Everything You Need to Know About Private Jet Etiquette

Posted August 26, 2021 in Aviation by Doug Gollan

With private jet travel hitting record levels, more clients are flying privately and buying private flights for the first time. In some cases, you might be a guest. In other instances, you may have just bought a jet card or rented a private airplane to fly to your next yacht charter. To make sure you are welcomed back – and avoid expensive post-flight charges – here is our private jet etiquette 101.


A benefit of flying privately is being able to show up shortly before takeoff – ideally between 30 and 40 minutes before departure. At airports with lots of private flights, there can be five or six FBOs, sometimes located at opposite ends of the field. In some cases, the lounge is part of hangars and offices, so your driver may need a few extra minutes to figure out where you should be dropped off, or find the entrance gate if you are able to drive planeside. At peak periods, FBOs can be busy. You might have to wait a few minutes for desk staff to be available. Then once you provide the tail number (keep it handy – that’s how they identify your aircraft) they have to locate your pilots. They are likely in the lounge area, but also could be out at the airplane making final preparations.

If there is a lot of luggage and your group is arriving in two or three different cars, it can take a few minutes to get everything loaded. Flight crews have daily duty limits and may have a flight after yours. Many charter contracts call for extra charges if you are late, but don’t embarrass yourself by getting there two hours early to allow plenty of time for security and some discount shopping at duty free – 40 minutes before should give you plenty of time.

People on a private jet drinking champagne

Don’t worry too much about dressing too smartly. Private air travel has become more relaxed but, unless it actually is a business flight, dressing as if you are going to a friend’s house for dinner, for example, is a good rule of thumb. Smart casual is the way to go.

On the jet

Just as if you are visiting a friend’s home, remember that most charter jets are owned by folks like you. They rent them out when they aren’t using them. If you are going to put your feet up on a chair, cover it with a blanket. Damaging the furniture or dropping red wine on the carpet can put the jet out of service for several days for repairs and replacements. It can also mean a big bill for you. The fine print on charter, jet card and fractional contracts hold you responsible for damage, even from a guest or pets. Ripping a leather chair can cost thousands of dollars.

Top tip

If you feel like you have received good service then you should give a gratuity to the crew. Those who work in private aviation will always say “tips are never expected, but always appreciated” – which is a polite way of saying yes, you should tip.

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