There is no better way to fly than to cross borders in your own private aeroplane. From cozy 16-seaters to souped-up commercial jets custom-built to one’s tastes – these moneyed cognoscenti show how to do it right. Of course, we are not including state vehicles, such as the Air Force One designation Boeing 747-200Bs, since these are not truly private. By the same token, we're also excluding the Sultan of Brunei's jets (they might qualify as state vehicles) and the famous private A380 of Saudi Prince Alwaleed (it's not done and delivered). Perhaps we'll revisit this list when Alwaleed's sky palace is finally delivered, reportedly some time this year.
American real estate tycoon Donald Trump is no stranger to the world of private jets. After his white, black and red Boeing 727-23, Trump upped the ante with a Boeing 757 in 2011. While the 727-23 is a refurbished 1968 model originally operated by American Airlines, the 757 was reportedly bought used from Trump's fellow billionaire Paul Allen. It was widely reported that the 757 was part of The Trump's plan for a presidential campaign. While that dream is on hold, the 43-seater 757 is still a dreamliner of sorts, with a master bedroom, with bath attached shower boasting 24K gold-plated sink and faucets; a dining table; real wood veneers; 24k gold-plated seatbelt buckles, oil paintings and crystal lamps.
Perhaps the most famous pilot and owner of a fleet of private jets, John Travolta sometimes describes himself as a pilot who happens to also be an entertainer. Long before the moguls and hip hop tycoons crowded the skies, Travolta was living it up in his Boeing 707-138. Details of onboard fixtures are undisclosed but the plane has starred in TV series Pan Am (the airline used and made 707s famous) and is housed at Travolta's own home, where he has his own private runway. This particular 707 was owned and operated by Qantas and Travolta, as a Qantas ambassador, has maintained the livery.
Bombardier Learjet 23
Learjets have long been private plane of choice for the celebrity set but this Learjet that bears the licence plate N175FS was owned by the late crooning legend Frank Sinatra in 1965. It is the only jet on this list not in active service (the current owner is anonymous and keeps the plane in storage) but it is quite signifcant. Sinatra and his Learjet 23 pioneered a new world for himself and his famous friends, creating the image of the private jet-owning class of celebrities. Christened Christina II after his youngest daughter, old Blue Eyes flerried some illustrious guests in the 43-foot-long aircraft, including the King Of Rock 'N Roll himself, Elvis Presley, and impressed Beatle Paul McCartney. Elvis of course had his own plane but that's another story...
Embraer Legacy 650
British business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar has worn many hats including a turn as a star on reality television hitThe Apprentice, football club owner and as a political advisor. His aereal headline-grabbing acquisition was an Embraer Legacy 650 with 13 luxurious leather seats, three cabin zones, a large galley, and high-speed internet and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment. Already the owner of an Embraer 600, Lord Sugar shows himself partial to the skills of the Brazilian firm.
This is the jet of choice for billionaires such as Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Russian tycoon Roman Abromavich. The Google duo bought the plane, licensed to seat 50, from Qantas and outfitted it with two staterooms each, with beanbag chairs and web-browsing facilities. Details on Abromavich's 767 are scarce but it reportedly has missile-jamming device modelled after Air Force One.