Gino Bertuccio, a Miami business magnate, may be well accustomed to butler service, meals whipped up by private chefs and first-class comforts like Egyptian cotton sheets and flat screen TVs. But on December 27, he will be the first person in the world to experience these amenities at 30,000 feet.
Bertuccio will serve as the inaugural passenger onboard Etihad Airways’ The Residence, a three-room private suite within a commercial plane that the Abu Dhabi-based airline has billed as “the most exclusive ticket in aviation history.”
Comprising a living room, double bedroom and private bathroom (complete with shower), a one-way Residence ticket costs a cool $21,000, Etihad’s president and CEO, James Hogan, told CNN -- “a fraction of the cost of if you were taking a private jet.” For the program to be profitable, he added, The Residence would need to achieve at least 50 percent occupancy on an annual basis.
The initiative is kicking off with a passenger for whom luxury travel is already something of a hobby. Bertuccio, who owns a personal care products company called Ligi Import Corp, is a noted aviation enthusiast, having already travelled on 22 inaugural and final flights in premium class cabins. He also boasts a collection of more than 2,000 model planes.
Of his inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow, Bertuccio said he was most excited about the Savoy Academy-trained butler who will at his beck and call throughout the duration of the flight.
“I have huge expectations,” he said in a statement. “My only wish is that the flight was longer.”
Check out the video below to get a glimpse of the entire experience.