Concerts on Private Jets: Rock You Like an Aeroplane

In-flight Entertainment: An amp, a drum kit, PA system, and some all-star talent is all it takes to get a rock and roll show all to yourself on your private jet.

Imagine flying at 40,000 feet and instead of watching a movie on the back of the seat in front of you, you're watching a live performance! By coupling their aviation prowess with a keen ear to the music industry, Air Partner has made these performances a reality. The global aviation company is now offering concerts in the sky to the US market for large and small groups alike.

The idea of experiencing a mid-air concert is incredible when you consider what the history of airline entertainment has been. Dating all the way back to pre WWI, in-flight entertainment was considered looking out the window on Zeppelin "sight seeing tours." Soon after that in 1936 the German airship Hindenburg offered a piano lounge on its two and half day trek to the United States.

After WWII, food and drink services were offered to passengers with the occasional projector movie on lengthy flights, however it wasn't until the 60's that entertainment on aircrafts became mainstream. In 1961 the first ever feature film, "By Love Possessed" was shown on a regular commercial airline flight.

By 1963 the first pneumatic headsets were installed in planes. These early, antiquated forms of headsets basically consisted of in-seat audio that was transported through hollow tubes and heard via cumbersome headphones. Finally in 1979 their electronic predecessors took over.

The early 80's touted flight entertainment that vaguely resembles what we see today, and by the end of the decade the first audio/video on demand system was installed- an early precursor to the beloved JetBlue TVs.

Today we see LCD screens, on demand centers, and personal entertainment options that sometimes rival those in our very own homes. Clearly, our airline entertainment options have evolved rapidly, yet only a few aviation specialists have approached what could be considered the final frontier.

In 2006 Air Partner took on that frontier when they began chartering music tours, and subsequently took in-flight entertainment to a whole new level. That summer, after nu-metal rock group Korn's European tour, Air Partner embarked on what is believed was unchartered territory. Their operational expertise, and knowledge of the industry enabled them to pull off a mid-flight "live" show at 40,000 feet from London to New York. For the 60 passengers on the privately chartered VIP Boeing 757, including eight US soldiers who were heading home for from service overseas, it was the concert of a lifetime.

This year (2010), Air Partner helped organize James Blunt's record-breaking performance at 42,000 feet above the North Sea. Blunt's performance broke the Guinness World Record for the highest concert performed, and was a treat to the 150-strong audience who accompanied him on the Boeing 767.

Not only did Air Partner secure these flights operationally, its ServicePLUS team meticulously tailored the flight logistics. The planes were rebranded externally, bespoke headrest covers were ordered, and modifications were made to the aircrafts' interior in order to accommodate the acoustic equipment.

Ironically, the development of in-flight entertainment has come full circle. What started as live personal interactions in the piano bar on the Hindenburg, has now become live musical performances on a Boeing 767. No matter how much technology advances, the greatest and most sincere forms of entertainment are those we can experience first hand.

Phil Mathews

British-born Philip Mathews graduated from Buckingham University in 1989 with a BA (Hons) in Politics, Economics and Law and has worked in the aviation industry for more than 20 years. He joined Air Partner in 2002 and was appointed President of the US business in 2003. Air Partner is a world-class provider of aviation services to industry, commerce, governments and individuals worldwide. The ...(Read More)

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