Passion Points: Escape
In 2006, Abercrombie & Kent launched an exclusive program of private jet tours, including one around the world. It quickly became so popular that this year the respected travel company introduced several additional itineraries, as well as a brand-new plane, a spacious Boeing 757, which will zip travelers from Mali and Malta to Laos and Tahiti this year.
The 757, leased from Icelandair and jokingly referred to as Iceland 1, has been reconfigured for just 52 passengers (normally, it holds 186) and includes a comfortable lounge area in the back, where meals and cocktails are served on teak tables (there’s a private chef on board) and travelers can browse the multi-media library for destination-specific books and DVDs. An impressive staff accompanies each trip, including knowledgeable tour guides, crew, flight attendants and a so-called luggage manager, who assures that all bags and various purchases made along the way arrive safely (if only regular airlines had such a service!). The plane’s generously sized cradle seats do not fold into flat beds, because passengers never spend nights on board. Rather, A&K carefully maps out itineraries so that layovers in each destinations last at least two or three days, assuring there’s plenty of time for in-depth sightseeing and behind-the-scene touring.
The average length of a private jet trip is 23-25 days, and current itineraries include Nine World Wonders, with stops in Easter Island and Petra, and another focused entirely on Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mauritius, South Africa, Mali and Morocco. During the summer, the 757 returns to Iceland, resuming its role as a commercial plane until the fall when it is once again transformed into a luxe jet and sent towards distant horizons.
TIP: Indagare Connoisseur members get a 5 percent discount on private air trips, as well as priority upgrades (in hotels along the way) and special welcome gifts in each new destination. They also have priority on the wait list for sold-out trips.
A&K’s private jet tours range from $85,000 to $100,000 per person (custom trips are available upon request). Many of the 2008 dates are already sold out; highlights in 2009 include a new itinerary called Empires & Sultans, April 3-26, which visits Malta, India, Laos, Vietnam, Egypt and Turkey.
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