Luxury Travel Advisor boarded the new Crystal Skye, a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft now operated by Crystal AirCruises, a new lifestyle brand. The aircraft is a spacious private luxury tour jet. Check out our slide show above for a first-hand look at the aircraft exterior and luxurious interior. (All photos are copyrighted by Susan J. Young)
Sporting a 212-foot wing span, the plane is 169 feet in length. It features the familiar Crystal seahorse logo and aqua-blue coloring of the Crystal brand.
This plane can definitely zoom -- with a maximum speed of 587 mph. Most of the time, it will cruise along at about 550 mph. Maximum altitude is 43,100 feet, but it's expected to fly at 38,000 to 40,000 feet. Maximum range is 10,000 nautical miles or about 19.5 hours of flight time.
Enclave of Luxury
Inside, the jet is a stunning enclave of luxury. While this Boeing aircraft type is typically used by airlines around the world to serve 314 to 396 passengers, Crystal Skye seats only 88 guests who will have plenty of room to spread out.
Crystal says the plane has the widest VIP cabin configuration in commercial service. Seating is no more than two across, so every passenger has either a window or aisle seat. Leather seats are configured in a two-by-two-by-two format, with extra wide aisles, a 74-inch pitch between seats and a 24-inch width between armrests.
In fact, passengers will have an average of three windows between each seating row. Staggered rows also allow for center seats to enjoy window views.
Executive Class Seats
Crystal's Executive Class Seats, designed by Zodiac Seating, are ergonomically designed and can lie totally flat. At 73.5 inches in length, the seats can accommodate tall guests. Seats set up in bed-time mode have custom-designed cashmere blankets and lumbar pillows, a goose down pillow, duvets and mattress toppers.
Entertainment-wise, Crystal's passengers will each have their own 24-inch flat screen Panasonic monitors with a complete entertainment package of games, movies, TV shows, videos, music on demand and complimentary WiFI across the globe. Guests also have mini monitors in each handset.
All guests also have an individual phone at their seat and can make free, unlimited global calls. Guests receive custom cabin tote bags, including toiletry kits and Bose headphones. Seats also are equipped with personal UBS ports and power outlets.
Guests will be served by a cabin crew of 12 SkyeButlers, plus four pursers. International crew members speak a combined total of 32 languages.
Each guest enjoys the personal service of a butler. Butlers carts are equipped with steam irons, shoe horns and polish, wrapping paper, extract fragrances and lens cleaner.
From the flight crew side, each flight will have four captains onboard, all with global operations experience. . The aircraft will be operated for Crystal AirCruises by Comlux Aruba NV.
Crystal's AirCruises staff focused on each flight will include an executive chef, mixologist, technical manager and a global operations/security manager.
Chef Francois Van Zyl, Crystal Air Cruises' executive chef, will oversee menus of Michelin-inspired cuisine that reflects the global destinations visited. The chef will collaborate with the brand's sommelier/mixologist to offer pairings with fine wines.
Dedicated Social Lounge
What's truly nifty? The aircraft has a spacious dedicated social lounge in the forward part of the aircraft. It's attractive with soft hues and mood lighting. Several dozen guests at a time can be accommodated here comfortably at one time -- enjoying cocktails or small bites.
Tables have swivel seats with seat belts, for safety's sake. The tables also can flip over to become gaming tables or a place to play cards. There is also a full bar here, plus couches on either side for additional seating.
Throughout the plane are six VIP lavatories with relaxing music, large countertops, ETRO bath products and enough space to change into sleep attire.
The aircraft has two galleys -- one forward and one at the rear of the aircraft. Together, they have nine steam and convection ovens, espresso machines, a frother, blender, ice machines and more.
In addition, a glass-enclosed wine cellar structure near the rear galley can store hundreds of bottles of wine. Additional bottles can also be stored elsewhere on the plane.
Crystal Skye also has a newly designed overhead compartment which allows for much greater storage while taking up less space in the cabin. The aircraft also has a high cabin ceiling with no overhead center bins.
During their Crystal Skye flight, guests also can be a part of the air action by listening to a cockpit-to-airport ground control listening system and watching a detailed live "moving map" on their monitor so they can check flight progress. Exterior TV cameras will provide views of take-off, in flight and landing.