The idea came to Curt Larson earlier this month when he read TPG’s story about Airbus auctioning off parts of an A380 that once graced the skies.
Sure, the aircraft manufacturer had plenty of items on sale worthy of an AvGeek’s admiration, but it was that bar from an Emirates business class cabin, he felt, would be quite something to have on display.
“It’s just sort of the provenance and the history of this bar,” he said. After all, he’d previously had a chance to see a similar bar on a past trip aboard Emirates — a marquee part of the Dubai-based carrier’s premium service. Combine that with what appears to be a finite future for the superjumbo, and owning a piece of the iconic aircraft seemed to be a worthy investment.
Larson figured he’d have no shot at winning, though. After all, Airbus planned to open the bidding at 20,000 euros — equivalent to about $20,000.
“I felt like it was going to go for a lot,” he said.
Fast forward a few weeks, and Larson’s shock that he did, in fact, win has given way to in-depth planning: How to get it to the U.S., and how it will figure into an eventual home rental that’s sure to be at the top of an AvGeek’s list once available.
A winning bid
While Larson had little expectation he’d contend for the premium cabin relic, he began to feel a glimmer of hope when bidding for the Emirates bar opened with little fanfare. Then the auctioneer lowered entry bids by 5,000 euros (about $5,000), Larson said.
“Still, no one was bidding,” he said.
So it went down to 10,000 euros (approximately $10,000), which was good enough for him.
“I had started to bid a little bit,” he explained. The bids began to climb … but quickly slowed as the number approached 15,000 — which Larson decided would be his ceiling.
“I was like, let me just try €15,100,” he said. “I was having total buyer’s remorse already.”
A gavel banged, and the auctioneer called out something in French — which Larson didn’t understand, not speaking French. But then he heard his name.
“What have I done?!” he thought. “How am I even going to get this thing to the United States?”
Future plans for the bar
As Larson’s winning bid has sunk in over recent weeks, so, too, has the realization his costs may well double by the time he gets the bar shipped to the U.S.; a process he expects could take months.
As personal a victory as his bid seems, though, it’s one you may someday be able to enjoy, too.
Larson plans to buy a property in Palm Springs, California, which he’ll lease out as a short-term rental. “My plan is, this will be a significant part of the marketing appeal,” he said. “This will help us rent our place.”
Yes, someday you might be able to surf Airbnb, and track down a rental property at which you can enjoy a drink (or as many as you’d like) at a bar that once served customers at 30,000 feet.
“It’s a chance to hang out at this bar for as long as you want,” Larson said.
Whether a trip in Emirates business class is an aspirational, future redemption or you’d like to relive a past travel highlight, it’d certainly be a stay to remember.
Buyer’s remorse fading
As he negotiates the complicated shipping process for his big-ticket purchase, it’s clear Larson’s buyer’s remorse is beginning to wear off. “This bar was actually on a plane that flew all over the world,” he marveled. “I find it really cool.”
He’s promised to share photos once it arrives, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for that future home rental listing.
After all, he said, “There are definitely bigger aviation geeks than me.”
We may even know a few of them.