Your personal drone photographer

Oh juxtapose once again.

There are luxury travel companies offering packages that takes drone videography of your journey (read here) in the name of seeing where they’ve travelled from a different perspective. And back on the ground, there would be professional shooters photographers to assist in taking selfies of you (and your partner), without the hassle of you doing it yourself. Yep, no more selfie stick or stretching your hands out…

You see, this touches so many topics. We’ll just comment on three.

For one, it seems not only wedding couples are getting feted for such treatment these days. Though yes you do pay for them. No need for selfies? Heheh, normally Mel & Suan asks someone’s help to take a photo when possible. It’s free by the way. You just need to return the favour if requested. Nope it may not end up with a professional looking photo, but do you really want a photographer following you all over? Ok, ok some do relish the attention…

And those drone photos and videos. How would you know if those were really your journey(s)? Could had been edited seamlessly and easily these days…LOL. Hey, if Mel can cook edit, so can you! Seriously we don’t think anyone remembers Martin Yan, hence you are not likely to find that funny…but we digress. You might have read about our post on drone photography here, guess it will be a little challenging to get that kind of photos with a drone. Perhaps one day there can be an under-water drone that helps divers take photos like the one taken for us (by a diver) in Okinawa of a whale shark.

Finally, the ones who call themselves “travellers” are going to see red on this one. Camera (phone) toting tourists jamming up the streets, not appreciating local culture and norms already creep these folks out. Now, you have an entourage? OMG. Someone’s gonna have a heart attack! LOL.

Would you fork out the $$$ and sign onto these tour packages?

Do luxury toting folks get better service?

Do you sometimes feel that you get treated better if you dressed well? Or when you tote luxury bags and watches, spot expensive jewellery? There seems to be some finding that verify to some extent that this is all well true.

This experiment tested the “attribution effect”. Ok, social psychologists out there will definitely be correcting us. It’s officially coined as “fundamental attribution error“. Will be first to admit that Mel cannot recall this from his days doing that one semestral course on social psychology…Besides it was more than 20++ years ago. So be gentle…

simple-luxury
Brand names seem to matter

Now we are not sure if a mere $4000 watch will get you a hit, but the examples that Matt referred to certainly happened to us. Well, at least to one half of us – ie Suan. You see, she makes a point to dress well AND put on a dash of jewellery (and luxury watch) but that is not in your face. She has had her fair share of being treated “differently” at restaurants, boutiques, even the local supermarket. Getting warmer huh?

Bvlgari boutique2
Retailers are keen to keep this up!

It all seems as if this cheap way of impressing actually works. Or perhaps it is the confidence that one exudes when you wear a watch that costs someone’s monthly wage? You see the article is right in quite many ways. When you are traveling, nobody can fathom that you live in a palatial mansion or drive a Porsche for leisure. And today a wallet full of banknotes is not likely to impress a lot either, unless you face is on it. Well, it depends on who.

So it boils down to other symbols that our pyschological state use to “size up” other folks. And none other is more obvious that the visual cues that exude from watches, jewellery and finally the clothes and shoes you wear. Surething, some of us laugh off such behavior perhaps as being crass, materialistic etc. But somehow we get the feeling that this is far more pervasive than we care to admit.

Of course demeanour plays a critical role too. Which service person would like a sour faced customer? I guess if you play nice, others mostly will too.

We shall not care what the article revealed about the 1%, since we are unlikely to ever rub shoulders with them in any shape, size or form. However we emphasize that the global luxury brands are keen to keep this game going. Just pick out a watch magazine at the bookstore near you. Will you be able to tease out the “levels” of prestige?

There you have it. Empirical evidence that you are what you wear. Perhaps this is confirmation bias but there we have a lot of personal experiences about this too. Perhaps try it out at the Eleven James (or equivalent) near you and let us know about it!

High class Jetiquette

This was inspired by Anne’s post at her blog : Food travel Tour. By the way, Anne’s post is super! Read all about her experience flying private jet. Fascinating and wish we have the opportunity for the same…some day!

No selfies, overly flashy clothing but perhaps white gloves and large sunglasses. Definitely don’t wear slippers or tracksuits and please, pray please DO NOT put on so much perfume that you chloroform fellow passengers or even the pilot. Especially not the pilot. Your life depends on him or her. These are just some of the Dos and Don’ts of flying private jet.

Also, don’t bring too many carry-ons with you. It clutters the plane, and mysterious wealthy people do not carry all their belongings everywhere, least of all to a private jet. Actually we don’t understand the thing about the large sunglass. Does it really make you look that much more mysterious?

Because this is all so intriguing, we got into googling the web to find out the following:

  • It can cost anything between US$2,000 – $15,000 per hour depending on the size and configuration of the jet being chartered. Sure the noisier turboprops are cheaper, but who wants to shout to talk? The Smallest jet such as the gulfstream can only seat 3-4 passengers…This was something we took out of a US-based company’s website.
  • Chaperone services bring you through immigration and customs faster. For sure, why would you pay so much?
  • You can book online and pay with your credit card (especially if you have a Centurion card) for each trip/sector. Acting rich and cool is so easy, pay with your visa wave…

There are charter services operating out of Singapore too (of course!) but they do not provide a tariff table. Just like home renovators here, they probably ask if you lived in a condo or in a government flat before quoting…

Private Jet costs
Example of a tariff table – all US$ and good as of end 2016

A new idea for future corporate team building is seeded!  Wonder if we have to tip the pilot. Does anyone else have private jet experiences to share?

