THE removal of shoes is now common practice while passing through airport security, but removing footwear prior to boarding a plane is a request unique to passengers on the private jet of Donald Trump.
Or, as I like to call it in tribute to its owner’s bouffant: “Hair Force One.”
As the last person in the last tour of Trump’s private Boeing 757, I was asked to take off my shoes as they had run out of blue bags to cover dirty footwear and, as Mr Trump said of his passengers during the press conference: “They have to be clean...and they can’t have dirty shoes.”
So, with my iPad in one arm and my Churches in the other, I prepared to experience the high life of a billionaire for exactly four minutes and 28 seconds.
First impressions: the interior is as creamy as the clouds and Heaven help he who spills his coffee during the first bout of turbulence. Even the staff’s flip down seats had a creamy, spotless lustre complemented by gold seat-belts. A fellow nosey-parker touched them and insisted they were gold plate. I was too busy marvelling at the lavish wooden tables, wide-screen TV sets and mentally measuring the leg-room.
Progressing steadily through the aircraft and conscious of the ground-rules: no touching, no sitting, I made a beeline for The Donald’s private shower, no wet-wipes at 36,000ft for him. Next door to what looked like a mini-conference room, modelled on Air Force One, was the bedroom compete with a double-bed and a monogrammed headboard.
As we departed, the captain, just as on a real flight, wished us a pleasant day. Then, at the top of the stairs, I struggled to put on my shoes and prepared to walk back down to earth.