The Luxury Travel Bible can never be accused of having its head in the clouds. Absolutely not. We aim way higher than that. And nothing is helping TLTB do this more than the anticipation of a near-space flight experience on bloon, due for lift-off between 2013 and 2015.
The founder company, zero2infinity, had us interested with its mission: 'To raise our planetary consciousness through near-space experiences'. Then we began to look at what that all meant. There are loads of super interesting facts on the web site, but TLTB gave up science at school. So, all right, imagine this: curled up in a white armchair (just the two of you, or four if you choose) inside a pod surrounded by windows; a vertical lift-off that's oh-so-smooth and silent (no jets, just clean and green helium inside a balloon); then up, up, up above those clouds, through the ozone layer until, finally, you see the curve of the earth Galilleo once saw in his soul and the thin-blue-line of the atmosphere. Here, at 22 miles (36 kilometres) above earth you are in near-orbit space and the sunny day collides with a star-filled night sky. Wow, non?
We thought so and then we found out even more. The trip takes a cruisy four hours, during which you can be served refreshments from a three star Michelin Menu. In fact, you can customise a lot of wishes with bloon - including your location. And if you're medically fit to fly on an A380, you're fit for bloon. Ok, we're hooked.
And, actually, we were only kidding about science - there are two pilots who can explain more wonders to you during your journey, or an ex pro-astronaut can be organised as your companion. But perhaps, most tenderly, we are moved by the vision of zero2infinity's founder Jose Mariano Lopez-Urdiales: to create a way for thousands of people to travel in an earth-friendly way to see our planet and return inspired to change the world. Priced at 110k euros, you can book your flight on the web site now.
Prue Rushton 10/6/10