Not Even a Private Shower?! Would You Pay $106K for this flight?

Sid Lipsey
September 1, 2015

There’s a scene in Tropic Thunder when Tom Cruise’s character, studio executive Les Grossman, is trying to bribe a Hollywood agent with the promise of a Gulfstream private jet. “I’m talking… G5,” says Grossman (in a performance that really should have won Cruise an Oscar). “That’s how you can roll! No more frequent flyer b**** miles for my boy!”

I think about that scene, and Tom Cruise, every time I get on a flight. Commercial air travel often leaves me dreaming about better ways to fly and how great it’d be to no longer have to deal with frequent flyer miles (I censor the phrase in my fantasy) and other pedestrian indignities of air travel. A private jet, of course, is the dream; Gulfstream’s $64.5 million jet would do nicely, thank you very much. There’s also Etihad Airways’ three-room residence — complete with private bathroom and bedroom — for $43,000 a flight; sure, I’d give it a whirl, too. Plus, Emirates also unveiled plans for its own private suite for well-heeled passenger; yes, more, please!

I try not to be one of those people who bashes commercial air travel just for the sake of doing so. Still, knowing that such luxurious flying options are out there being enjoyed by the 1 percent, I can’t shake the feeling that as far as flying goes, my miles-saving, economy-seat-sitting self is doing it wrong.

This year, Four Seasons tried to elbow its way onto our fantasy flight lists with its new Four Season private jet — a converted, tricked-out Boeing 757 that whisks guests on month-long, around-the-world journeys from Four Seasons resort to Four Seasons resort. It’s a fantasy vacation but also an expensive one: prices start at $106,000 per-passenger.

Four Seasons already has announced four 2016 journeys (in January, April, September, and November) which will hit locations as diverse as Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, India, Istanbul, Beijing, Dubai, the Seychelles, and the Serengeti.

I recently toured the Four Seasons private jet during its recent stopover in Seattle, just before its latest ’round the world jaunt, to see if it’s worthy of replacing my Gulfstream fantasy. The on-board staff certainly had their opinions.

“You’re not on a Four Seasons flight,” on-board concierge Javier Loureiro told me. “You’re on a ‘Four Seasons Private Jet Experience.’ You can expect to be pampered. You can expect to travel in luxury. You can expect to have an individualized trip that is tailored exactly to your needs.” (So sorry — forgive me for confusing a mere flight with an “experience!”)