An instantly recognizable silver-sided travel trailer that combines style, luxury . . . and an office in this floor plan.
By Chris Dougherty, F263059
In the RV world, there is likely no brand more iconic than Airstream. To many folks, it suggests style, class, luxury, status, global travel, and premium appointments.
But never in its 92-year history has the company been associated with the office. Welcome to the 21st century!
This is not to say that older Airstreams haven’t been used for business purposes. From restaurants and Christmas tree sales to transporting NASA astronauts to the launch pad, the silver beauties have been converted for many uses unrelated to camping.
We’re talking about an optional deluxe, ergonomic office space that Airstream designers have created for the 2023 Flying Cloud 25FB, which I recently inspected at Colonial Airstream in Millstone Township, New Jersey. This floor plan should delight any desk dweller, whether they’re cranking out spreadsheets or creating content.
The electronically operated adjustable-height desk makes this $2,950 optional office upgrade unique. At the press of a touchpad, the desk raises to standing level, lowers to countertop level, or anywhere in between. When the desk is at countertop height, the adjacent wall-mounted LED TV can act as an additional monitor (it must be folded away to raise the desk). A pop-up dual 120-volt-AC/dual USB receptacle is conveniently placed. The desk provides ample room to spread out with a computer, a keyboard, a mouse, and a pile of paperwork. Nearby windows make for a great view. The trick may be trying to concentrate on work!
The desk comes with a padded deluxe office chair clad in Ultraleather fabric (not your average box-store desk chair). A chair mat, sized for the Airstream, is also provided. The mat stores on top of one of the beds when not needed, which some RVers may find inconvenient; however, the mat does protect the vinyl floor from damage caused by repeated rolling of the chair over time.
Next to the desk are three full-slide drawers for office necessities. And, when an office setup isn’t needed, this space can add considerably to the galley counter area or serve as a catch-all for additional guests.
The Flying Cloud comes standard with Sunlit Maple cabinetry and two décor choices: Carolina Clay and Seattle Mist. In both cases, seating is clad in Ultraleather, and the units feature deluxe vinyl flooring and laminate countertops. The walls are aluminum clad, of course, as is standard in the Flying Cloud.
The rear of the unit is occupied by a 42-inch-by-97-inch dinette and lounge, which will sleep two people and seat four adults. The JL Audio stereo system is directly above, mounted in the “roof locker” (also known as an overhead cabinet) with under-cabinet speakers and a subwoofer below the door-side bench for that seat-of-the-pants feel while listening to your favorite music.
The galley is compact but efficient, featuring quality cabinets, ample countertop space, a stainless-steel sink with a Delta faucet, and a ceiling vent fan. The optional convection-microwave oven, which replaces a conventional propane oven, will make meal prep a snap. A tempered-glass stove cover folds down over the three-burner propane cooktop, creating additional space for meal prep. Cabinet space is adequate and includes a lockable pull-out pantry. Across from the galley is a Norcold 8-cubic-foot 12-volt-DC refrigerator-freezer.
The bath is located mid-coach and split in this floor plan, with the toilet and vanity on the curbside and the step-in shower on the street side. A curtain provides privacy from the galley when needed. The large, mirrored vanity offers great storage, but overall, the bath is compact, as expected in an Airstream side bath. Other amenities include a towel rack, a retractable clothesline, and a removable shower head.
In the unit I toured, the main sleeping area, up front, included 34-inch-by-80-inch twin beds; a 60-inch-by-75-inch queen-size bed with the head facing the curbside is also available. The twin-bed configuration opens up the center aisle, and the beds can be used for daytime lounging if desired. All beds incorporate a pillow-top memory-foam mattress. Storage has been well thought out here, with wardrobes, drawers, overhead cabinets, and pull-out bins under the beds. The beds are surrounded by windows, which nicely open up the view. Double-track curtains pull across all the windows and are paired with hook-and-loop fasteners.
