During Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, Crystal Cruises officially revealed its Crystal Luxury Air brand’s Bombardier Global Express XRS jet, set to begin charters next month in April 2016, and my father and assistant, Mark Leppert, was on site to capture photos and additional details while I covered another concurrent event. The unveiling occurred when the company also announced its latest Crystal Endeavor megayacht new-build.
Accommodating 12 guests, down from the originally announced 13, the aircraft will mark the start of Crystal’s foray into air service, supporting the company’s other travel itineraries with private flights. The cost averages out to $8,000 per hour, what Crystal president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez, considers a value when shared among 6 couples compared to first class on Emirates.
“Crystal Luxury Air will open tremendous possibilities for luxury travelers seeking the next level of ease and exclusivity during their journeys,” said Rodriguez. “And in the spirit of all things Crystal, and ensuring we offer customization to our guests, Crystal Luxury Air allows our travel agent partners and guests the ability to truly customize their vacation experiences to privately fly to combine our cruise, yacht, river, residence, and air experiences.”
The jet has been refitted with three separate cabins dedicated to business activities, relaxation and sleep. The forward cabin features four executive wide club seats with foldout tables. The mid cabin is outfitted with seating for five and a workstation and cabinet. And the aft cabin houses a three-person divan that is capable of being converted into a large bed. Other amenities include a forward galley with a cold air chiller, high temperature oven, microwave and Aerolux Nespresso machine.
Rounding out the luxuries are electronic video equipment, XM Radio, surround sound, a 31.5” LCD television, a high-speed internet connection and in-flight phone service. The jet’s maximum flight time will be just under 12 hours for a wide variety of international travel. Crystal charters will be operated by Corporate Flight Management DBA Crystal Luxury Air.
Charter flights aboard the Bombardier jet launch on April 3, 2016, followed by a Boeing 777 in 2017 and 787 Dreamliner in 2018. Also on the future docket is a 30-seat Airbus ACJ319 jet, which once served Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France, set to join in summer 2016.
Remarkably, Rodriguez admits that the recent expansion announcements for Crystal Luxury Air, Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Exclusive Class Ocean Cruises only account for 50 percent of what is set to come from the Crystal portfolio of luxury travel.