Leaning back in my plush leather seat, I gaze out of my large window at the airport runway as a chilled glass of champagne is pressed into my hand…I’ve just boarded the aeroplane after arriving at the airport only half an hour before with absolutely no queues, delays and zero stress. So how is this possible? Well today I’m travelling by private jet, courtesy of PrivateFly, a global booking platform for private jet charter.
Lets go back to the beginning…arriving at Signature Flight Support in Luton Airport, there’s a reception desk with no queue. I simply need to give my flight number and hand over my passport before being led into a luxurious airport lounge where I’m offered coffee and breakfast. My passport is passed back to me in about a minute and I’ve barely even noticed it’s gone; it couldn’t be simpler. I now have about twenty minutes to chat to my fellow passengers in the press trip group; we’re looking forward to a special day as we’ll be flying to Nice just for day for lunch and a day at the beach. Joining us and hosting the day is the charismatic Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly alongside a few key members of his team.
When we’re ready security is as swift as can be – of course there’s still X-Rays and you have to watch your liquids but there’s no queues or stress!
Private Fly had rolled out the red carpet for us, making it feel extra special as we stepped aboard the Citation Latitude, one of Cessna’s newest and more luxurious private jets.
At six-foot high, the cabin is spacious and seats eight people, the plush leather chairs have ergonomic seating with 180 degree swivel capacity and an almost complete recline allowing for a relaxing and luxurious journey.
While the jet usually comes equipped with a cabin crew, today we had Adam and his team who swiftly poured us a glass of champagne to enjoy on take off… as we watched the fields of Luton getting further and away!
I got a good chance to chat to Adam during the flight and learnt that PrivateFly makes private jet charter easy. Customers can search online or call a dedicated team available 24 hours a day to book and gain access to a fleet of over 7,000 aircraft ranging in size.
I made sure to try both of the chair configurations and of course they were super spacious. At 5 foot 3, I don’t need lots of leg room but the space in the cabin would please even the tallest passengers.
After about twenty minutes into the flight, we’re served a light breakfast. This comes courtesy of On Air Dining, a specialist catering company offering fine dining experiences on board private jets. Working with top London restaurants, On Air Dining have meticulous standards to ensure that the food is of the same quality as a restaurant or five-star hotel. My continental breakfast of baguette, fruit, cheese and meats was delicious and a vegetarian option was provided for those that required it but they cater for all other dietary requirements too.
Now if you’re anything like me you’ll be wondering about the onboard loo… now while this was my first time travelling by private jet, I have travelled by small plane before. My flight from Masai Mara to Samburu in Kenya was in a teeny tiny place with no toilet and I can tell you the idea of being in the air for two hours with no loo is actually rather stressful. Of course this is not a problem in the Citation Latitude and not only is there a loo, but it’s a big plush loo too! Our two hours in the air flew by and soon we saw Nice appearing beneath us…
PrivateFly had chosen Nice Cote d’Azur for our destination today as not only is their most popular destination over Summer and very easy flight but it is frequently voted as one of the most beautiful airport landings in the world.
After a swift photo opportunity with Adam, we simply breezed through the private jet area at Nice airport and were soon in our cars for lunch. Nice is also a great option for a day trip as the town is so close to the airport meaning minimal time stuck in a car and maximum time by the pool.
To continue the high-flying theme our lunch was booked at La Terrasse on the rooftop of Le Méridien Nice, one of the highest restaurants on La Promenade des Anglais with views of the Bay of Angels.
If you’re familiar with the great British summertime you’ll know it can often be a little dreary so the idea of being in the sun in the South of France in a matter of a few hours is a very appealing one and something that PrivateFly are seeing more and more. I asked what was the quickest turn around time they’d ever experienced and I was told that they’d had people in the air within half an hour of enquiring. 10% of flights are actually booked the same day and 19% for the next day!
The food at La Terrasse is a delicious taste of the Mediterranean and though our four course menu was chosen for us, it honestly could have been for me. A pineapple cannelloni filled with shredded crab meat whetted our appetite for our starter of yellow tail sashimi with vegetables.
With a main course of sea bass (my absolute favourite) and a trio of mille-feuille for dessert paired with copious rosé, I was honestly in holiday heaven. With minimal waiting time at the airport and a short flight home, there was still a whole afternoon ahead of us and plenty of time to enjoy the pool and the beach at the hotel. But all good things must come to an end and soon our flying visit was over, but unlike the end of a holiday when a flight home can be a downer, we were excited to have the flight to look forward to.
Our chariot awaited as we swiftly passed through Nice airport and on to our plane… with music, drinks and sandwich platters from On Air Dining to fuel us, once again the flight was as comfortable, fun and relaxing as can be.
Touching down in Luton and heading back through the airport, I couldn’t believe it was only that morning that I was there. The whole day passed like a wonderful dream! In an hour I was back at home in my own bed … just as if I’d never been away but with a memory I would cherish forever! A big thank you to the team at PrivateFly!
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I was a very, very lucky guest of Private Fly for this press trip.