Above: Moai, Easter Island - GETTY IMAGES

Around the World By Private Jet

Moai, Easter Island - Getty Images

This year sees the 150th anniversary of the publication of “Around the World in 80 Days,” the famous adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, which first appeared in 1872. It was a book inspired by the technological advances of the age. Both the first transcontinental railroad and the Suez Canal were completed in 1869, while a year later, the networks of Indian railways linked up, allowing passengers to travel speedily across the subcontinent, all the way from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. Suddenly the world had shrunk, and it seemed entirely possible to circle the globe in less than 12 weeks. And this is precisely what Verne’s hero, Phileas Fogg, achieves with a little help from the international date line, which fortuitously adds an extra day to his trip. Coincidentally, 2022 marks another anniversary, the 500th in this instance: the first circumnavigation of the world by the Magellan expedition, which returned to southwest Spain in September 1522, nearly three years after it had set sail from the Andalusian port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

A journey around the world is one of the most enticing prospects in travel. To gain a vivid sense of our planet’s dimensions while experiencing its astonishing cultural and scenic diversity are privileges enjoyed by only a fortunate few. Nowadays, global travelers can fly by private jet on a journey that typically lasts about three and a half weeks, or opt for a world cruise, an odyssey of between four and five months. The restrictions of COVID seem to have inspired an epidemic of wanderlust, and this year many around-the-world trips are oversubscribed, despite the fact that they often cost, either by sea or by air, in excess of $100,000 per person. However, there is still availability for 2023, and companies are already promoting itineraries for 2024.

TCS World Travel

TCS World Travel's Airbus 321 with 52 flat-bed seats
Seats in TCS World Travel's Airbus 321
Flat bed seat in TCS World Travel's Airbus 321

The market leader for private jet expeditions is Seattle-based TCS World Travel, a well-respected firm that has been a favorite of Andrew Harper members for many years. Founded in 1991, it offers trips ranging in length from seven to 24 days. In 2023, there are 18 scheduled departures, of which five are around-the-world journeys.

Understandably, the first questions asked by prospective travelers are about the plane itself. For a majority of these trips, TCS uses a modified version of an extended-range Boeing 757-200. The aircraft has been configured with just 48 leather-clad seats — the standard commercial version generally accommodates 239 passengers — two on either side of the single aisle. Each offers 6 1/2 feet of personal space when extended into fully flat beds. Passengers benefit from a 7:1 guest-to-staff ratio, and their meals are partially prepared in-flight by an onboard executive chef. Aside from the 757, TCS also employs a long-range Airbus 321 on some of its around-the-world journeys, which contain 52 flat-bed seats and offer a similar level of comfort.

It is perhaps worth restating the advantages of travel by private jet. To follow a similar route using commercial aviation would require numerous time-consuming connections. Private aircraft can fly directly from a major world city to somewhere that is comparatively obscure and remote. And of course scheduling is more flexible — no one is going to be allowed to miss the plane — while immigration, customs and health and security procedures can be greatly simplified.

Above: Moai, Easter Island - GETTY IMAGES