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10 Things to Know About Private Jet Etiquette

black woman sitting in private jet holding a tablet

It is okay to admit that you are a bit nervous about your first trip on a private jet. After all, for most people, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you need to make a good impression.

If you have been invited to fly on the jet by someone else, it is even more important that you behave correctly.

So, before you take off on your first trip, here are a few jetiquettes you need to know.

Dress the part, feel the part

It is very easy to get carried away or even deceived by TV shows that portray private jet dress etiquette as non-existent. While this is true in theory, you are still expected to look a certain way when flying on a private jet.

Showing up in pajamas for a night flight, for example, is an absolute no-no! Even though you won’t be turned away, you definitely would get puzzled looks at the private airstrip.

The key to dressing right on a private jet is to always look your best, and make it look effortless. No need for excessive jewelry, or even the most expensive item in your wardrobe. Look great, be comfortable and be yourself. 

Don’t be late

Just because you don’t have long check-in lines or long-winded security protocols to get through does not mean you should show up late. This is especially important if you are not the only person on the flight, and you certainly can’t afford to do that if you were invited.

Forget being fashionably late, that’s just poor manners. However, if it is only you on the private jet and you are running late, call the charter company.

As long as they are informed of any schedule changes, the pilot will be able to contact air traffic control and get you ready to fly at the right time.

Private Jet

Pack smart

Most first-time private jet travelers believe they are entitled to all the luggage they want because of how much they are paying for the charter experience. This would be similar to saying you can use a Rolls Royce to tow a mega-yacht simply because the Rolls Royce was expensive. Private planes have strict luggage restrictions, and there is no getting around them.

Responsible air charter companies will let you know how much luggage you can carry, and the dimensions, in order not to burden the plane, which could lead to an accident.

The size of the cargo hold will also determine the size of the bags you can carry. So, before you arrive at the airport, please do get the required information.

Be polite to the crew

It is easy to get carried away by all the glitz and glamour of flying on a private jet, and people have been known to start acting spoilt. But, before you start having airs and graces, remember that the cabin crew and pilots are an essential part of the travel experience.

While they will gladly pander to your every whim (within reason), they should also be treated with the utmost respect.

Once you are in the air, you could probably get away with almost anything, but that would probably be the last time you can use that charter service or any of its affiliates.

Choose your seat last

When you get in the cabin, resist the impulse to call ‘dibs’ on your favorite spot. The host should always choose first. An easy way to prevent any embarrassment is to walk on last, after the host. If it is your charter or your private plane, then you can choose anywhere you like except for the cockpit!

If you are invited into the cockpit after you reach cruising altitude that is great, but do not insist on it as your right.

Don’t pretend you fly private all the time

There is no need for pretense when traveling on a private jet. Even frequent flyers had a first time. Feel free to be amazed and express your excitement to the crew and other travelers.

While this might seem awkward, the last thing you want is to pretend you are a regular flyer and be caught in a lie.

However, just because you are being honest does not mean you should get too carried away and end up jumping up and down in excitement.

Enjoy whatever is onboard

Different private jet charters have different rules, but usually, you are allowed to eat and drink anything on board. Whatever has been stocked was put there for your pleasure. If you are unsure about anything, ask the cabin crew.

It is, however, useful to remember that you are on a private plane, not a private bar. Drink responsibly. Getting rowdy on a jet is not an experience the charter company will soon forget, especially if you make a mess or damage property. And yes, you will be asked to pay for any damages.

Respect the privacy of other flyers

Being on a private plane offers you the ultimate selfie opportunity and is sure to make your followers on Instagram jealous. However, just because you fancy it does not mean the other flyers do too.

Some people fly on jets to maintain their privacy and will not appreciate seeing their pictures on social media without their permission.

Do not disturb the pilot

This was hinted at earlier, but it deserves special mention. Depending on the flight you are on, the pilots may or may not be able to converse with you before takeoff. If you would like to speak with them, politely ask their permission and try not to be upset if they refuse.

Pilots are absolute professionals who enjoy spending time with curious flyers. They do, however, have regulations to abide by, and tight schedules.

Don’t forget to tip

Really? Yes, really. As much as no pilot or cabin crew would necessarily expect you to tip or look down at you for not tipping, it is polite and a favored practice. They did, after all, just offer you exceptional service, so it is only fair to tip.

Plus, according to some, no tip attracts bad karma.

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