Classic Etiquette Tips for Traveling by Private Jet: The Vintage Guide

First there was etiquette, then there was netiquette (e-mail etiquette), and now there’s jetiquette, or private jet etiquette. When flying by private jet, there are some etiquette suggestions you can follow to ensure you (and others) enjoy the experience of private aviation.

First there was etiquette, then there was netiquette (e-mail etiquette), and now there’s jetiquette, or private jet etiquette. When flying by private jet, there are some etiquette suggestions you can follow to ensure you (and others) enjoy the experience of private aviation.

If you are a GUEST on someone else’s plane

Always let your host board the aircraft first, unless you are a lady and he offers as a gentleman.

Especially if you’re a guest and it’s your first time on a jet. He or she will have a favourite seat, and you don’t want to make this your first and last invitation.

Be on time

Unlike arriving two hours early to the airport for a commercial flight, you only need to arrive at the private airport about 30 minutes before your flight.

But just because you get to enjoy the luxury of no baggage check or security lines doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on time for your flight. This is especially true if you’re sharing the flight with friends or colleagues, or if you’ve been invited on the flight as a guest.

Arriving on time will be appreciated by your captain and make sure you and your host make it to their upcoming meeting or destination.

Photos and social media

If you’re flying for business, keep it discreet. This isn’t a holiday. Flying for leisure? Snap away. If you’re a guest your host will appreciate your enjoyment (but check first before you share or tag any other passengers, it’s called private aviation for a reason).

Ask and you shall receive, but ask nicely

Ask upfront for anything that will make your trip more enjoyable – whether it’s music, magazines, or a favourite herbal tea. It’s a bespoke flying experience, so make it your own.

No need to switch off devices

You can use them freely onboard a private jet. And as the aircraft is yours, there’s no need to worry about annoying strangers with your tones and alerts. An increasing number of private jets have wifi, so you can work or catch up while you fly.

Pets can fly too

You can take your pet in the cabin on a private jet, but make sure they’ve been groomed beforehand and that you tell the cabin crew and owner of jet. No one wants dog hair or muddy paws on the upholstery and some may be allergic to cats.

Practice good bathroom manners

Visit the bathroom in the private jet lounge before you fly. As much as private jets are luxurious, they are also very quiet, which can result in social discomfort you would rather avoid. Some very light jets have only an emergency toilet facility.

Drink and eat responsibly

Savour the foods and beverages provided on your flight, but enjoy them responsibly and don’t overindulge.

This is especially true with alcohol — being drunk or boorish will embarrass your host or colleagues, and probably make this private flight your last.

Disappear quickly after landing

When you arrive at the private jet terminal you don’t want to be hanging around. The point of private jet travel is to be whisked away as quickly as possible, often from the aircraft steps. If you forgot to arrange a car, ask your pilot to radio ahead and order a taxi for you.

No fighting. Enough said.

Don’t bring drugs on the jet (yes, that’s Obama). Although it’s legal in various states and across Canada (October 17, 2018) to smoke weed/cannabis – there is a no smoking rule no matter what on aircraft and no hard drugs either. You could put both yourself and the entire crew along with guests in criminal jeopardy.

Dine and converse as if you were in the presence of a president. If your host is like a J.F.K., be conservative. If your host is more like Trump, well… anything goes.

If you chartered the flight for leisure and not business, you can kiss your significant other like this. Besides, that’s what you are paying to fly private for. To have your privacy to do the things you love with your loved ones (conversations, laughs, cuddles and kisses included!)

If you are a guest, try to keep PDA to a minimum, in case others who are there for business don’t want to be exposed to that. Use your best judgment. It’s a personal decision, but please don’t embarrass your host.

What (not) to wear?

If you’re travelling on business, the usual dress code applies. But it’s usually recommended you avoid being too overdressed on a leisure trip. Private jet fashion is all about not trying too hard. Or at least not looking like you have.

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If it’s your chartered plane

When you’re on your way to the airport, update your crew to ensure a speedy departure. Your Captain will then liaise with Air Traffic Control to ensure a swift take off.

Request anything that you want that will make the trip more enjoyable for you. Treat private aviation like a concierge service – you are paying a premium to avoid an airline experience, so don’t compromise your enjoyment. If you want it, ask for it.

When choosing a seat, sit on the right hand (starboard) side of the aircraft, facing forward. The Captain always sits on the left (port) in the flight deck, so you’ll have a great view.

Help yourself to anything on-board. It is your aircraft so you should feel at home. If it’s in a drawer, it’s there for you to enjoy!

Wait until the aircraft is in cruise before chatting to your pilots. They are there for your safety, so let them take-off before you ask about the catering. However, when the aircraft is in level flight, your pilots are your hosts – always feel free to wander up to the flight deck for a nice chat.

Don’t be embarrassed to tip the crew. While this is absolutely not expected in the industry, it is quite normal and your pilots will appreciate the gesture.

When booking your return flight, ask for the aircraft to remain on the ground between your flights. This will maximize your opportunity to leave early, if your plans happen to change, and ensures that another flight is not scheduled before your return trip which could result in knock on delays for you.

Challenge your provider to find the closest airport to your destination. There are about 5,000 airports in the US and only about 500 of them are used by commercial airlines. This means by using private aviation, you can enjoy discovering the benefits of avoiding the crowds.

Don’t pay too much! Use JetSmarter and other private jet apps to find the lowest charter prices within our global network of safe and accredited aircraft. You never know when there may be a last minute empty!

When traveling to a new destination, also ask your chartered plane for the local tips. Whether you need a hotel or to find the best restaurant in town, our local handling agents will be able to advise.

Don’t carry your own bags

It’s not expected and that’s what the ground crew are for. And don’t worry if you turn up 15 minutes late (because you can).

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