On a recent private jet tour that crossed the planet, a group of ultra-wealthy individuals gathered at 8:30 a.m. at Kokedera, known as the “moss temple” and one of the sites of the Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On that sunny day, they had traveled from the Aman Hotel in Kyoto, following a deer whisperer, who raised his trumpet in the middle of the field, took a deep breath, and let out a sound through the special horn. Suddenly, hundreds of deer sprung out of a forest, surrounding the group of travelers. It was breakfast time. The group fed the deer special crackers, straight from their hands.
It was not just any type of trip, but a specialized trip organized by Remote Lands, which has an exclusive partnership with Aman Hotels. It’s a growing trend, with high-end tour operators partnering with ultra-luxury hotels and offering private jet travel for truly unique expeditions.
Luxury travelers can now travel the world on charter flights with high-end hotels, which offer joint visits to their properties. Companies like TCS World Travel offer private jet world tours for up to 52 passengers, while Four Seasons begins tours with their private jet in 2024. On average, these companies charge between around $19,000 and $140,000 per trip.
“The popularity of these trips is being driven by the pandemic – the ultra-rich only want to travel by private jet and stay in the best destinations,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, which studies the luxury industry.
“You are totally spoiled, it’s a private jet trip that goes to any island, any time,” he adds. “You are staying in the best suites in this destination. It’s so exclusive and has such a variety.
The deer whisperer gathering was organized by Remote Lands, Aman’s partner since 2013. One of, if not the first, supplier to partner with a luxury hotel for a global expedition, its travels have focused on Asia but are now expanding. to the Americas and the Caribbean.
An upcoming trip from the United States to the Caribbean in February is limited to 14 guests and costs US$225,776 for a pair (US$112,888 each), or US$152,776 for individuals. The group travels in an Airbus 319, which seats 150 people, but has been upgraded to accommodate 19 with sofas, lounge chairs, coffee tables, a bedroom and an in-flight shower.
“It’s a living room atmosphere, everyone facing each other, a party in the sky,” says Catherine Heald, CEO and co-founder of Remote Lands. “That’s how billionaires travel, they don’t look at a seat back, they have a jet. Lots of people travel on their own smaller private jet anyway.
Upon landing at an airport, eight Mercedes Benz cars lined up ready to take guests away. “You jump in your own private car and do your own thing,” Heald says. “We are together at dinner parties, but you can do your own thing. You are not thrown on a bus forced to do what other people want to do. It’s private, not a group trip, other than the jet.”
Heald’s clientele ranges from CEOs to tech entrepreneurs, Hollywood celebrities to finance moguls. “They are great people who are successful, a lot of them have stressful jobs, but what they love is that they don’t have to think about anything, they just have to show up for the jet on time, otherwise, everything is done for them.”
Hotels seek to reach a wider customer network and private jet expeditions tend to target their ideal audience. The Four Seasons has a series of trips coming in 2024 for its first “Four Seasons Private Jet Experience”. A trip is called “African Wonders”, traveling through the Egyptian pyramids, Mauritius, Rwanda, and more, during the period after Christmas until New Years. “Asia Unveiled” is a 16-day trip across Bali, Tokyo, the Maldives and Vietnam, among others. Trips cost $135,000 per person, based on double occupancy.
For the ultra-rich, these all-in-one trips are an opportunity to connect with their contemporaries. “On these types of trips, you spend a lot of time with people from your tribe,” says Pedraza. “Everyone has been in isolation for two years – it’s delicious and they’re willing to pay for it.”
TCS World Travel is a company that has been organizing luxury travel for over 30 years and works with the Four Seasons as one of its hotel partners. TCS offers a variety of trips with special regions and themes, such as a “Golf Around the World” trip from January 27 to February 17, 2023, through Oceania, Asia and North Africa costs $147,000 US per person. His “Less Traveled World” trip goes from London to UNESCO World Heritage sites in Dakar, Senegal, El Salvador, Brazil and Tunis, Tunisia, and costs US$105,000 per person, a trip of 52 guests .
His most popular trips are those centered on UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s a trip around the world, starting in Florida and visiting the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Easter Island. Guests also stop at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and one of the world’s greatest wildlife destinations in Tanzania’s Serengeti.
“People love this trip because they fly directly between remote and hard-to-reach destinations,” says Jennifer Lew, director of product development at TCS World Travel, which runs several trips a year, but most are just on waiting list (TCS is reservation for 2023 and 2024). “This is the ultimate excursion. Plus, there’s something so adventurous about circumnavigating the globe in one trip.”
“Even the richest people know they can’t escape the clock of time, for generally older people they know life is short,” says Pedraza. “It doesn’t necessarily inspire fear, but a desire to live your life now.”