It seems every Airstream RV gets ample attention, thanks to its gleaming aluminum skin and dark-tinted aircraft-style windows. The Flying Cloud 25FB is no exception.
As is custom, this unit has a Zip Dee awning and is offered with an optional matching window awning package ($2,000) on the street side and rear. The front sports solar window guards to protect the glass and stainless-steel rock guards below. The rear bumper doubles as a storage area for tools and accessories.
The steel chassis comes equipped with rubber torsion axles, manual crank-down stabilizers, and an electric hitch jack. Styled aluminum wheels with 15-inch Goodyear Endurance tires are mounted to hubs with Dexter Nev-R-Lube bearings (which come with a 5-year, 100,000-mile Dexter warranty) and 12-inch Dexter Nev-R-Adjust electric brakes. This system is as maintenance-free as possible, with no suspension, wet bolts, and bushings to be concerned about; no brake adjustments or repacking of the hubs are required, either.
From a systems standpoint, this Flying Cloud is offered with an optional second air conditioner ($2,200) in addition to the standard 15,000-Btu Dometic A/C unit with heat pump and a programmable thermostat. The review unit also came with an optional 300-watt Victron solar system ($2,600) to supplement the standard Progressive Dynamics PD1600 1,000-watt inverter. Customers may add their choice of batteries, which are installed by the dealer and are charged by the standard 55-amp converter. The unit I toured contained AGM batteries, although a customer may opt for lithium-ion or the less expensive lead-acid types. A 25,000-Btu propane furnace heats the interior. Also standard are a Girard tankless water heater, a multi-speed roof exhaust fan with rain sensor in the galley, and an exhaust fan in the bathroom.
Entertainment equipment is standard as well and includes a 28-inch HDTV in the living space and a 24-inch HDTV in the bedroom; both are 12-volt-DC models connected to the TV antenna with booster. The JL stereo with Bluetooth surround and subwoofer provides a nice sound in the living space.
Each Airstream is a high-end, exclusive product that requires countless person-hours to build. That said, given the desk option in two Flying Cloud floor plans, I would expect that the internet access system (premium) and even an Apple 4K TV or something along those lines would be included on the standard-equipment list. (Company officials note that Airstream adds an inverted plug and an HDMI port to all of its 2023 model-year units, so that customers can easily connect their own Apple TV or whatever device they wish with this prewired setup. In addition, Airstream Connected, a connectivity kit that extends the coverage of existing Wi-Fi networks via a high-gain, roof-mounted antenna, is available in the Flying Cloud line through Airstream’s dealer network.)
As noted above, batteries are up to the customer. The unit I toured did include absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries. Personally, I would prefer lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery technology, which provides bigger inverter capability; these batteries are available through Airstream’s dealer network, although at significant additional expense.
The Airstream product is always built of higher-grade materials and with higher design queues than other RVs. In turn, it will provide enhanced quality, longevity, and resale value compared with other RVs in its class. If you’re looking for a first-class unit in which to spend ample time on the road while keeping productive, the Flying Cloud 25FB might be for you.
SPECIFICATIONS | FLYING CLOUD
Airstream, 1001 W. Pike St., Jackson Center, OH 45334; (937) 596-6111; www.airstream.com
2023 Flying Cloud
25 feet 11 inches
9 feet 9 inches (with A/C)
6 feet 7.5 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT
5,600 pounds (with propane and batteries)
875 pounds (with propane and batteries)
NET CARRYING CAPACITY
Goodyear Endurance ST225/75R15
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 35 gallons;
black water — 40 gallons
(2) 30-pound steel tanks
30-amp with (1) 15,000-Btu A/C, standard; 50-amp with (2) 13,500-BTU A/Cs, optional
25,000-Btu furnace, ducted
(1) 15,000-Btu with heat pump, standard; (2) 13,500-Btu with heat pumps, optional
3 years limited
MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
$107,000 before optional upgrades