Quantcast
Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.
×

Airlander’s Blimp vs. Space Perspective’s Balloon: Which Makes for a Better Trip?

Are they worth the price of a ticket or just full of hot air?

Space Perspective Gareth Fuller/Associated Press

Exclusive air travel isn’t all private jets and helicopters anymore. In the coming years, dirigibles will make a major comeback. A massive blimp dubbed Airlander 10 will fly adventurous passengers on a frigid trip from Norway to the North Pole come 2025, and Space Perspective expects to send tourists into Earth’s stratosphere in 2024 via a balloon. Of course, the big questions is: Are they just full of hot air?

Airlander 10

Space Perspective

I’M PAYING FOR WHAT?

$79,000 for a two-person cabin for a 38-hour trip. (For comparison: A superyacht trip to the North Pole with Ariodante Travel runs at just $23,450 per person for a weeklong jaunt.)

I’M PAYING FOR WHAT?

$125,000 per seat for a six-hour journey. (It’s one of the less costly space voyages; Virgin Galactic asks $450,000 a head.)

TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS

It took a nosedive and crashed during a test flight in 2016 and in another trial run the following year in Bedfordshire. (The mooring line snagged on some power cables. Whoops.)

Airlander 10

Airlander Crash, 2016.  Lee Cordell

TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS

The balloon completed a passenger-less flight above Florida in 2021. It uses hydrogen to get airborne, though, which, while touted as the fuel of the future, hasn’t always been an unqualified success.

Hindenburg Airship

The Hindenburg airship, 1937.  Murray Becker

AS BIG AS HOW MANY PARTY BALLOONS

$2.6 Million

AS BIG AS HOW MANY PARTY BALLOONS

$36 Million

AKA

The Flying Bum. The initial design has been altered, so the balloon now looks less like an airborne rump.

AKA

The aircraft itself is called Spaceship Neptune, as in the Roman god of the sea and the far-flung planet. You’ll end up closer to the former than the latter, however, as the balloon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean.

King Neptune statute

King Neptune Statue.  Adobe Stock

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OR SPACIOUS ODYSSEY?

It’s roomy. The main cabin has 2,100 square feet of space, plus en-suite bedrooms.

Airlander Cabin

The Airlander cabin.  Gareth Fuller/AP

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OR SPACIOUS ODYSSEY?

It’s cozy. So much so that the company will help bring groups of strangers together to get acquainted prior to departure. No word yet on what icebreakers they’ll use.

Space Perspective

Inside the Space Perspective.  Associated Press

SUPERLATIVE

Longest aircraft in the world.

SUPERLATIVE

Most bulbous balloon to reach the stratosphere

OUTSIDE, ITS A CRISP?…

32°F—in summer. You can always huddle with some polar bears for warmth, if they’ll have you. (Spoiler alert: Only for lunch.)

OUTSIDE, ITS A CRISP?…

-60°F. This isn’t Interstellar; you won’t want to go outside.

CHEESIEST LINE ON THE COMPANY WEBSITE

A promo video incessantly challenges viewers to “rethink” abstract concepts such as “the unreachable,” “persistence” and “the capability.”

CHEESIEST LINE ON THE COMPANY WEBSITE

The homepage touts a journey where couples “might well get hitched,” ushering in a “whole new dimension on nuptials.” So long as you don’t mind that your wedding party is made up of a ton of strangers.

INVESTORS INCLUDE

Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of heavy-metal band Iron Maiden and a pilot. The group has yet another Legacy of the Beast Tour kicking off this year, so don’t expect an onboard performance.

Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson.  Dave Nelson/AP

INVESTORS INCLUDE

Tony Robbins, an American motivational speaker and philanthropist. Time to awaken the giant space adventurer within, clearly.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins.  Brian Ach/AP

 

More Aviation