Source | Wilbur Sargunaraj / Making the Economy First Class / YouTube | 10 December 2019 5 minutes
With over 30 rooms, Jumbo Stay in Sweden is a unique hotel, which was once a fully operational Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet. It features a black box suite, cockpit suite, wheel well suites, engine rooms, a restaurant, patio on the wing and much more. Parked permanently beside Stockholm Arlanda Airport, the Jumbo Stay Hostel is every aviation enthusiast’s dream hotel.
In between catching flights during an extended transit at Arlanda Airport, Cultural Intelligence Facilitator Wilbur Sargunaraj decided to check himself into one of the 747 engines at the Jumbo stay. Wilbur spoke to site manager Sebastian Sandler to learn more about this innovative and ‘first class’ 747 hotel.
Wilbur: Hi Sebastian I am sure that so many people are incredibly curious and fascinated by this Hotel! Tell me more about the Jumbo Stay! Whose vision and idea was this?
Sebastian: The idea came from Oscar Diös who was looking to expand his hotel business in Sweden. There were no hostels or budget options around the Arlanda Stockholm airport area so Oscar jumped at the idea when he heard there was a retired aircraft for sale at Arlanda.
Wilbur: So this is a decommissioned Boeing 747-200. How long did it take to turn this into a hotel and tell us what were some of the challenges to convert this into a hotel?
Sebastian: Yes this is a 747-212B made in 1976. In December 2007 we were granted a building permit for establishing Jumbo Stay at the entrance to Stockholm Arlanda airport. In January 2008, the aircraft was moved to a construction site where the first phase of the conversion began with the dismantling of the old interior, removing 450 seats and designing rooms. The hostel was built like any house, subjected to the same demands on climate control and sound isolation. In the summer of 2008 the plane was towed to its final destination at the entrance to Arlanda where it was placed on a concrete foundation and opened for business in January 2009.
Wilbur: Could you tell us the history of this aircraft?
Sebastian: It was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 1976 registered as 9V-SQE and in 1984 PanAm took over the plane and flew it for some years under the name “Clipper Belle of the Sky” registered as N727PA. After Pan Am it went through almost 10 airlines until it’s last journey with Sweden’s Transjet in 2002.
Wilbur: Can you tell us about the different rooms you have on the plane?
Sebastian: We have everything from dorm beds, single en suite rooms, double rooms and triple rooms. We offer a luxury suite in the converted cockpit with a panoramic view of the airport and also have 2 wheel well rooms where you can stay close to the landing gear. The upper deck first class area has been converted to a conference room with first class seats and if you fancy staying in an engine try one of our four engine rooms! In total we have 33 rooms with 80 beds.
Wilbur: Sleeping inside a 747 engine must be one of the highlights! Would you say that this is your most popular room? Tell us more about the engine rooms.
Sebastian: Yes it is very popular! I also understand you booked yourself in one of them? It is actually a bit bigger than you would think. It is of course an engine but inside you have a bed, a place to store your luggage, a TV, heater, Wi-Fi and a nice view of the Arlanda Airport.
Wilbur: Yes I am looking forward to spending the night in an airplane engine! From what I see it looks amazing! So Apart from the rooms what are some of the other highlights?
Sebastian: I would highly recommend the wing walk. Take a stroll on our 747 wing and enjoy food or drinks on the patio deck. There is lot’s of plane spotting to do from here with Arlanda Airport being so close!
Wilbur: Just to clarify would you call this a hostel or hotel? You mentioned that people could share a room for reduced rates?
Sebastian: Good question! I would say its both because you can book a bed in a shared room but you can also book rooms with a private bathrooms. Our engine rooms are small so if you are staying here you have to come to the fuselage to use the washrooms but as you have noticed our washrooms are kept spotless!
Wilbur: Can you rent the entire plane for a conference or event? I am secretly looking at holding a concert here! It’s just so cool!
Sebastian: Absolutely! We’ve had bookings for the entire plane for birthdays, parties and events. Would be great to have one of your concerts or Cultural Intelligence events here!
Wilbur: How does one get to the Jumbo Stay Hotel? Also is there a specific season that you would recommend for a visit?
Sebastian: First of all you need to get to beautiful Stockholm, Sweden. Fly into the Arlanda International Airport (ARN) There is a free shuttle bus from and to the airport that goes every 15 minutes and the bus name is ALFA. It only takes 5 to 8 minutes to our dedicated JUMBO STAY bus stop from the Airport. Summer and winter both have their charm so we welcome guests any time of the year!
Wilbur: Thanks so much Sebastian! I am looking forward to sleeping in my engine room but knowing myself, I may be tempted to stay up and do some plane spotting!
Sebastian: Thanks Wilbur we really hope you have a wonderful time at Jumbo Stay and thanks for making us your home away from home while in Sweden!
For more please check out www.jumbostay.com
Wilbur is a cultural intelligence facilitator, musician, and aviation enthusiast. He works internationally using music, dance and film to help people build bridges across cultural barriers. Wilbur’s work has been featured on Airliner World, Airports International, NPR and other media outlexsts. He runs a series on his Youtube channel that is dedicated to all things aviation called “Making the Economy First Class”. For more please check out www.wilbur.asia and @wilburworldwide
Special thanks to Sari Kaijansinkko and Sebastian Sandler. Interview by Wilbur Sargunaraj.