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How the Wealthy Get to the Games

London Bridge
Photo: Chris Hepburn | Getty Images
London Bridge

Fighting road traffic, squeezing onto the tube, fighting the lines to overpay for a beer? That’s not how the One Percent do the Olympics.

No, for those who can afford it, the trip goes more like this: helicopter from the private jet into the city of London; yacht from the heliport to Olympic Park; after-party at the Box Nightclub.

“We’ve had about 150 slots [booked] over the period and we expect some more,” says Simon Hutchins, general manager of the Barclays London Heliport, which is London’s only commercial destination for helicopters. “A lot of those bookings have been planned long in advance for sponsors and senior executives.”

Upon landing, Diplomat Cruises can then ferry passengers by yacht – a yacht featured in the James Bond flick “The World is Not Enough,” no less – to the East London heart of this year’s Olympic Games.

Think of it as the VIP lane, complete with martinis. An added benefit: “The river doesn’t have that [road] traffic” to do battle with, says Diplomat spokesperson Parisa Dunn.

But don’t expect to be flying down the Thames like David Beckham did on opening ceremony night; the river does impose a speed limit and so the journey to the Games takes a good hour.

This kind of service also doesn’t come cheap. The one-way yacht trip to the Games will set you back a cool £950, or about $1,600, each way. Want the boat and captain for the whole day? That will cost you £4,500 – or roughly $7,000.

Of course, that’s a drop in the bucket for many of the high-fliers who visit the Games. Consider those who are dropping $97,500 for five-night, all-inclusive Olympics packages complete with air travel by private jet; that is the service PlaneClear Partners and In The Know Experiences have partnered to provide.

That service includes “choice of either access to 3 events with the best seats possible or 5 events with second level seating” for those who want to catch the Olympics action for events like swimming, gymnastics, or equestrian. Afterwards, you get access to a “private celebrity event” at the infamous Box Nightclub in London.

At any rate, it seems competitive displays of wealth have become the latest Olympic sport.

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