So last night, in one of the major perks of my job, I got to fly home on a corporate jet. While that in an of itself is kinda cool, the best part of it for me was skipping through the security line and hopping directly onto the plane.
With that having been said, there were some interesting differences between "Fancy-pants" Air and your standard, or even high end flight that I wanted to point out.
The model jets for your consideration, by the way, are these two: a falcon 2000 and a gulfstream 450
1. In Flight Wifi/Turn off your electronic devices
So I've only ever been on one or two flights with wifi included. Generally speaking I've found it to be a painful, limited experience. The bandwidth was crap, and the number of things I could do was almost small enough to make the process of connecting not worthwhile. In addition, holy jacked up prices Batman.
So last night on our little jet, I connected to the in flight wifi without much in the way of expectations. I was shocked to find that my connection (once I got above 10k feet) was not only stable, but reasonably quick considering I was in a friggin plane in flight. I was getting over 5MB down. Again, not going to be downloading any torrents or anything, but it was certainly sufficient for browsing, emailing, and facebooking which, lets face it, I was on a friggin private jet: I had to be the douche posting photos of everything in site. Just to impress the bigwigs around me, I was also able to successfully connect to our VPN and pretend to do some work.
Incidentally, I never turned off the music on my ipad. I was listening to it all through pre-takeoff, and all through takeoff. Interferes with the flight equipment my ass.
2. The World's Shortest Safety Orientation
Didn't have to hear about wearing my seatbelt or where the life vests were. Didn't have to look at the safety card. Here's the exit, there's the bathroom, please buckle up for takeoff. One flight attendant only and her entire job was to kiss the rich people's asses (and, by association, mine as well).
3. The Bathroom
I cannot even begin to express what a joy the bathoom on this flight was as compared to commercial flights. Here, take a look at this: a standard airplane toilet/bathroom - notice how you can wash your hands while sitting on the crapper, and how you essentially have to rest your feet on the door while sitting:
Now the space on the bathroom on the fancy jet was still somewhat limited, but they did SO much more with it. Not only was it functional, but they made an effort to make it comfortable as well. Check this out (my personal favorite touch was the flower that was in the cup, which had been hot glued to the counter) - you can see the toilet in the mirror and, while it's a little tough to get a sense of scale, suffice to say I had to stand up to wash my hands.
4. The Food
Alright look, before anyone kicks my butt, I recognize that the company I flew with probably paid a fortune for this plane. I openly admit that most of what I experienced is simply an impossibility on commercial airliners (though the big toilet above would be a big freakin step as it was nice ot see a toilet that real-size asses could fit on)...but food. Holy crapola, the food. So on your average couple hour flight (this one was under 3 hours by a hair) you'd either get your usual bag of dorito-type snacks, or peanuts or, if you're really lucky, some dried out crackers and disgusting pseudo cheese.
I got on board (we had a 3 hour delay, but I couldn't wait, so I spent the delay sitting on the plane) and was greeted by a Heineken, opened and handed to me by our personal flight attendant (thanks Shannon!) - p.s. it was in a bottle. She then brought out some crudite with dressing and a massive fruit and cheese plate. Once that came out, a couple of the actual important people came out to join me - so I just sat quietly in back eating my fruit and fresh veggies, sipping my beer, and contemplating to myself that this was certainly a nice change:
Following the fruit, cheese, and crudite were some freshly made sandwiches...and for dessert? Freshly made chocolate crepe.
Not only was everything delicious, but relatively easy to eat and really did improve the quality of the flight. Commercial airlines: take note - I don't expect chocolate crepe, but you could toss a handful of fresh grapes at me instead of friggin peanuts and I'd be a very happy person!!!
Oh, and for those who have never been on something of this nature, the above is a shot of the falcon 2000 interior, here is the gulfstream:
So what was flying in one REALLY like?
Putting aside all of the awesomeness, good food, in flight wifi, and extreme comfort, at the end of the day what people REALLY want is a comfortable flight. So how does flying on a small plane like these compare to commercial, even Express Jet style flights?
It's impossible to compare the two honestly. These planes are so small and maneuverable that the process almost feels foreign. The plane pulls onto the runway and there is no pause, they simply hit the gas - and you DO feel the speed in a big way. I also had the odd view of sitting facing towards the back of the plane - and odd sensation in itself. Oh, also, when you start to take off, there is no gradual increase in altitude. You go up, and up, and up, in a big, BIG hurry (facing backwards I was able to look out the window, and it felt like we were at around an 80 degree angle - I know it wasn't that steep, but WOW). Likewise taking turns the angle of the plane felt MUCH larger than it ever had on commercial airlines for me.
The ony thing I absolutely HATED about last night's flights was the huge storm cutting across the country that we had to fly through. Let me tell you something: turbulence is not fun in ANY plane. In one of these little guys it's a lot like being picked up by your ankle, swung around, and then flung across the room. I was actually disoriented by the amount of dipping/dropping/bumping we were doing. I know it was perfectly safe - the flight attendant never even bothered to sit down during the turbulence - but as someone not used to it, it seriously felt like the plane was going to be ripped into multiple pieces.
Holy crap was this an amazing experience - one that I highly recommend giving a try if you ever have the means or the opportunity. It's not something that I'd necessarily want to do all the time, or on a longer/crappier weather flight, but getting to feel like a high roller for a couple of hours, and getting all of the rich guy treatment...it was an experience I won't soon forget.