Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has ordered an A380, Airbus’ new jumbo jumbo jet, which has a sticker price of $320 million. But what will really run the price up, perhaps another $50 million to $150 million, are the options.
The prince hasn’t spoken publicly about this yet, but the aviation press is speculating that among the extras bin Talal might want are private bedrooms, with a master suite on the upper deck with an office, private dining room, gym and spa. There would be a reception room with a bar for those awaiting an audience with the prince, and the lower deck could contain a lounge, conference room and a more public dining room. Part of the cargo hold could be transformed into a movie theater.
The prince can do all of this because he’s worth $20 billion and is the world’s 13th-richest person.
Rather than be envious, the rest of us, for whom air travel is like riding a crosstown bus on a rainy night at rush hour, should congratulate bin Talal on his fortune and hope he enjoys his plane. But it’s not too much to ask that the Transportation Safety Administration makes the prince remove his shoes and belt and empty his pockets before he boards it.