PHOTO TOUR: Inside Lufthansa's VIP A380 and 747 cabins

By John Walton, November 14 2011
PHOTO TOUR: Inside Lufthansa's VIP A380 and 747 cabins

Update | Looking for the latest on Lufthansa's new Boeing 747-8? Check out our photos and first impressions of the new 'Queen of the Skies'.

Previous | If you're Middle East royalty, a super-rich oil sheik or an eccentric multi-millionaire and find that private jets just aren't up to your exacting standards, you'll probably end up giving Lufthansa Technik a call to find out your options for outfitting a shiny new Airbus A380 or Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental.

Lufthansa Technik is the sharp end of  Germany's national carrier Lufthansa -- and in addition to the conventional roles of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul, the group's VIP & Executive Jet Solutions team oversees the customisation of commercial jetliners for private use.

Australian Business Traveller sat down with the VIP & Executive Jet Solutions cabin designers at HQ in Hamburg recently to find out how a 747 or A380 goes from empty shell to flying palace.

It all begins with a brochure detailing several suggested floorplans for your superjumbo.

Downstairs on the A380's main deck, the extra width of the A380 -- the widest jet in the skies -- means the designers have extra room to play with.

Instead of ten seats across in Economy, you'll find a full boardroom, large lounges, and lots of open space.

On the slightly narrower upper deck it's more intimate, with curving corridors leading to private bedrooms, private sitting areas, full bathrooms, offices and a well-equipped kitchen.

At the same time as your designers are choosing the floorplan, they'll start sketching out the architectural details of each space.

The curving design language in this brief sketch is for a Middle Eastern VIP's Boeing 747-8I:

From there, it's a process of refinement, materials selection, and computer-aided design to get to a photo-realistic mockup of each space:

You'll be presented with various angles, showing off the best of your jet and its proposed layout, making the most of the ultimate luxury in the sky: space. After all, why have your own A380 and cram it full of seats?

From lounges and meeting rooms to palatial bedroom suites in the very quietest part of the plane, the designers will create and then customise it to your exacting specifications.

Rather have a bed in the nose of your VIP Boeing 747-8 instead of sofas? No problem.

Want a round bed instead, or perhaps one for your guests?

Of course, if your overarching aesthetic goal is "dark polished wood and gold", that's always an option too:

You can even have your very own moving map installed on the bedroom TV to figure out just how long you have left to lounge around in your undoubtedly luxurious pyjamas:

If your tastes run to something other than "dictator chic", there are more modern, vibrant options available too.

Here's what you might find upstairs on your A380 VIP if you're a fan of orange.

The colour scheme can carry over into the lounge areas if you want:

And even into your swanky private office:

"Not orange" is, of course, an option as well, if you must:

If you have to ask how much this'll cost you, you almost certainly don't want to know. The list price for an A380 is a cool 375 million dollars, and outfitting it to your every whim could easily cost you the same again.

And that's before you've even decided on what colour to paint it. We're particularly partial to this understated yet stylish example.

Now, where should we put the jacuzzi..?

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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