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#83 - Flying First Class

#83 - Flying First Class

Flying First Class
Price: Your First Born, Their Pocket Change

Flying isn’t natural. As they say, “If God had meant you to fly he would have given you wings”, Icarus learned this the hard way. Of course, when they said this, they were probably referring to economy class where the masses are crammed into uncomfortable seats with sweaty, broad shouldered, obese individuals who want to talk to you about their 2-star vacation or persistent skin rash that is likely contagious. If this situation is the bookend to your holiday or business trip, you are probably inclined to agree that mankind is better off on terra firma. While the rich certainly prefer the comforts of a private jet, when push comes to shove, a lie-flat seat with noise-reducing headphones, personal media players, fine dining, full bar and a curtain to separate you from the plebs makes commercial flights tolerable.

For the masses that feel they have won the lottery because they managed to “score” a seat in an emergency exit row, there is a belief that the seats on the other side of the curtain are prohibitively expensive because of the roominess and luxury. Rich people know that, while 40” of seat pitch is comfortable, the real reason to sit in first class is that one does not have to associate with people that can’t afford the finer things in life. After all, the food, personalized service and comfort are table stakes in the lives of the wealthy. First class seating is one of the few places that legitimize class segregation, making it extremely attractive to the rich. Having a boarding pass that reads 2B with a flute of champagne in hand is a wonderful reminder that while money can’t buy happiness, it can help you choose your misery which does not include spending time with individuals who think a timeshare is a good investment.

Naturally, if you want to make good with the wealthy the first option is to secure yourself a seat in first class. This can be done in a few ways; buck up for the extra few thousand dollars every time you fly, try to sweet talk the ticketing agent into upgrading you on every flight or start sleeping with a flight attendant. Of course, if you could pull off the latter two options with any level of consistency, you would likely already be on the road to success and riches and able to execute on option A. As back-up,the art of conversation to kick start a discussion with your wealthy counterpart will work wonders. Give your new friend an opportunity to dazzle you with their in-flight experience. Use informed inquiry about flying Emirates or United’s P.S. service while jet setting between the left and right coast and sit back and listen. Make this work and you may never have to hear the question “fish or chicken” again. Enjoy the friendly skies!

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#59 - Being Condescending

#59 - Being Condescending

Being Condescending
Price: Nobody Likes You

Imagine being engaged in conversation with a relative stranger. You mention that you are taking a trip or going back to school. Now imagine that the person you are speaking with tells you they only stay at 5 star resorts, never fly economy or that unless you are attending Harvard you’ll be wasting your time. Given that you are staying at a Holiday Inn, travelling by bus and attending state you are likely thinking, “what a dick!” You aren’t wrong; rich people are condescending!

For most people a conversation like this is a disaster but like rich people say, when life gives you lemons have your chef make lemonade. A common response to condescending rich people is to blush and mumble about how nice that sounds. At the other end of the etiquette spectrum is abruptly ending the conversation with a few choice four letter words. While both are options, it is much more fun to play the one-upmanship game. Here’s how it works; they say 5 star, you say 5 diamond. They say Harvard, you prefer the London School of Economics. They won’t fly economy, trump first class by asking if they own a private jet. While this doesn’t immediately seem like a suitable tactic to forge friendships you will be surprised how effective piquing their interest can be.

A little mystery can go a long way when engaging in one-upping, so tread softly. You will want to verse yourself in the finer things in life. Conversational knowledge of Bugatti automobiles, French Chateaus, armored vehicles and private islands will provide ample material for sparring with your conceited adversary. An important point to remember, never lie about partaking in such luxuries. Alluding to enjoying the lifestyle is much more effective and keeps the sharks from smelling weakness. While you don’t want to be known as the jackass that fabricates stories about climbing Everest without oxygen or setting free dive depth records, it is perfectly acceptable to showcase your knowledge of pampered wealth. Finally, this knowledge is like achieving a black belt in martial arts; only use it in self-defense. With a little training you will be as lethal as Bruce Lee and as debonair as James Bond.

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#13 - Private Jets

#13 - Private Jets

Gulfstream G550
Price: $51,900,000

There comes a point in every rich person’s life when having a personal assistant book airline tickets, waiting in the Emirates lounge, sampling vintages in the Grand Cru at the Dubai Airport and flying first class becomes tiresome. It is time to visit Gulfstream in Madison, Connecticut, 2003 winners of the Robert J. Collier award for outstanding innovation in aeronautics in America. A private jet is convenient and damned civilized; if you have the means, I highly recommend it.

Gulfstream manufactures seven models with the Gulfstream G650 scheduled for release in 2012. For now, the G550 is the most exclusive jet available to billionaires. With a range of 6,760 nautical miles and cruising altitude of 41,000 ft no destination is too far. Such range dictates that comfort is top-of-mind for the wealthy jet set. The G550 will accommodate 18 passengers with 7 berthing seats and is available in any custom configuration one desires. Should owners require Phillipe Starck fixtures, elephant skin seats, Malmaison flatware, persian carpets or Louis XIV desks…the designers at Gulfstream will bring your dreams to life.

To combat effects of jetlag, the cabin is pressurized to 6,000 ft and 100% fresh air is pumped throughout the plane while you watch DVDs on built-in LCD televisions and enjoy hot food on exquisite china. Advanced soundproofing and signature oval windows keep noise levels low while the jet cruises at up to Mach 0.87 or 926 km/h. This powerful thrust is provided by Rolls-Royce engines which have helped the Gulfstream G550 break 39 (and counting) city pair speed records including West Hampton to Beijing and Honolulu to Higüey. Interestingly, while this jet is well suited for international flights, the espresso machine is optional.

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