When you exit Arlanda Airport on the highway toward Stockholm, you’ll see a Boeing 747 on your left that looks curiously out of place.
The plane sits idle and lonely on a grass-covered mound just outside the airport perimeter, without any recognizable airline colours.
You might think the giant aircraft got lost on the way to the runway and was abandoned here, were it not for the inscription on the side: Jumbo Hostel.
Turns out this former Pan Am jumbo jet is no longer taking passengers to the skies, but will soon be accommodating them on the ground. Left inactive at Arlanda, Stockholm’s main airport, after its last owner went bankrupt, the plane was rescued by a Swedish entrepreneur looking to expand his hostel business.
“I got information about this airplane standing abandoned at Arlanda,” says Oscar Dios, who runs a hostel in Uppsala, about 30 kilometres north of Arlanda. “I thought why not try to convert it into a hostel? Since you’ve been converting boats and light houses and trains before into hostels.”
Construction crews are working through the holidays to get the 25 rooms ready for the scheduled opening on Jan. 15. Jumbo Hostel is already taking bookings.
The six-square-metre rooms are spartanly furnished, with a bunk bed, an overhead luggage compartment and a flat-screen TV with entertainment as well as flight information.
Every inch of the 350-square-metre floor space is being used. There will be a reception and small cafeteria just inside the front entrance, two rows of rooms on each side of the aisle, and showers and toilets in the rear. The bubble on top is being remodelled into a conference room with first-class flight seats.
Dios is hoping for a diverse clientele, including airport taxi drivers stopping for a coffee break in the cafeteria, business travellers needing accommodation close to Arlanda and even wedding parties looking for an unusual ceremony.
As soon as the guard rails come up, couples will be able to exchange vows on the left wing, receive a small party in the conference room and spend the night in the cockpit, converted into a bridal suite with a private bathroom.
Rates range from about $47 for a bed in a shared four-bed dormitory to $210 for a private room with a twin bed and a single bed. The bridal suite costs $513 per night.
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