The Tatler Guide to Staying Above it All
Tatler Malaysia|July 2021
Still not ready to board a plane? We’ve found some alternative ways to fly, or at least simulate the feeling of flying, without the hassle of checking in
Coco Marett

At 123 storeys, the view from the upper reaches of the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong is about the closest thing to the feeling of looking out over the city from the comfort of the skies that I’ve experienced in a long time. Before the pandemic, I was flying at least once a month. Now I’m trying to recreate the sensation of being in an aircraft by spending a night in a skyscraper with some friends.

After two too many glasses of champagne on one such night, we decided to turn the seating nook along the window into our very own first-class cabin. We enclosed ourselves against the window using the black-out curtains as my friend clasped her hands over her mouth to create a muffled announcement.

“Good evening passengers, this is your captain speaking,” she began. “We are now beginning our descent into Hong Kong International Airport...”

God, we miss flying. You probably do, too, only you’re far too grounded and classy to put your nose against the glass. And so, we’ve researched a few ways you can take to the skies the Tatler way—obviously ones that don’t require boarding a commercial flight, but also that require no mind-numbing waits at Immigration or bag collection, and no screaming children. First-class all the way.

BLAST OFF

Live out your Iron Man fantasies (not the ones involving Robert Downey Jr) with your very own jet suit by UK-based startup Gravity.

The stuff of science-fiction dreams, let your geek flag fly as you soar up to 3,500-plus metres into the air. The custom-built suit is loaded with five small jet engines, and the mounds strapped to your arms are used to direct where you want to go, just like the Marvel Comics hero. You’ll also need Tony Stark’s money if you want to get your hands on one, as they cost US$440,000.

The suit weighs about 25kg, plus an additional 10kg of Jet A1 or diesel fuel, and has a coasting speed of up to 128km/h.

In September 2020, Gravity’s founder, Richard Browning, teamed up with the UK’s Great North Air Ambulance Service to demonstrate how the suit could be used by a paramedic to deliver critical care in a mountain rescue emergency. It took just 90 seconds by air, compared to 25 minutes by foot, to reach the simulated emergency site. Perhaps superheroes are real, after all.

JUMP OUT OF A PLANE

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