Saudi Arabia's King Salman's grand arrival in Moscow didn't go quite as planned. As the monarch stepped off his private 747SP and onto his own air stair escalator, the gleaming white, gold, and smoked glass adorned contraption failed after moving just a few of feet. Salman, who doesn't lift a single finger for himself, just stood there waiting for his arduous journey to the tarmac just steps below to begin again.
But alas, that wasn't the case and (GASP!), the ruler of Riyadh was stranded. It took nearly half a minute for the king to come to terms with the technical tragedy and to begin walking down the gaudy conveyor. With great courage and determination he made it safely down the roughly 11 steps to the attached reception platform below.
The unique escalator system is built by TEC Huenert GmbH and really only has use for VIP clients, and likely only a very small handful at that. The system had to be transported to Russia for the King's arrival. In other words, the stairs themselves also flew private, likely aboard a separate Saudi 747 freighter. That's a big bill for roughly 16 steps.
Keep in mind that the President of the United States, who has helicopters, a motorcade, and throngs of security and staff, much of which is transported by multiple military cargo aircraft, traveling with them, doesn't even take along their own airstairs. And for people who have trouble making it up and down the steps, lift equipped airstairs are commonplace.
I guess you know you are truly king when you get your own escalator system for getting on and off your private 747. But then again, for a guy that has his own glowing world orb that gets fondled by world leaders, why not?
The king is not known for traveling light or inexpensively. Salman landed in Indonesia last Spring with 459 metric tons of luggage. That's 1,012,095 pounds. Oh and his escalator tagged along too. In total, it took 27 flights to move all his crap and his entourage to Jakarta.
Just last August the King took a holiday to Morocco, and even though The Kingdom owns a sprawling coastal retreat there, the trip still cost a whopping $100M. That makes Trump's ridiculous multi-million dollar weekend jaunts to Mar-a-Lago look dirt cheap.
We will have a full report on Salman's visit to Moscow, including what arms deals were apparently made, as well as its larger geopolitical impact coming soon.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com