It’s a bird; it’s a plane; no, it’s a super, unbelievably luxurious private jet. There is no denying that flying in a private chartered jet makes for one of the happiest journeys of your life. Go where you want. Leave when you want. Come back when you want. The cabin is spacious and quiet. The seats are comfy for sitting or sleeping. Eat and drink whatever you want, whenever you want. Your wish is FlyUSA’s command.
While even a small private plane is dripping in luxury, the super large and expensive private jets owned by the richest people in the world are almost beyond words. Huge bedrooms with attached baths. Sinks made out of pure gold. Meeting rooms and gathering areas. One jet is even said to have a nightclub.
If you’re looking to dream big while napping on a private charter jet, here are some interesting details about the most spectacular private jets in the world and the ultra-rich people who own them. The good news is that none cost more than about $500 million and some of them haven’t even been delivered yet (wink).
Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal: $500 million Airbus 380
The most expensive private jet in the world, a modified Airbus A380, is owned by the richest man in the Middle East. Saudi Arabian Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. The $500 million he spent on his own flying palace is a mere drop in the bucket for a man whose net worth is $16.5 billion. The jet itself, a large wide-body airliner that is the world’s largest passenger airliner, costs about $400 million. And the opulent personalization of the jet cost about another $100 million. The jet is believed to include a Turkish bath, a performance hall, a Rolls-Royce garage and a prayer room that automatically rotates to face Mecca.
A graduate of Menlo College in northern California and Syracuse University in New York, Alwaleed, a member of the Saudi royal family, made his fortune investing in things. He owns chunks of private and public companies in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East through Kingdom Holding Co., according to Forbes magazine. Those holdings include stakes in Lyft, Twitter, Citigroup and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
While that’s his most expensive jet, it’s not the only one he owns. Sometimes he travels in his $220 million Boeing 747-400. Made to seat more than 400 commercial passengers, this Boeing 747-400 is now outfitted with a dining table for 14 people and a throne in the center of the plane.
Alisher Usmanov: $400 million Airbus A340-300
Alisher Usmanov, Vladimir Putin buddy and one of the richest people in Russia with a net worth of about $14 billion, managed to get his opulent Airbus A340-300 to the Maldives before it could be seized in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (He wasn’t as lucky with his 512-foot mega-yacht, Dilbar, which is being held in Hamburg, Germany, and its two helicopters seized by France.)
Usmanov built his fortune producing plastic bags, a commodity so scarce in the former Soviet Union that people washed and reused them. He then went on to invest in metal and mining operations. He was an early Facebook investor and now owns the digital and telecommunications firm MegaFon.
His private Airbus A340-300, elaborately painted on the outside and emblazoned with the name “Bourkhan,” after his father, is believed to be the largest private plane in Russia, larger than Putin’s Ilyushin Il-96. The jet was originally priced at $238 million, but more than $100 million of modifications were made to it, according to Bloomberg.com.
Sultan of Brunei: $300 million Boeing 747-430
There is no shroud of secrecy over what the gold-plated interior of the Sultan of Brunei’s largest jet looks like. Online photos show the 747 that is owned by the ruler of the oil-rich Sultanate of Brunei on the island of Borneo to have gold walls – and sinks – and Lalique crystal befitting one of the richest sultans in the world. He has other planes but this is the largest. It has also been reported he gave his daughter her own Airbus 340 for her birthday. He also owns 7,000 cars, including 600 Rolls Royces and 300 Ferraris. When home, he lays his head down in his 2 million-square-foot palace with a dome studded with 22-carat gold. The exact price of the royal private jet is believed to be somewhere between $230 million and $400 million.
Roman Abramovich: $150 million Boeing 767-33A/ER
Another Russian billionaire in fear of having his fortune drained by sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Roman Abramovich, owns a 767-33A/ER, originally designed for up to 300 commercial passengers and now adorned with chestnut and gold. Abramovich, who got started making his $7 billion fortune selling toy plastic ducks, is best known as owner of the Chelsea football club, which is currently playing under sanctions. The plane, which was designed to carry up to 300 passengers, could easily transport the entire Chelsea squad from game to game – and feed them in its 30-person dining room.
The plane is also believed to have an anti-missile system for his safety. At least two of his other assets in addition to the football club, a Gulfstream G650 and a $140 million London mansion, have been frozen by Western governments. His two yachts, which are worth $900 million, are sequestered in Turkey, where sanctions are not being imposed.
In 1999, right after Mark Cuban and co-founders sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in stock, he made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest single e-commerce purchase: a Gulfstream V business jet he bought online for $40 million (adjusted for inflation, $69 million in 2022). Buying a private jet “was my all-time goal because the asset I value the most is time, and that bought me time,” Cuban told Money magazine in 2017. Cuban, whose estimated net worth is $4 billion, personalized the jet, with things such as custom seats for his team.
Jimmy Buffet bought himself a flying Margaritaville
Jimmy Buffett, who sings of relaxing on the beach in his hit songs like “Margaritaville,” owns one of the most expensive and unusual private jets owned by a celebrity. He bought a 1955 Grumman HU-16 Albatross seaplane he named “Hemisphere Dancer” in 1990 for $62.2 million ($137 million, adjusted for inflation, in 2022). He restored the aircraft and used it until 2003 when it was retired and moved to Buffett’s Lone Palm Airport Lounge, a tiki bar in Orlando’s Universal CityWalk. It’s an attraction for all Parrot Heads.
Jim Carrey shares his Gulfstream V with friends
The star of “Dumb and Dumber” seems like an unlikely owner of a luxury jet. However, Carrey does indeed own an expensive private jet. He has equipped his $59 million Gulfstream V with 16 seats so others can enjoy the fruits of his acting labor.
Oprah Winfrey makes travel luxurious for associates
Oprah Winfrey is as likely an owner of a luxurious private jet as Jim Carrey is unlikely. The talk-show queen and owner of Harpo production company bought a custom-made Bombardier Global Express XRS for $42 million. A self-made billionaire, Winfrey told British Vogue that her No. 1 indulgence is a private jet. “I would say having your own airplane is the greatest luxury” because it means one minute, you’re in New York and, the next, you’re in London.
Beyonce bought Jay-Z his Bombardier Challenger 850 Learjet
She bought it for her husband but she did the customizations to the $40 million Bombardier Challenger 850 Learjet. The jet, which has cream leather furniture, a whole living room, two bathrooms, a master bedroom and a kitchen, is often used for family trips by the singer and the rapper and their children. The couple, who have been together for more than 20 years, have had about as many ups and downs as the plane has
Of course, MSN co-founder Bill Gates has a luxury jet
It’s impossible to even think about the guy behind one of the world’s biggest technological corporations not having his own set of flying wheels. Gates owns a $40 million Bombardier BD-700 Global Express that can travel at the speed of sound. Loaded with the best avionics money can buy, a flight on this jet is said to be smooth as silk.