I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of commercial airline travel. They charge you a fortune for a ticket but still have the nerve to nickel and dime you with baggage fees and other nonsense. Then you get to the airport two hours before your flight so you can spend one and a half hours getting waiting at the security checkpoint, where you have to take off your shoes and belt before they put you through that embarrassing Nudomatic 5000 x-ray machine. And all this just for the privilege of being herded onto an overcrowded plane like cattle and served a tiny bag of pretzels with a “complimentary” 4-ounce soft drink. A soft drink>.
Can you tell I just got back from a trip?
Anyway, it’s no wonder the millionaires and billionaires of the world have their own private planes. If I had their money, I’d get one, too—and not just some dinky Cessna. I’d get one of the awesome rides you’re about to see, because, in my fantasies, it’s go big or go home. So check these sweet private jets out and imagine what it would be like if flying wasn’t the most frustrating and degrading way to travel.
Cost:$25 millionOwner: Gautam SinghaniaIndian billionaire Gautam Singhania was born into an industrial family, and he’s the chairman of Raymond Corp, an Indian fabric and clothing manufacturer and retailer. However, he’s more famous for his love of fast cars, boats, and planes. This one, a Challenger business jet, has an interior designed by world renowned aircraft interior designer Eric Roth. (I don’t remember “aircraft interior designer” being a choice on those interest tests they made us take in high school.)
Cost: $29 million
Owner: Jackie Chan
China is an emerging market for luxury business jets, so Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer S.A. decided they would try to make inroads by giving a customized Legacy 650 to China’s most famous movie star, Jackie Chan, and making him their “brand ambassador.” The jet has gold and red dragons painted on the side, and the tail features a special “Jackie” logo…so you know who’s flying around in it.
Cost: $33 million
Owner: Sergio Mantegazza
Spaniard Sergio Mantegazza is the CEO of Globus, an international tour and travel package company. He’s also one of the 400 or so most wealthy people in the world, so he can definitely afford the Dassault Falcon 900. With 7 passengers, this jet has a range of 4,598 miles at a cruising speed of 590 mph. So it’ll get you where you need to go.
Cost: $35 million
Owner: KP Singh
The first of three Gulfstreams on this list is owned by Indian real estate baron KP Singh. This one was built from 1985 to 2003, has a range of about 4,800 miles, and a top speed of 580 mph. Oh, and two beds, a shower, and a “luxury” living space—though I’d say that pretty much any “living space” that is used at 35,000 feet out to be considered “luxury.”
Cost: $36 million
Owner: Phillip Green
The Gulfstream G550 makes the Gulfstream IV look like a clunker. It won’t get you where you want to go any faster because it has the same top speed and the same cruising speed, more or less. But it can take you a lot farther. Like, 3,000 miles further. (Range: 7,768 miles.) I assume that’s why British billionaire businessman Phillip Green went with this one instead of one of Gulfstream’s older models.
Cost: $45 million
Owner: Bill Gates
This jet seats between 8 and 19 people and has a massive range of 7,080 miles. Also, it just has a cool name—the Global Express.
Cost: $49.25 million
Owner: Jorge Vergara
Embraer took their 190 passenger jet, took out a bunch of seats, added extra fuels tanks, and glitzed up the interior to come up with the Lineage 1000 back in 2006. It seats just 19 people (not many for a commercial airliner-sized jet), but it also has room for a bedroom and bathroom. Plus, those extra fuel tanks give it a range of 5,179 miles. Oh, and Jorge Vergara is a mexican businessman who also happens to own Mexican soccer team Club Deportivo Guadalajara and Chivas USA.
Cost: $50 million
Owner: Anil Ambani, Bill Clinton, Steven Spielberg
The Falcon 7X is Dassault’s “flagship” business jet. It hit the market in 2005 and costs a cool $50 million—so you need to be pretty rich to own this one. Of course, if you can afford it, the Falcon 7X can take you and 13 of your closest friends up to 6,800 miles away. (So, Bill Clinton and 13 Hooters waitresses can go from New York to LA and back again with gas to spare.)
Cost: $65 million
Owner: Warren Buffet, Ralph Lauren, Oprah, David Geffen, Pierre Omidyar
This is the latest offering from Gulfstream—announced in 2008 but still in testing and not yet available to the public. When it is finally released, it will be the fastest and most technologically advanced private jet in the world, with a top speed of 704 mph. Gulfstream is currently taking orders, but demand is so high they’ve capped them at 200, and people are actually selling their place in line for as much as $6 million. At the top of the list, reportedly, are Hollywood mogul David Geffen and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. But apparently Warren Buffet, Ralph Lauren, and Oprah Winfrey are also dying to get their hands on this super fast superjet.
Cost: $73 million
Owner: Mukesh Ambani
When you’re chairman of a Fortune Global 500 conglomerate and worth an estimated $22 billion, you can afford to buy a flying hotel. And the Boeing Business Jet 2 certainly is that, with a thousand square feet, a bedroom, a boardroom, and an executive suite.
Cost: $81 million
Owner: Vijay Mallya
Vijay Mallya is chairman of the UB Group, which is an Indian conglomerate that owns, among other things, Kingfisher Airlines. So you would expect this guy to have a kick-ass private plane. And he does. The Airbus A318 ACJ seats 24 adn can fly from Mumbai to the U.S. with a single refueling stop, which is convenient. However, Mallya spent $40 million customizing the interior of this baby so that it’s basically a luxurious airborne mobile home. Why not, right?
Cost: $100 million
Owner: Donald TrumpIn 2011, Donald Trump purchased a 1968 Boeing 757 from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for a whopping $100 million. Then he made it real classy by painting it, hanging some expensive works of art, adding some crystal lamps, and installing gold-plated seat belt buckles.
Cost: $153 million
Owner: Joseph Lau
I know what you’re thinking: Boeing 747s are private jets. And generally that’s true…unless you’re Hong Kong real estate tycoon Joseph Lau, and you’re worth about $5 billion. Then a Boeing 747—the type of jet that used to carry the space shuttle on its back—can be a private plane. Why would you need a jet that can seat 450 people for a private plane? Just because, I guess.
Cost: $120-$170 million
Owner: Roman Abramovic, Google founders
If you’re the 68th richest person in the world (Roman Abramovic) and you own a world-famous soccer team (Chelsea), then why not get a Boeing 767 that can usually accomodate 180 to 300 passengers? You can use it to transport the team from game to game. However, I don’t know why Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin would need a jet of this size.
Cost: $500 million
Owner: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
The most expensive private jet ever created is scheduled to be delivered this year to Prince Alwaleed bin Tala of—you guessed it—Saudi Arabia. The double-decker behemoth is said to feature a garage for two Rolls-Royces (or, I presume, some other luxury automobiles), a stable for horses and camels (did I mention he’s a Saudi prince?), a pen for hawks, and a prayer room that rotates so as to always face Mecca.