These worldwide trips can be family holiday or business ventures and at the same time enjoy some of the top rated hotels, resorts and best of all opportunity to try some of Michelin Star restaurants or just simple street foods in various parts of the world.
“I believe every human has a finite
number of heartbeats. I don’t intend to
waste any of mine” Neil Armstrong
The beauty of flying private
jets is that there is no limit to destinations as long as there is a suitable
airport. With that said, I had a
pleasure of arranging some of the most interesting flights around the world
with a various types of jet aircrafts.
Some readers have asked what it takes to arrange a worldwide flight and what
to expect from this flight experience.
Well, here we go.
Just the thought of packing suitcases, preparing different type of clothing and attire for the occasion, travel agenda, markdown bucket list of hotels and restaurants, can send adrenaline rushing. And please don’t forget those passports.
“Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be
done.” Amelia Earhart
For the sake of the article, let’s imagine we plan a dream trip around the world and go wherever we desire. Let’s imagine our trip begins from Asia, travel over Middle East, Europe, USA, and back to Asia. To be exact, let’s begin our trip around springtime from Bangkok, Thailand fly to Maldives; continue to Moscow; Paris then to New York City and Los Angeles. That would be half way of the flight and then begin from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Japan, Philippines, Bali, and back to Bangkok. We stay at each city approximately five days for some R&R and submerge in the local food and hospitality. Ahhh, just the thought is bliss.
Prior to the flight there are
lots of preparation starting with filing numerous flight plans and permits,
inflight services (food, entertainment, etc.), hotels for crew and VIPs,
transportation from and to numerous airports, FBO (Fixed Base Operator) for
aircraft parking, maintenance, weather services, and lots of back up
plans. In summary, Plan Plan Plan and
lots more plans. As they say in
aviation, the next important step is the next two steps.
Flight planning for something this scale is intense and must be thought through every step. One must be able to close one eyes, imagine every step from immigration and customs, entering the jet, start up the engines, flight and inflight service, arrive, park, and so forth. It seems to be straight forward and it actually is. It just requires absolute experienced flight team to put it all together. Alright, let’s begin the process. Usually, it all begins with the mandate of where the principal and guests would like to go. Then the flight department or in some cases the pilots begin to make the plans. It would look something like this.
Flight Planning (West Leg):
Bangkok > Maldives > Moscow > Paris > New York > Los Angeles
Flight Planning (East Leg): Los Angeles > Hawaii > Tokyo > Manila > Bali > Bangkok
Sonny on Falcon 8X flight descend passing 11,277 meters or 37,000 feet at speed of 1,050 km/h, outside air temp -58C.
Let’s say in our case, we
will be using a beautiful Gulfstream G500 with a team of two pilots, an
engineer, air stewardess, and also a dispatch person. These five individuals would work closely to
coordinate this flight. In the case of
flight planning, there are many companies that provide these types of service
including Universal Weather & Aviation Services, Rockwell Collins Ascend
Flight Information Solutions, Honeywell GoDirect Flight Support, EuroFPL, and
others. Some of these entities provide
full range of service including fuel, ground handling, inflight catering and so
Sonny Enjoying a shoe off Flight
on Falcon 8X @
FL420 from Bangkok to Shanghai.
Once we have the flight plans
and all the appropriate flight permits (over flight and landing permits for all
flight legs), a flight plan can be filed which the aviation service providers would
gladly do it for us for a fee of course.
Then the important thing is the inflight service. Since this Gulfstream G500 will be our second
home, the inflight catering must be thought through carefully. Depending on the length of the flight and
time of day for departure, inflight catering must be planned out with one meal
per day or up to three meals for all guests and include the flight crew. There
should also be snacks in between with appropriate drinks. The next is the entertainment including
movies, music, magazines, newspapers, board games, etc. Then certainly there are the arrival
operations, which includes the parking, transport to the FBO, fuel, parking, tech
support and so forth.
With that said, let’s begin
our trip. We begin with the crew
arriving at the aircraft approximately two hours before departure time. The routine process begins for the crew with
preparing the flight. Verifying all the
documentations, checking the aircraft, preparing the inflight services and
catering. The principal and guests
should arrive at least 30 minutes before the flight. They then go through immigration and customs
then board the aircraft. The flight
clears by the Air Traffic Control (ATC) for departure with our filed flight
plan, taxi, we launch, gear up, and the adventure awaits us.
Once the plane lands and park,
the crew’s job does not stop there. They
must be with the plane until the aircraft is properly parked and secured, sign
all the necessary documents, post flight checklist, and begin to plan for the
next flight. Once that process is done,
the crew will go through the immigration and customs process according to the
rule of that country. This arrival process
alone requires a well-trained and experienced flight crew in order to avoid any
potential issue. Keep in mind, this is
not an airline, there is no big support team on the ground, just simply two
pilots and an air stewardess and local aircraft services. As for the crew hotel of choice, they tend to
stay at Marriott hotels due to all the international standard rooms,
restaurants, amenities, security, and certainly the Internet connectivity. The crew must be properly rested according to
the aviation regulations before the next flight.
As for the principal and the
guests, the process after landing is somewhat similar to the airline arrival
except much more plush. There usually is
a VIP van available to pick up the guests from the aircraft with red carpet to
escort them to go to FBO for immigration and customs process. Once that process is finished, they can simply
go enjoy their destination and the excitement begins. Certainly the gastronomy adventure can
begin. Here is the latest list of top 20
restaurants for 2019.
There certainly is a good
amount of pressure riding on the crew to make sure that the beginning of the
next flight goes without any hitch. The three-member
crew will need to repeat all the steps over again from planning all the way to
arrival for each leg. It is certainly a
daunting process for many as each flight will begin in a new country, and for
an experienced team, it would be business as usual.