Flying does not get much better this as VistaJet gets the details right on a Global 6000 from London Farnborough to Nice.
Getting to the airport
We’re picked up from outside our office by the driver VistaJet has sent for us, and he arrives exactly on time. The car, a black BMW 7 series is immaculate inside and out and includes a small range of up-to-date magazines. The driver, professional and courteous, greets us, takes our bags, opens our doors, then remains discreetly silent for the rest of the journey.
Farnborough Airport is operated by TAG, so naturally they are the only FBO at the airport. As the airport is solely for business usage, there is a security check to enter the complex, but we are quickly waved through after giving our details.
The terminal itself is, as always, beautiful: bright and airy with a great view of the aircraft parked outside. Less than 100 steps from the car, we’re in the lounge with a welcome coffee in hand.
Although the lounge isn’t large, it’s open plan, which helps to add to the feeling of space. There’s free wifi, and a coffee machine – not that you’ll need to make your own drinks. Seating is comfortable and ample, as is the selection of current issue magazines.
Parked directly outside the window is our ride for the day: the Bombardier Global 6000 9H-VJJ which was delivered less than a month ago.
The captain comes out to introduce himself and talk us through the flight and the route we will take today, then we’re ready to go.
But before boarding, we have another security check. It could not be smoother. Friendly security staff help lift our bags up to be x-rayed, and wish us a great flight.
Another 78 steps and we’re looking up at the Global, waiting to board. Our hostess for the flight, Ines Meherzi, greets us with a smile.
But first a tour of the outside of the aircraft by the proud captain, who wants to show off a bit. “Do you want to see something cool?” he asks, grinning. And then he is gone, off up into the cockpit to drop the flaps for our appreciation. Joining us again, he explains the appropriate slats and flaps settings needed for landing.
The aircraft cabin is more luxurious than in most charter aircraft.
Nina Flohr, creative art director for the company, has designed a cabin concept that works across every aircraft type in the VistaJet fleet so, visually, the look is similar to, for example, the smaller Challenger 350.
But Flohr has done more. She has also developed a range of scents for the fleet. Today, the scent is Santal 26, crafted for VistaJet by Le Labo. They describe it as ‘aristocratic’ and it is subtle, with the smoky ambience of leather and comfort.
The cabin for today’s flight is split into three sections. The first, with the galley, includes an area where our hostess Ines can sit and rest on long flights. This area can also be closed off for privacy.
The next zone is where we spend all of our time. It’s not only the largest zone, but there’s a table set up ready for us. The theme is soft, creamy leather and there are two seats on either side of the table, with five other seats, accommodating up to nine people. So there’s quite a choice. You can sit and eat or meet. Or you can relax or snooze in one of the reclining seats, watch a movie, do some work.
The cabin is also well equipped with technology. LCD screens showing our route, pop-up seat controls – and Ines keeps a drawer full of adapters and chargers, a real lifesaver if you have forgotten something. There’s wifi and also a variety of films and television programmes to be had on VistaJet’s on-board entertainment system.
The third cabin zone is separate from the others if you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, and it includes direct access to the lavatory and coat wardrobes. It also provides comfortable sleeping space: two seats turn into single beds and a large divan converts into a double bed for longer flights.
Today we have a crew of three, Captain: Michael van der Voort, First Officer: Miles Davey and Cabin Crew: Ines Meherzi.
Ines, a Barcelona native, is happy to chat and tell us stories whenever we ask, but she is also quiet and polite when we don’t. She joined VistaJet from Etihad Airways, where she worked in the first class cabins of long-haul flights.
After the captain’s introductions, we don’t see him or the first officer again. If there’s information to relay to us it comes via Ines.
Just to give you an idea of how good the service is, here’s an example of how Ines went beyond the call of duty for us. As we get close to landing, she comes out to let us know, apologising for the fact that there won’t be time to serve us our dessert before touchdown. It’s our fault really. We spent most of the flight eating our main course and chatting while the flight literally whizzed by.
