Private Jet Journeys: The Epitome of Luxury
October 2022 | By Nancy Hellmrich, adapted by Ensemble Travel Group | 4 minute read
Few experiences are more exceptional for seasoned travelers than a world tour via private jet. With Abercrombie & Kent, it’s far beyond a unique and luxurious mode of transportation – it’s an intricate weaving of the finest threads that make up the fabric of a truly unforgettable trip. We’ve caught up with Abercrombie & Kent’s Ann Epting, SVP of Private Jet & Special Interest Travel, to learn a little more about what you can expect from a Private Jet Journey.
Q: What exactly goes into the making of an A&K Private Jet Journey?
A lot of planning and forethought – these trips are literally years in the making. There are usually about five or six of us; we review guest ideas, we brainstorm, and we investigate new destinations available. Then it's just a matter of getting in a room with a big world map and saying, “Okay, is this doable?”
Q: What happens when you’re told that something just isn’t possible from a supplier or destination?
A great example we had of being told “no,” was in Cartagena, Colombia. We found this lovely little square and thought, why don’t we have a dinner set up here? They said, “Absolutely not – the government would never allow it.” And yet, with months of negotiating, our persistence paid off and they issued us the permit. It turned out to be a really beautiful evening.
Q: We heard about a landing on Mt. Everest – was that another tough negotiation?
When we told them we wanted to land our guests at 19,000-ft they said, “There’s no way.” No one had ever asked them to do that before. We started a year ahead of time working with the helicopter pilots and the airport to have air traffic control clear some space for us. Finally got them to agree, then we sourced high-altitude helicopters from all over the region. Two weeks before the landing, we sent a team of Sherpas up to the top to build three landing pads. We also brought in photographers and a Buddhist lama who offered a blessing. We rotated the helicopters in and out. All that was done by noon, and our guests had lunch with the Bhutanese Royal Family the very next day. It was a huge success – in fact, A&K founder Geoffrey Kent, who was on the trip, called it a highlight of his life. So, we had to include it on our 2023 Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet.
Q: How do you plan an event with royals or dignitaries?
The people we work with are typically very well connected so we ask them to reach out and see what they can do. In Ethiopia, we’ve even been able to have our guests go to a palace to meet the president. A lot of it is through Geoffrey Kent, who served as Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council for six years.
Q: Can you tell us about any other unique experiences you created?
When we were in Mongolia, we bypassed Ulaanbaatar and went straight out to the Gobi Desert. We brought acrobats and a throat singer in from the city so our guests could experience them, and local villagers recreated the traditional Naadam Festival competitions for us. In Sicily, we thought it would be fun to drive from Taormina to Savoca, but we wanted to do it in true A&K style. So, we brought over 35 vintage Alfa Romeo convertibles so our guests could drive along the coast.
Q: What about accommodations in remote areas?
No matter how remote, we go in and create the luxury experience for them. We paint rooms, bring in furniture, luxury linens, toiletries, espresso machines – you name it, we’ve got it. One couple wanted eight feather pillows, so we brought along eight feather pillows. We do extensive training with the staff as well. We have a high repeat rate and that sort of attention to detail has a lot to do with it.
Q: What are you working on now?
Ladakh, India. That's an area that Mr. Kent has wanted to visit for a very long time. We’re building it into a Private Jet Journey for 2023. We’re also planning a new wildlife trip for the end of 2023 that includes going to Kazakhstan to see the snow leopards.
Main Image Credit: Abercrombie & Kent