I Flew on a Private Jet With Lie-flat Massaging Seats and Caviar Service — Here's How You Can, Too
Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent has a recently refurbished jet that's heading out on exceptional around-the-world itineraries.
As I ascended the stairs up to the plane, I heard someone call my name. Turning my head, I found a photographer snapping my photo, like I was the president boarding Air Force One. That surreal moment was just the first glimpse of how luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent treats every one of its travelers on its Private Jet Journeys.
Jetting around the globe on a private plane always sounded like something that would be inaccessible without rubbing the right elbows, but Abercrombie & Kent has made this form of transportation the backbone of some of its most exciting itineraries. Whether it’s traversing the globe on safari; doing a deep dive into Africa’s most glorious wonders, like the Giza pyramids; or globe-hopping on its celebrated around-the-world trips, the company turns the air time in between destinations into the highlight of the travel experience.
In one of the most too-good-to-be-true moments of my travel life, I had the chance to fly aboard Abercrombie & Kent’s private jet on this sample trip from Boston to Reykjavik, to experience how every tiny detail was dialed up to an unbelievable degree of thoughtfulness. Experiencing the service on board was the most pampered I’ve ever felt.
“We design these journeys to offer the privilege of discovery, adventure, relaxation, and insight, enjoyed in a context that perfectly suits the experience,” Ann Epting, the company’s senior vice president of product development, told me. "Flying privately, we bypass long customs and security lines, and fly directly from each destination. Peace of mind comes from knowing you are traveling with a first-class organization staffed by professionals for whom the word 'impossible' does not exist."
From my first step onto the company’s chartered Boeing 757-200ER, operated by Icelandair, I realized this wasn’t any ordinary plane. It was more like a luxury resort in the sky. The interior of the plane received an overhaul in 2022 — its first since 2014 — and the entire cabin is made up of 50 first-class seats that lie-down completely with so much leg room that each pair of seats is like a mini-living room.
To double down on that idea, across from the seats are a pair of what have become known in-flight as “buddy seats.” Technically, they’re the foot rests (and do become a part of the six-and-a-half-foot bed when the seat is in its lie-flat position). But they double as extra seats, so that fellow travelers can come by and socialize in your space.
Another standout feature: the seats have massaging functions. I kept the massager on the whole trip, so it was like a sky spa day. Among the other seat amenities are Bose noise-canceling headphones; power and USB outlets; and an iPad loaded with a curated entertainment system. Wi-fi is also available in select stretches, usually while flying over land.
But the true pampering comes from the dedicated service, with a one-crew-to-seven-guests ratio. Before even reaching my seat, I was offered a glass of Dom Perignon Champagne and a plate with a chocolate-covered strawberry and macaron. Waiting for me at my seat was a shiny name tag with my name printed on it, as well as the most incredibly stocked amenity kit I’d ever seen. Inside a Briggs & Riley zippered pouch were thoughtful items for every need, including L’Occitane moisturizing mist, hand cream, and lip balm; Altoids; Clorox wipes and Kleenex; a toothbrush; whitening toothpaste; earplugs; two face masks, and a Wonderfoam eye mask.
Not long after take off, the elegance rose as we were treated to a caviar service. While indulging in the snack, a photographer came around to capture the moment, and I found myself asking a question I never thought I'd ask in my life: “Do I have caviar in my teeth?”
As it turns out, every Private Jet Journey also has a dedicated photographer along for the whole trip, professionally capturing all the little moments and sharing them at any point you’d like. (He Airdropped a selection to me the next day!) What a way to make your Instagram friends jealous.
Before I had a chance to dose off in my massaging chair, it was time for a three-course meal, starting with a Caesar salad, a choice of filet mignon or lobster thermidor for the main course, and — as an ode to our departure city — Boston cream pie tart for dessert. Even coffee was a treat, since there’s an espresso machine on board. I never realized how much I craved freshly made cappuccino during a flight.
Roaming around the aircraft mid-flight truly was more like hanging out with friends at a banquet. Everyone had their own seats, but you could pop in and out to say hello. One of the most recent refurbishments was the bathroom. All the features — even the tortoise shell-like toilet seat — had an extra shiny sheen to them, so much so that one of the attendants said to me, “It’s so beautiful you’ll want to bring your Champagne and sit there."
Ours was a day flight, but for those who do want to catch some serious sleep on longer-haul journeys, the staff will set up the seats, which includes a mattress pad, to give it a truly bed-like feel, topped with a cozy comforter.
When the plane started descending, I groaned internally — the constant surprises and delights had made the trip go by way too fast. We still had plenty of excitement ahead, as our brief stay in Iceland promised unbelievable experiences, including staying in eco-luxury cabins at Torfhus Retreat, a thrilling snowmobiling ride with Southcoast Adventure, and a luxuriously private stay at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon. It’s clear how those who go on the weeks-long Private Jet Journeys can truly sink into the experience and make this exclusive cabin feel like home, 25,000 feet in the air.
“The sense of space and privacy, with welcoming, personalized service that makes the jet become a home away from home,” Epting said. “We want them to feel that they are our guests — on the adventure of a lifetime.”
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