If you are smart enough – and talented – and lucky enough — to be a top influencer in your field – you just might be one of 13 special people invited on Playboy’s reimagined, new, Big Bunny Jet. That’s right – the famous jet from the Seventies is taking flight again, in a new and totally creative way. The revival of the original Big Bunny airplane, one of Playboy’s most celebrated symbols of the 1970s, represents a reimagination of the jet-set lifestyle. The new Global Express serves as a (literal) vehicle for global creators––artists, influencers, thought leaders and icons––who represent free expression, style, pleasure, comfort and sophistication today. And it could possibly mean you!
The debut of Playboy’s new custom jetliner will be followed by a Big Bunny lifestyle brand featuring apparel and accessories inspired by the aircraft and the way of living it represents.
Once known as the “Mansion in the Sky,” the original 1970s Big Bunny, a custom stretch version of the DC-9 jetliner, hosted some of the biggest stars of the time, including Cher, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, LeRoy Neiman, Barbi Benton and more. Initially used to ferry passengers between Chicago and Los Angeles for recordings of Playboy After Dark, the plane became a beacon of luxury with a discotheque, state-of-the-art theater system, fully-stocked bar and gourmet kitchen. Much like the new Big Bunny jetliner, the original aircraft featured a sleek all-black exterior with Playboy’s Rabbit Head logo emblazoned on the tailfin and the same registration number, N950PB. It was retired in 1975.
A redux of one of the most recognized aircrafts to ever grace the skies, the brand new Big Bunny will continue its predecessor’s legacy as the flagship of a Playboy brand that is bigger than ever before. Providing unparalleled experiences has been part of the Playboy legacy since the magazine’s inception in 1953. The new Global Express jet will follow in the original plane’s footsteps by bringing together some of the world’s most influential artists, cultural icons and celebrities for once-in-a-lifetime dinner parties in the sky. Most importantly, the new edition of Big Bunny will serve as a platform for Playboy to collaborate with culture-shaping creatives and celebrities to drive appeal for the eponymous lifestyle brand.
As this new and beautifully redesigned Big Bunny takes off, it ushers in a new, more inclusive era of sophisticated jet-setters and culture-drivers, and serves as a beacon of pleasure, luxury, style, and play. The plane is also the centerpiece of the BigBunny lifestyle brand it represents, which includes a line of apparel and accessories inspired by the aircraft. The accompanying BigBunny collection from Playboy is designed for a new wave of travel aficionados and will include puffer jackets, cashmere blankets, silk loungewear, leather outfits and more, all soon to be available on Playboy.com and BigBunny.com in the coming weeks.
Much like the original aircraft, the new Big Bunny has a solid black exterior. Those on the ground will not be able to miss the iconic PLAYBOY masthead emblazoned on the belly underneath the jetliner. Guests inside the plane will be delighted at every turn as they encounter exceptional design elements at every turn, including bespoke furniture, china, barware, interior fixtures and beyond.
The interior design was inspired by elements of the original Big Bunny jet, and features custom-dyed cognac crocodile-embossed leather wall coverings, two different emerald natural stone countertops, custom-designed herringbone carpeting throughout the vessel, custom-dyed luxury sheepskin and leather pilots’ seats, a world-class cinema system designed by SkyTheater, and rotating artwork from the Playboy Archives. Subtle details pull together the luxurious environment of the aircraft and are reflected throughout the accompanying BigBunny collection. Passengers will enjoy custom two-tone, 70s-inspired upholstered seats complete with Playboy’s Rabbit Head logo embroidered in matching thread atop the camel leather armrests in the front cabin, two deep green mohair upholstered couches that provide a private “library look and feel” to the back cabin, and BigBunny brand cashmere jacquard blankets emblazoned with the famous N950PB tail number. Big Bunny provides a world-class luxury travel experience for everyone onboard. Should the mood for dancing strike, much like its predecessor, the aircraft quickly transforms into a discotheque featuring multicolored nightclub lights within the cabin and Bluetooth capabilities so passengers can listen to their favorite music via the plane’s entertainment system.
When it comes to drinking and dining, Big Bunny passengers will sip on Playboy’s own Rare Hare spirits from a one-of-a-kind secret pop-up bar that emerges, speakeasy-style, from the mid-cabin credenza. They will also be provided an upscale dining experience while in-flight, including bespoke tableware, including custom hand-blown artisan glassware by Asp & Hand, gold-rimmed custom Polish porcelain featuring the Playboy Rabbit Head logo, and embroidered N950PB napkins.
In an exclusive interview for Forbes.com, I spoke with Anna Ondaatje, Playboy’s VP of Global Brand & Franchise Strategy and we “hopped” on a phone call.
When does the Big Bunny jetliner launch?
The first flight is still a secret – but we really have something exciting and unusual planned. I can’t name any names but I can give you the concept – the idea is to create a once-in-a-lifetime dinner party in the sky. Including some people who have originally flown on the jet (back in the Seventies) – we’re even talking to one of our iconic Playmates. All will be revealed at the end of this November.
Where will it operate out of?
Los Angeles. Out of Van Nuys airport.
Where will the plane go?
It is a global express so it can go TransAtlantic.
How much will it cost to travel on it?
It will be invite-only and we want it to be open to icons and creatives big and small. Seeing it as a platform for collaboration for people from different backgrounds to come together icons, creative influencers and celebrities – intellectuals, thought-leaders, artists, musicians, and interesting personalities, athletes, style icons. The people shaping culture today.
How much did Big Bunny cost to build?
Can’t comment on that.
Who will cater the dinners?
Different collaborations with chefs and locals and chefs in LA. Custom china with special art or a wardrobe of different crew uniforms. The art on the plane changes out, and this idea that it is an adaptable space. The design of the plane is very adaptable – it turns into a discotheque with a speakeasy bar.
What are some of the Playboy-brand activities on board that will be included?
Dancing and Playboy playing cards, special backgammon boards, maybe even Twister. Music in the sky with dancing and relaxing. We will have a fully-stocked bar with our Playboy Rare Hare spirits ad Big Bunny cocktails – like the “Hare of the Dog” and the Mile-High Martini.
Will there be beds on onboard?
A space in the back converts into a travel bed area as needed for longer flights. There’s a back cabin with divans that can convert into beds for overnight flights. They’re incredible comfortable. We have limited it to 13 people to maintain the specialness of the experience. Plus two pilots and one or two crew members.
Why is Playboy Enterprises doing this?
The “big picture” answer is that hospitality and parties and creating unique experiences are part of the Playboy legacy. The idea of creating unique experiences is how to build relationships with brands today. It allows us to have content creators engage with the brand today – it is valuable to us as a brand. We wanted to create live experiences. Big Bunny is an exciting part of our brand’s heritage. We wanted to do it in a way that is fresh and interesting, that people would want to be part of. At the end of the day– it is a flying billboard for our new BigBunny brand and that is all about fashion and travel and lifestyle products. It represents traveling in sophisticated style without sacrificing comfort – for the modern-day jet set. The plane is a launching board for an entire business.
So, dear readers, get on your A-game as an influencer and you just might receive a special invite!