TRAVEL + LEASURE: An Inside Look at the Ultra-luxury Private Jet Planned for Crystal Air Cruises


Forget flying first class. Luxury is about to get even more elevated, thanks to upcoming air and land itineraries from Crystal Cruises.

Starting next year, Crystal AirCruises will begin flying six new all-exclusive global journeys on its own private jet. The ultra-luxe trips will be tailored to each guest’s desires, making it one of the world’s most customizable private jet experiences.

The company’s Boeing 777 will transport 84 passengers in what the company is calling an “exclusive class” cabin, which will be staffed by butlers, concierge, and a Michelin-quality executive chef. There’s even a social lounge with a stand-up bar and an elegant dining room.

Crystal AirCruises

The 777, which typically has seating for more than 300 passengers, “is being transformed befitting the Crystal standard of unparalleled luxury,” said Crystal Cruises CEO Edie Rodriguez. “It’s a standard that has never before, in my humble opinion, been seen in the air travel industry.”

The jet will have spacious, 180-degree flatbed “Exclusive Class” seats, as well as some pretty fabulous entertainment options: 24” screens at each seat, making them the largest in the industry, Bose noise-canceling headphones, plus Apple iPads preloaded with each guest’s personalised itinerary. Wi-Fi, of course, is free, and available worldwide.


Crystal AirCruises

For the inaugural trip, Crystal has partnered with Peninsula Hotels, which will host AirCruise guests at each of its properties on the 10-city itinerary. The trip will depart New York on August 31, 2017, and have stopovers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Bangkok, and Paris. The general managers of four Peninsula properties will be joining the inaugural 27-day trip to serve as personal concierges to guests before they arrive at their destinations. Prices for the inaugural trip start at $159,000 per person.


To custom tailor each guest experience, Crystal also will offer dozens of Peninsula-curated events and options for land excursions in each city, as well as multiple dining locations for every meal at some of the world’s greatest restaurants, many of them Michelin-starred.

For any given stay, there will be 10-15 various activities that guests can choose from, and there are another 4 or 5 options every evening for culinary dining. “That allows us to take 84 guests and bring it down to an individual level,” said Helen Panagos, Crystal’s VP of Tours.

In total, with 91 different options, there will be 333 unique ways that you can design your AirCruise,” Panagos said.


 Crystal AirCruises

For example, while in Beijing, guests on the inaugural flight will have the option to explore the Forbidden City with exclusive access to the Chonghua Palace, which is normally closed to the public. Or they can learn how to make dumplings, take a Master-led Tai Chi lesson at the Temple of Heaven, or have a private dinner on the Great Wall.

“We are working together to create the best experiences for our guests,” said Simon Yip, vice president of sales for Peninsula Hotels.

Similar to the inaugural air cruise, Crystal’s five other planned trips for 2017 and 2018 will also feature hundreds of land excursion and dining options to create a customised luxury trip for individuals or couples.

Starting Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, Crystal AirCruises will begin taking reservations for the following six itineraries: