I toured a private jet for the first time at Farnborough International Airshow.
The Gulfstream G650ER is a popular model among billionaires, including Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
The cabin was impressive, but I'm not convinced the cost will ever be worth it.
I've never been on a private jet. I typically fly economy, usually low-cost regional carriers like Ryanair and easyJet where the idea of cabin luggage, or even guaranteeing sitting next to your friend comes with a fee.
The idea of an exclusive, $65 million private jet with its own private bedroom and bathroom is a luxury. When I was given the chance to take a look at this year's Farnborough International Airshow, I had to take a look.
Qatar Executive is a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, and is among a small number of commercial airlines to have a division dedicated to letting wealthy people charter private jets.
The airline has 12 Gulfstream G650ER jets, and has three set to be delivered by the end of 2022.
The jet is a favorite among wealthy business executives. Elon Musk purchased the model in 2016 for $70 million. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates also use the jet.
The 14.27-meter long by 2.49 meter-wide cabin was configured to carry up to 13 passengers, as well as two pilots and one flight attendant. If passengers plan to fly overnight there's room for seven to sleep.
After boarding the plane there's an entrance to a crew rest area used on long-haul flights.
It was being used by the Qatar crew on duty to store their bags.
Opposite this was a restroom with its own sink and fold-down leather toilet seat.
The galley kitchen felt very similar to those on certain types of yacht.
It had a coffee machine...
... and a coverable sink and space to prepare food.
We visited at a time when there were other tours on the flight. There were six people on the jet when I toured. With a cabin width of just 2.59 m, it felt cramped and did lead to a few moments of awkward shuffles as we all tried to navigate our way around the plane.
I can imagine this is less of a problem if everyone is in their seats during the flight.
A door at the back of the cabin led through to a private bedroom. It contains and sofa and two individual seats that fold into a double and a single bed.
The bedroom had its own private seating area and automatic table that was released at the push of a button.
It takes around 35 minutes to convert all of the seating into beds, according to the flight attendant. Passengers have to wait in the available seats while the private bedroom towards the rear of the plane is sorted first.
The private bedroom has its own bathroom with a lavatory and a sink. There is no shower however.
There's a compartment for bags located at the aft of the plane, which can be accessed through a door in the private bathroom.
Qatar installed an air conditioning unit to keep the jet cool while it was parked on the tarmac, which is another reason the jet may have appeared cramped.
The airshow was held during a time when temperatures in the UK reached their highest on record, reaching a 40.3 degrees Celsius (104.5 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas of the country.
Temperatures were so hot, Luton Airport, just 53 miles from Farnborough had to halt flights because part of the runway melted during the hot spell.
Maybe it's my average UK salary talking, but given the context in which I'm touring the plane, I find it hard to see private jets as anything but a monumental waste of money. Private jets are up to 14 times more polluting per passenger than commercial flights.
Source:Transport & Environment
The aviation sector has pledged to collectively cut its total carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Carbon offsetting, investing in sustainable fuels, or switching electrically powered planes are some of the ways the industry plans to do so.
But many argue that is not enough, and what will really make a difference is fewer flights.
I can see why super busy millionaires pay for the convenience and privacy offered by a private jet, and I'll admit the cabin was impressive. Whether that can ever be worth it is something I'm yet to be convinced of.
Read the original article on Business Insider