|The Black Pearl, a 52-seat 757|
Cabin crew: A personal flight attendant for every 8-10 passengers.
Meal service: Duck, wild salmon and Alaska King crab prepared by a private chef.
House champagne: Vintage Dom Pérignon
At $130,000 per ticket, let's just say no one's paying to check a bag.
The luxury hotel chain debuted the newly-refurbished jet in March to transport passengers on 19 to 24-day round-the-world tours sprinkled with stays in Four Seasons hotels along the way.
In Seattle recently before whisking passengers off to Japan, China, the Maldives, Tanzania, Turkey, Russia and Morocco, the black jet dwarfed other private aircraft parked on the tarmac at Boeing Field on a rainy weekday afternoon.
Inside the cabin, a uniformed crew of Britain-based flight attendants studied photos so they could great passengers by name while showing them to flat-bed seats crafted from Italian leather. Sleep wouldn't really be a concern, however, because the jet flies only during daytime hours, stopping in each city for three-night hotel stays and sightseeing.
|Lay-flat seats, cashmere blankets|
One of a series of trips called Four Seasons Journeys, the tour started in Seattle because the first destination was Tokyo, an easy non-stop from the West Coast. Passengers came from all over the world, said Javier Loureiro, head concierge. Fourteen of the 52 onboard were repeat customers.
Besides unlimited champagne, cashmere blankets, complementary Bose headphones and Bulgari toiletries, the fare includes activities such as a private dinner on the Great Wall of China, an after-hours tour of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and a safari in the Serengeti. Loureiro often accommodates special requests such the time a group wanted to sample Durian, an Asian fruit banned in most hotels and public transportation because of its smell. He shopped for the fruit, then drove his guests into the rice fields in Bali for a picnic.
A chef prepares gourmet meals ahead of time, then assembles them on board. While much of the 757's cargo space is devoted to carrying food, wine and champagne, the galley space inside the cabin is about the same as it is on a commercial airline. "You can't have an oven on a jet,'' Loureiro said, no matter how much you're willing to spend. Designers did carve out space for an espresso machine.
The Four Seasons plans four different world tours next year, starting in January with a trip including stops in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Bora Bora, Sydney, Bali, Thailand, India and London. The price is $132,000, double occupancy, $11,000 more for single supplement. If this fits your budget, better hurry. Itineraries are selling out.