 out­fit­ted with just 52 white Ital­ian leather flatbed seats, Bul­gari ameni­ties, and a fully loaded iPad that you get to keep at the end of the jour­ney.

The 19-day Cul­tural Es­capes trip that I’m tak­ing starts and ends in Lon­don, with stops in Moscow, Dubai, the Seychelles, the Serengeti and Florence. Four of my fel­low pas­sen­gers are on their sec­ond Four Sea­sons Pri­vate Jet trip in less than a year. The rea­son? For the ac­cess you get to money-can’tbuy ex­pe­ri­ences. Like hav­ing a prima ballerina per­form at a pri­vate gala din­ner in Moscow. Or driv­ing For­mula One race cars in Dubai. Or float­ing over the Serengeti in a hot air bal­loon and watch­ing ze­bras and gi­raffe from above. First stop: Lon­don The pinch-my­self ser­vice be­gins as soon as I ar­rive at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Lon­don at Park Lane and dis­cover that the free ‘house car’ is a chauf­feured Rolls-Royce. I ask the driver to take me to Bond Street, where I splurge on a Burberry coat and a few other wardrobe flour­ishes. (I ad­mit – see­ing a woman swan­ning through the lobby in headto-toe white cash­mere makes me worry that I haven’t packed the right clothes.)

Imag­ine my sur­prise (and re­lief!) at the cham­pagne wel­come toast that night, when I dis­cover that the cash­mere-clad lady isn’t part of the jet trip. In­stead, the other pas­sen­gers are un­pre­ten­tious, in­ter­est­ing and en­gaged – and they’re ex­cited to spend the next three weeks ex­plor­ing the world to­gether.

Ready for take-off The sleek pri­vate jet ter­mi­nal at Lon­don’s Stansted air­port couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent from a typ­i­cal de­par­ture scene. For one thing, there’s no line. The Jour­ney Staff has done the ad­vance work with cus­toms, bag check and more. A red car­pet leads to the sexy black Boe­ing 757, where the crew is wait­ing to whisk me to my seat.

I’ve seen pho­tos of the jet, but it’s even more im­pres­sive in per­son. Each of the seats is topped with a thick or­ange cash­mere throw. Ev­ery pas­sen­ger is given a stylish grey duf­fel filled with treats that are yours to keep, even the Bose noise-can­celling head­phones.

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