I’ve booked several trips for us that I’ve been thrilled about. My first huge award ticket was when I found two first-class tickets on ANA from Washington D.C. to Tokyo in 2009. That was my best booking until I worked out our $25,000 business class trip from the US to Australia and Japan for less than $1,000 out of pocket. It’s always possible to improve and I successfully booked, on my own, my best award flight to date in 2018. The problem is, it’s wasn’t for me.
In February 2015, Four Seasons started their World Tour Packages that featured travel on their own luxury private jet. This was no normal Boeing 757-200; this plane was specially designed for Four Seasons and included 52 lie-flat seats and meals prepared onboard by an executive chef.
This plane would whisk travelers on around-the-world itineraries, visiting iconic landmarks and staying at world-class Four Seasons hotels along the way. The initial response from bloggers like Ben from One Mile at a Time was skepticism about who this plane and these trips were for:
And to some degree I have to wonder how much of a market there is for this. Millionaires probably couldn’t reasonably afford this, while billionaires would presumably want a more tailored experience than a month-long journey with 50 other people and no flexibility — they can just get their own jet. Maybe they’re going after “poor” hundred millionaires?
A year later, Ben wrote another article asking if the Four Seasons plane was overrated and questioning its long term viability:
But personally I’d be surprised if this business model works long term or is expanded. I’m guessing some high end travelers are trying it once out of curiosity, but long term do you really want to drop that kind of cash on such a “rigid” trip, when you could ultimately fly better airline products and have a more customized experience for less?
Well, here we are in 2019 and Four Seasons has announced they’re getting a new plane, an Airbus A321-LR, which will go into service for the trips in 2021. So I guess they’re doing OK. But how?
I was lucky enough to get to talk to someone who’s been on a Four Seasons trip. They were nice enough to share with me the pictures from their trip and even let me read the personal journal they wrote while away (yes, people still write in notebooks, and this leather-bound book was specially provided to guests by Four Seasons for just that reason).
This is the beginning of a series of posts I’m affectionately calling, “The really cool places around the world that my dad and his wife have visited.” Being retired, they have no restrictions on time, and since I’m able to help them book trips using points and miles, the list of places they can travel to is pretty incredible.
One of the freedoms they have (that I don’t) is the ability to travel to out of the way locations. When Sharon and I travel for a week, we have to limit ourselves to a few destinations each trip. When Dad and Joann travel for a month, they can take a day to fly to a location, stay for two nights and then fly somewhere else. We don’t have that luxury of time.
Mount Bromo is one location my dad visited on his last trip to Indonesia and Thailand. It’s a volcano located on Java and I’d never heard of it before I saw their trip plans. Now I wish I never saw their pictures because now I really want to go there.