Plan luxe to the extreme!

Yeah, this post is about the ridiculous (in our humble opinion). It is said that money cannot buy happiness. Apparently this saying could be in question (oh?). Sure the featured image only shows outlet mall Bvlgari bags on sale. We could not find anything else (from our own photo collection) that fits the title. Would this be extreme luxe that we refer to?

Nope. Not by a long shot.

We did not know that donating $250,000 can get possibly you to a private audience with the Pope. At least this is what this post is suggesting. A contribution here or there can open doors! Apparently people do pay for the unusual, or as some say the mundane. Some do it with more class while others are a little crass. The article focuses on the mainland Chinese, but that is not to say there isn’t a larger market out there, and we should not discriminate. Let the one without sin be the first to throw a stone!

Some years back (ahem 2008)Ok many years back, Mel wrote a thesis for his Master’s degree. The topic : luxury concierge service as a functioning business model. As opposed to independent luxury travel agents that already hawk a flourishing trade in the US. Back in the day, it was already possible to envision a large class of super rich (or wannabes) who will pay for services to plan, arrange and execute travel esperanzas and/or experiences that are out of this world – meaning compared to what it means for the average Mel & Suan.

The business concept was to tie up with banking and investing networks where these HNWIs can be found. Mel recalled working through an entire business plan concluding that you don’t need much more than 100 of these individuals to build a sustainable and very profitable business. It was prepared sort of like something to present to an angel investor, though it was just a crowning piece of work before graduating (with merit we must add!). And then it was all forgotten…

Tourism in Antarctica.jpg
Hundreds of Chinese tourists flock to Antarctica each year!

Long story short, it is now a real business. For those who took the plunge anyway. This has been a globally emerging trend with the rise of an ever larger class of noveau riche. Some say the result of income distribution becoming even more unequal…yeah, what would you do if you had a couple of million as spare change. Read what we think how far S$9.5m will get you here.

Darn, should have followed through on that thesis. We could have been on the cover of the Singapore Tatler!

Perhaps then we would not be writing this post now. Maybe we’d be written about…you know they say hindsight is the best vision, it’s 20/20.

Boutique hotels? Try a boutique airline

La Compagnie is a boutique airline that most of us have not heard about. And the one thing about this outfit is that they only offer business class flights. Limited though are the flights to just a handful between the US and Europe, this can really be something to consider for those with the means. Taking in the luxury of business class travel and lounge access especially on your return journey can be a real treat. Latest news is that for you can buy a year’s unlimited pass for flights between New York to Paris or London for £25,000. With the pound really “pounded”…you fill in the blanks.

You know they say you need a holiday after taking one.

And it’s so true. You’ve enjoyed your days in the sunshine. You’ve done some wonderful shopping, ate and drank (perhaps drunk) good. Most importantly, you wish that you had some kind of job that facilitates you to live this kind of lifestyle. Forever.

Then the reality bites.

It’s time to go home, back to that 9-5 (very often times longer) job and the drudgery of paying the mortgage and assorted expenses. Here we call these uncle Bill, and he seems fond of calling up regularly.

la compagnie business class
Taken off La Campagnie

So that return flight in business class comfort is really the final solace before the rubber meets the road. Go on, try it. “If I wind up broke up well  I’ll always remember that I had a swingin’ time”. Know who sang this? Long live the King.

Uncle ‘Bill’ will come a visiting anyway!

Airline food, the gorgeous only

It was only in the last couple of years that we started taking photos of the airline food that were served to us. Inspired by Nik Loukas and this post on the Daily Mail, we are compiling our own slideshow of gorgeous airline food.

And because we are such nice folks, only beautiful meals will be shared with you. Why? Because we want to make you envious…

Seriously. We all have our share of bad airline food. Do we really need to be reminded? So here’s a sampling of SIA’s culinary offer for those who are humbly privileged to fly business on them regularly:

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Lest you think it’s all good, we’ll let you in a little secret. The food you are having onboard are probably saltier, have more pepper added to it and have a lot more aromatic spices than you would normally use when back on earth. We have read several articles on how flying “dumbs down” our sense of taste.

There is the drier air which reduces moisture in your palette while the noise is said to dampen receptiveness to sweet taste. Bitter tastes become accentuated, thus the beer is kinda funny…Hence the need to compensate. Don’t quote us, ask the chef!

Nonetheless, these innovative chefs have designed meals that seem to ‘hit the sweet spot’ as the saying goes.

And sometimes you can get some cute meals too. Such as the one we had while flying premium economy on EVA airlines from Taipei back to Singapore:

EVA TPE-SIN 1
Hello Kitty peanuts anyone?
EVA TPE-SIN 2
How can Mel ask Suan to use the utentils?