Abercrombie & Kent’s product development team had worked since February to create a new South America by Private Jet program, and then Geoffrey Kent, the founder of A&K returned from a trip to Cuba last month and he was so charged with his experience that he insisted Cuba be added to the private jet tour.
The result is a 23-day jet-set whirl through South America beginning with a trip to Havana from Miami, exploring South America and concluding with a final farewell bash in Rio de Janeiro. The tour will take place Sept. 6-28, 2016.
Cuba and South America by Private Jet with Special Guest Geoffrey Kent is the latest in a long series of A&K private jet trips, which could be considered among the most over-the-top luxury adventure trips that can be purchased.
The itinerary includes visits to Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Buenos Aires, Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia, Iguazu Falls and the Pantanal, to give people a real experience of wildlife in the jungle.
Activities and experiences on the trip will include a private performance and chance to talk personally with the Buena Vista Social Club in Havana, dinner at the Convent of San Francisco in Peru, visiting a private estancia and meeting the gauchos, going behind the scenes at the Colón Opera House on Buenos Aires, taking a samba lesson in Rio and observing wildlife in the rainforest of Pantanal.
The tour was designed by Geoffrey Kent with the idea of including many opportunities for enrichment through encounters with local people along the way. The tour will visit six countries, not only to see the sights, but “to learn from people with intimate, lifelong knowledge of the area and leave with a new understanding of how life is lived in another part of the world,” according to the company.
“This immersive experience appeals to people who were focused on building their professional careers and feel they have not had time to adequately explore the wonders of a continent so close to our own,” said Kent. “The draw of South America has lured me back dozens of times and I look forward to our guests discovering those same wonders.”
Kent will lead the tour, as he has many other of A&K’s private jet tours.
A&K is using a chartered Icelandair Boeing 757-200ER with 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats for its private jet trips. Each aircraft is equipped with a personal massage system, four-way adjustable headrests, lumbar support and lie-flat bed seats more than six and a half feet long when folded out.
The passenger area of the aircraft has an open bar, an on-board chef and a crew that travels with the group for the duration of the trip.
A&K has been a leader in innovative private jet trips for decades and one of the few tour operators to ever offer them. The basic formula was to reconfigure the airplane’s interior, ripping out all the economy seats and replacing them with first class seats, reducing the carrying capacity from hundreds to 50, each traveling in spacious first class luxury.
The private jets allow passengers to bypass most of the airport hassles, including customs and security procedures, which are taken care of in a much more civilized, private way. Private jets are able to bypass standard airline routes and head straight from one connecting point to another. In 2014 A&K introduced the flatbed seats to the private jet formula.
A&K introduced its first private jet tour in 1989, the Royal Air Tour. The company offered private tours on the Concord for a while before the plane was taken out of service.
A&K is one of few tour operators to have offered private jet trips. A product for a rarefied high-end market, the private jet product is in demand from the top tier of high-end traveler because of the ease with which a private jet can access a diverse set of destinations on an itinerary in a relatively short time and with a high level of comfort. It’s also attractive to travel agents because of the high commissions, usually around $10,000.
David Cogswell, Travel Pulse
June 10, 2015