Three quotes keep popping into my mind every time I fly economy or even business:-
* “The most dangerous thing about flying is the risk of starving to death!”
* “I've flown every seat on this airplane, why are the other two always occupied by idiots?”
* “The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee.”
The travails of flying in a commercial airliner don't end with just bad food, odd flight schedules and lack of privacy. But, now the global Indian with deep pockets has the opportunity to experience truly world-class air travel within the luxurious confines of a custom-built business jet.
Making air travel magical in a luxurious way, premium executive jets have struck an instant connect with the crème de le crème of India Inc., who want to fit their travel around their work schedules and not the other way around. And to do it while enjoying the super luxuries and utmost privacy that they are used to while they are on firm ground. Yes, of course, there are other attractions too like enjoying a good night's sleep on a comfy bed and taking an invigorating shower before touchdown!
Many aircraft makers have lined-up exclusive portfolios to woo Indian buyers, joining in is Brazilian aircraft maker, Embraer, which has an impressive line up of mid-sized jets to boast of.
To get a taste of the real McCoy, I step right in to Embraer's long-range luxury business jet, the Lineage 1000, flying out of Jakarta.
The moment I stepped out of the cab at the airport, I was whisked away in what seemed like a matter of minutes to the PremiAir lounge, the resting spot, as the Lineage 1000 is prepared for the flight. I was then ushered to the exit of the lounge, which opened up right in front of the aircraft. The sheer size of it at first sight is awe-inspiring. For a private jet, it does not get better than this! Stripped off all the luxuries and loaded instead with economy style seating, the Lineage 1000 can seat 110 passengers. In its private jet avatar it has a capacity to seat 20 passengers.
Accustomed to entering tight spaces on commercial aircrafts, I found the Lineage 1000's space utilisation a revelation. Right as you enter, there is a generous portion dedicated to a luxurious reception area that also serves as the resting space for crew mid-air. The term leg room takes on a whole different meaning here.
Immediately after the warm reception, we stepped into the conference room of the aircraft. The six-seater space has been built in such a way that it can also be converted into a guest bedroom, if need be. The seats are covered in ultrafine leather and owners can customise the upholstery from a whopping 35 different types of hides.
There's also the option of a spacious dining area. For those who want a quick nap, the seats in the conference room / dining area open up into fully flat beds.
Yes, there's more. Right after the dining area is the main cabin. One can customise it to add a bar and make it a complete entertainment cabin or add a few more seats and table to make it into a little office.
As for me, I liked the default seat configuration. Two large fully reclining leather seats flanking a 40-inch LCD screen, couches lining the sides of the cabin like a living room lounge and a small workstation near the end of the cabin, it had a little bit everything.
The gizmos and the gadgets in the cabin were neatly hidden away in the wooden panels lining the two sides of the aircraft. These include satellite phones, ports for high-speed broadband internet and a DVD player.
In 1947, the famous aviator, Howard Hughes built a flying boat. In 2010, a flying house should not be much to ask for! Taking the Lineage 1000 as close as possible to a ‘feel-at-home' experience, and a step ahead of competition, is the private bedroom. Featuring a queen size bed, a LCD screen, a fully functional wardrobe and even a bathroom with a shower inside it, this Embraer is sure make a mark.
Capable of landing at airports like Aspen and London City (LCY), this executive jet offers a lot of flexibility to its owners. The Lineage 1000 can fly non-stop from India to Switzerland, South Africa and Australia with eight passengers. With a load of 4,250 kg, the aircraft can fly a maximum distance of almost 3,500 nautical miles. For added comfort, the aircraft has a special cabin pressurising system, which ensures that flyers feel as if they are flying at 7,000 feet even at altitudes above 30,000 ft.
Embraer also claims that the Lineage's operating costs are between 12-15 per cent lower than the competition.
So why is the Lineage 1000 a smart buy? Well because, at $49 million, the Lineage offers more than what the competition offers. With customisation being possible for everything from the carpet to the seat configuration to the upholstery, Embraer lets you make the Lineage 1000 uniquely yours.
Of course, that comes at an additional price, but even without the customisations, the luxurious Lineage 1000 is the ultimate way to take to the sky in style.
Keywords: air travel