Not your average 737: This £58 million VIP aircraft has just 13 seats
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Have you ever wondered how the other half lives — or flies? I recently got a taste of the good life when I toured the Boeing Business Jets 737 demonstrator plane at the National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition earlier this month in Las Vegas.
I’ve been on plenty of 737s before but this one was like no other. The 737 is typically usually used for short trips for large groups, but this one had the completely opposite mission of flying small groups long distances. It has a range of more than 6,200 nautical miles so it can fly routes as long as Los Angeles to Paris.
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The demonstrator I toured was a 737-700 built in 2016. New 737 BBJs would be part of the MAX family but this plane is used to give customers an idea of the interior possibilities of the aircraft.
Upon boarding, passengers are greeted by a walk-up bar. It might not be as glitzy as Emirates’ onboard bars, but it is a refined amenity to have on a private jet.
Before entering the plane’s main living space you’ll pass by a fully enclosed crew rest and crew lavatory. You’ll never find crew rests on commercial 737s, but they’re needed on the corporate variants as these jets can fly 12 hours nonstop.
Whilst 737s can obviously fit many more people, this one is configured to seat just 13 passengers, plus six crew members. The first half of the main room is set up like a living room. There are multiple chairs and a couch facing a wide-screen television.
The second half of the room is set up as a conference or dining space, with seating for four (and seat belts for everyone, so you don’t have to move if things get bumpy).
Unlike some private jets, such as Crystal Skye, the goal of this cabin wasn’t a flashy design, but rather a residential feel with neutral tones. Of course, if you want a more eye-popping cabin, you can certainly get that.
On the other side of the dining area is the first of two passenger lavatories (remember, the crew members have their own lavatory). It boasts two windows and a shower. Unlike the showers you’ll find on some commercial jets, there’s no time limit on the water — although there’s obviously a finite supply.
Just past that is an office with a desk, chair, television and divan. However, you can use this space as a guest bedroom as the divan converts into a bed and there are doors for privacy.
At the rear of the cabin is the primary bedroom. It features a proper queen-size bed with a nightstand on both sides and plenty of room to move around. It also feels much airier than the typical 737 thanks to the lack of overhead bins.
As you might expect at this point, the bedroom also features an en suite lavatory. It has a second onboard shower and is larger than the loo in my New York City apartment.
I’ll gladly fly on a BBJ 737 any day of the week. Whilst this specific jet features a bedroom, office, multiple lavatories and a large living room, the configuration possibilities are endless. That said, if budget isn’t your primary consideration and you’d prefer something even bigger, you could wait for the BBJ 777X, which is expected to start flying in 2024.
Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.
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