Way Above First: Living Large on Qatar's Gulfstream G500 Private Jet
Sometimes, even a posh first-class cabin just won't cut it. Perhaps you're an A-list celebrity, looking to travel far from public view, or a politician or member of a royal family with special security needs — but you don't want to spend for something truly big, like a VIP-configured Boeing 777.
Or maybe you need to fly a small team from one meeting to the next, and you don't have time to make a stop or risk the travel disruptions you're more likely to experience flying commercial. That's when it might make sense to fly private, and Qatar Executive is one of the airlines around the world that can help you with that. This sister company of Qatar Airways flies, among others, US-made Gulfstream jets.
For longer trips, Qatar offers the Gulfstream G650ER, which can fly 8,500 miles without a stop. The G500 offers a similar cabin footprint, but with a range of roughly 6,000 miles — that's still enough to fly from the US West Coast to parts of Asia and Europe, but longer trips will require a stop. Qatar Executive is betting that a lot of people will want to fly ita Gulfstreams: It has ordered 30 of them, between the G500s and slightly larger G600, plus more G650ERs.
The passenger area of the G500 should feel comparable in size to the G650ER — while the interior isn't as long, space is trimmed from other areas, since there isn't a need for a dedicated crew rest with the shorter range.
The cabin is appointed similarly to Qatar's longer-range Gulfsteam jet, though I actually like elements of the G500 a bit more — the quilted seat stitching, for example.
There are two separate passenger compartments, just like on the G650ER. The rear compartment has a separate fold-out sofa, and all of the seats can fold flat to create a bed.
At the far back of the cabin is a large lavatory, complete with a sink you're more likely to find in a home than on a plane.
The toilet is hidden as well — you'll need to flip up the large leather seat to reveal it.
Each compartment can be sealed off for extra privacy, both from one another and from the forward crew area.
There's a full galley up front, complete with another sink, an oven and espresso machine.
I love the cockpit, too — I can't recall ever seeing a cockpit more attractive than this, on any jet.
As is typically the case for private-jet operators, Qatar's mum on pricing — though in this case, that makes perfect sense, since the aircraft has yet to be delivered by Gulfstream. Pending certification of the G500, this latest addition is expected to make its way to Qatar Executive's fleet before the end of 2018.