She has a suggestion though: she’ll pack away our dinner service, and when we land we can stay on-board the aircraft and she’ll serve us dessert and more wine. But what about her schedule? we ask. We know that she was due to board a commercial flight home to Barcelona in just a few hours. No problem, says Ines. She’ll just catch the next flight. And because she makes it so clear that her first priority is to make sure that we have the best possible experience, we agree. Nothing is too much trouble for Ines.
Food and drinks
Now for the food. The day before the flight, we were contacted by VistaJet to talk through our food options. We are spoiled for choice. They send us a menu to consider: it takes us quite a while to decide which of the delicious-sounding options to try.
The first thing to arrive is a couple of platters. My colleague starts with the VistaJet Signature Caviar, an Oscietra Sturgeon caviar, served with blinis, sour cream, chives and chopped onions. She also tucks into the beautifully laid out Sashimi selection. We had wanted to try the Nobu, but this couldn’t be arranged for such an early flight. I select a generous fruit platter.
Then on to the starters. I go for the roasted vegetable couscous, which has a delicate citrus flavour. It is possibly the largest starter I’ve ever had so, with more to follow, I’m careful not to eat too much. My colleague goes for goat’s cheese and roasted fig salad and really enjoys it.
For my main I had chosen the green Thai chicken curry, medium spiced with jasmine rice. Being a fan of hot food, I would have liked it a bit spicier, but I’m sure if I’d asked when I ordered, I could have had it as hot as I liked. Miso Marinated Black Cod fillet was my colleague’s choice, served with rice and Green Asian vegetables.
With the meal we have the elegant, slightly floral R de Ruinart Brut, from the first ever champagne house founded in Reims in 1729. Our dessert wine is Cerretto Blange Arneis, a delicious Italian wine, ‘medium straw’ in colour, with aromas of pears, apple blossom, beeswax, and almonds.
It’s the perfect accompaniment to my chocolate and vanilla millefeuille, a wonderfully indulgent dessert that, whilst being more than adequately sized, still leaves me wanting a little bit more. My colleague chose the baked blueberry cheesecake and is happy with her choice.
|Sashimi Selection||VistaJet Signature Caviar||Roasted Vegetable Couscous|
The journey ends all too soon and, after we’ve had our dessert, we say goodbye to the crew and are taken directly to the Landmark FBO where we’re helped with passport formalities. Neither of us has any luggage, so we’re quickly inside the Landmark lounge, more drinks in hand. It takes just five minutes between leaving the aircraft to taking our seats in the lounge, so no delays in getting to Monaco for our next meeting.
From the moment our flight was confirmed, VistaJet could not have been more helpful, friendly and professional. It’s all in the detail as they say, and the care they take in making sure we get the right food, the most comfortable surroundings and the most pleasant overall experience makes flying with VistaJet a real pleasure.
Their branding is excellent. From the distinctly recognisable silver jets with a red stripe, through to the napkins and silverware on-board the aircraft, everything is immaculately branded with the VistaJet logo. Even the delicate Le Lobo scent stayed with me for a few hours after the flight.
VistaJet’s fleet renewal strategy dictates that each aircraft in the fleet is replaced every five years. Keeping the fleet young and fresh helps with the overall feel of the aircraft and, by making each aircraft the same inside and out, the company has created a working and living space where travellers can feel at home, no matter what aircraft type they fly on.
And that’s important when choosing a jet to charter, because you know exactly what you’re getting when you fly with VistaJet – a consistently repeatable experience that’s very much like owning your own aircraft, but without having to take on any asset risk yourself!
Aircraft: Bombardier Global 6000 9H-VJJ (MSN 9604 delivered 16/12/2014)
Flight number: VJT822R
Time of departure: 11:12 local
Arrival time: 13:32 local
Flight time: 01:20
Cruising altitude: 41000 feet
Average cruise airspeed: 860km/h