Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most famous living operatic tenor, is suing a private jet company in the United States over allegations he was provided with ‘old’ and ‘noisy’ jets and that a pilot and flight attendant warned him to expect a “very bumpy” flight after a turbulence forecast.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the Italian singer filed the lawsuit against the aptly named Private Jet Services Group based in New Hampshire for breach of contract and misrepresentation after paying the company nearly $600,000 for private jets for his 2021 US tour.
Much of the lawsuit focuses on Bocelli’s so-called ‘jet rider’, which laid out the specific requirements that Bocelli demanded of the private jets he was to fly on. As a nervous flyer, Bocelli’s lawyers say this rider was designed to “ensure optimal air travel conditions” and to “minimize the stress” that Bocelli had to endure.
Specifically, Bocelli demanded that long-haul flights be serviced by a Dassault Falcon 7X or Falcon 8X, while short domestic trips up to five hours could be on a Falcon 900EX or Falcon 2000LX.
Whatever aircraft was used should not have been any older than four years because older planes were noisier. Bocelli also believes that newer aircraft “provide a higher standard of safety in air travel and lessen the impact of stress brought on by long hours of air travel”.
His booking agent, Klassic Music Management, “repeatedly emphasized” the need for specific aircraft models in light of Bocelli’s blindness and “heightened sensitivities to airplane noise during air travel”.
The lawsuit claims Private Jet Services outlined in a proposal that Bocelli’s preferred aircraft types would be used alongside some older and smaller aircraft. Bocelli ended up signing a statement of work for 15 flights costing $569,800 that listed an older Falcon 2000 aircraft would be used.
On December 2, 2021, Bocelli and his wife flew from Santa Ana to Cleveland for the fourth leg of his US tour when he was provided with a Falcon 2000 and not the Falcon 2000LX that he had been expecting.
The aircraft had been manufactured in 1996 and had too few seats to accommodate all of Bocelli’s family members, the lawsuit claims. Despite being briefed not to make inflight announcements, both the pilot and flight attendant reportedly announced that there would be turbulence and to expect a “very bumpy ride”.
A couple of days later, an account manager at the private jet company said they were working hard to find a suitable replacement aircraft but that newer Falcons were in short supply. A day after that, the lawsuit alleges Private Jet Services “unilaterally and abruptly” cancelled the Falcon 2000 jet leaving Bocelli without a ride.
In the end, Bocelli’s team had to scramble to find another company that could provide private jets for the remaining dates of his tour at a cost of more than £300,000.
Bocelli is claiming an unspecified amount in compensatory damages in the suit filed in District Court for New Hampshire.
But in a recently filed counterclaim, Private Jet Services denies it cancelled the Falcon 2000 and says Bocelli scrubbed the remainder of the planned flights on the Falcon after becoming “dissatisfied with the weather and the help”.
In fact, the company is now suing Bocelli’s team to recover monies it claims it is owed. Private Jet Services says it is $22,130 out of pocket after Bocelli failed to pay the whole balance of a flight between Teterboro and Van Nuys provided on a Falcon 7X
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.