BANGKOK — Members of the 0.1 percent have long used their vast wealth to obtain yachts, armies of servants and even laws of their choosing. But the ability to bend space and time to their will has proven elusive.
In the not-so-distant future, the global elite will be able to zip between practically any major city — London to Sydney, New York to Beijing — in a mere two hours or less.
While common travelers bump knees in economy class, chugging along at a sluggish 500 miles per hour, the extremely wealthy will travel at eight times that speed. They will blast up through the thermosphere — an atmospheric layer where gravity is far weaker — and then plummet smoothly toward their far-flung destinations.
Called sub-orbital flight, this method of travel is poised to radically alter life for, well, an extremely tiny sliver of humanity.
A feature article gushing about sub-orbital flight appears in the latest “Wealth Report,” an annual analysis by the London consultancy Knight Frank, which monitors trends for “ultra-high net worth individuals.”
By their estimate: sub-orbital commuter flights will be tested by 2017 and on sale by 2020.
The upshot: Sub-orbital flight could revolutionize the way (very, very wealthy) people live. A banker could start off his Saturday with a bagel in Manhattan, blast off to China and have dumplings for lunch in Hong Kong. Silicon Valley tech billionaires might start buying up Tuscan villas or remote Pacific islands en masse. The flight time would be cut from 15 hours to roughly two… see more