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PASSPORT

HOW TO FLY PRIVATE: 10 TIPS FOR BEGINNER PRIVATE JET PASSENGERS

MOLLY HOTTINGER

WWW.MERCURYJETS.COM

Perks of Flying Private

Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, a privately chartered flight offers flexibility and time-saving conveniences unmatched by commercial jetliners. Passengers of private jets can access small regional airports to avoid the hassle of traveling through large city hubs, including long security lines and traffic. Even seasoned travelers who are transitioning to privately chartered jets have questions, so we’ve put together some tips to help familiarize you with the perks of flying private.

Can I drive up to my private jet?

Yes and No. When flying private, you can avoid the hassle of driving around congested airport parking garages to find a parking spot. You must first check in with security and then your provider can drive you directly to your jet. Or, if you prefer, you can have your car brought to you to drive up to the aircraft for boarding. You can not drive from home to the tarmac.

Arrival Time: When should I arrive at the airport?

Private flight passengers do not need to arrive hours before their flights. However, to ensure a speedy departure, remember to keep your provider updated, especially if you expect to get to the terminal more than 15 minutes before your scheduled departure time. Your crew will be coordinating with Air Traffic Control, and communication helps ensure your flight will depart without delay. Depending on airports, you may only need to wait between 5-30 minutes to board your aircraft. If you were invited on the flight, be sure to arrive as early as possible.

Travel attire: What should I wear when flying on a private jet?

While there are no formal dress codes to adhere to when flying private, your attire should reflect the nature of your flight and with whom you are flying. If you are flying with friends and family, casual attire, even jeans are appropriate. If you are on a business trip with a client or traveling as a guest, business attire is appropriate. Ladies may find it much more comfortable to wear low heels or flats, especially as the aircraft movement in flight can make it challenging to keep your balance.

Identification: Do I need to show my ID at the airport?

During the process of arranging your privately chartered flight, you’ll need to provide a valid driver’s license (or passport, if you are flying to an international destination). Your provider will advise if obtaining a Visa is required. Your provider will create a passenger manifest to document passengers on the flight. Upon your arrival at the FBO, your provider will check your credentials. Passengers can be added or subtract on the manifest up until your flight's departure, as long proper identification is presented. Of course, forgetting your ID will delay your trip, so be sure to bring it.

Luggage: How much baggage can I bring on a private jet?

There are no baggage restrictions on private flights, however, with several passengers, space for luggage can become very limited. Bringing a small roll-on is advisable. Different aircraft have different cargo capacities. If you have any questions about baggage or special cargo, speak to your provider ahead of time to ensure a smooth flight.

 

Chatting with the Pilots: Can I talk to the pilots while in flight?

Having a chat with the pilots is completely acceptable once the jet has safely reached cruising altitude.

Seating: Is there a protocol for seating on a private flight?

While there are no assigned seats on a private aircraft, if you are flying as a guest, remember to allow your host to choose his or her place first. If you are unsure where to sit, ask your host. The idea is to maximize the time onboard to conduct business as efficiently as possible.

 

Alcohol: Is there a complimentary bar on private flights?

Onboard catering is a significant advantage of private charter passengers. Although many executive jets include a full complimentary bar, it is advisable not to overindulge, especially if you are in the company of a business group as a guest.

 

Lavatories: Is there a restroom aboard private jets?

Depending on the configuration of your private jet, you may have a semi-enclosed or fully enclosed lavatory. Even though light jets are used for short routes, most offer fully enclosed lavatories. Medium and Super-Sized private jets have fully equipped lavatories. Some aircraft also have a “belted lavatory” which allows them to carry an additional passenger. Private jet lavatories have hardwood swinging or bi-fold doors. If you are concerned with privacy, you can discretely request aircraft specifications when arranging your flight.

 

Tipping: Is it appropriate for me to tip my pilot and crew? No guidelines exist for tipping private charter pilots and crew. Some companies forbid their employees from accepting gratuities. If your pilot and crew exceed your expectations, you may instead let them know how much you appreciate what they did for you instead of a cash tip. Working in the service industry for anyone can be challenging, so speaking up when service is excellent is essential. If you want to extend a gratuity, $50-$300 per flight is appropriate.