Jetiquette: The unwritten rules of private jet travel

From knowing the lingo to arriving in style, here's what you should know before you charter your next private jet...

With interest in on-demand private jet charter on the up and up, it’s more important than ever to embrace proper jet-etiquette — or, as we like to call it, ‘jetiquette’. Whether you’re island hopping in the Caribbean this winter, heading to warmer Balearic climes or gearing up for Alpine slopes, flying privately and on-demand is the only way for a stylish gentleman to travel.

But, as with any luxury, this one comes with a set of unspoken rules. Thank the heavens, then, that leading jet charter marketplace Fly Victor have helped us compile jetiquette tips for your travels. A unique mix of high-tech and high-touch customer service, Fly Victor regularly flies royals, global A-list celebs and major business leaders around the world — meaning they’re better placed than anyone to give us this ultimate insider’s guide.

1. What happens in the air stays in the air

Just as Maritime Law governs the open sea, Sky Law governs the great blue sky. Of all the unwritten rules of jetiquette, this may be the most important — silence is golden. Anything goes in the air, but if you squeal any private plane party secrets, don’t expect a return flight home.

Jetiquette: The unwritten rules of private jet travel

2. Know the lingo

Don’t talk about “taking a jet” — instead say you’re “arranging to fly.” That’s fairly self-explanatory. Other bits of jargon may not be. “YOM”, for example, means Year of Manufacture. When fliers talk of “refurb dates”, meanwhile, they’re essentially referring to the condition of both the interior and the exterior, and when it was last updated (older aircraft are reconditioned every five to eight years, so always request recent images if you are quoted on an older jet.)

“Seating config” is useful to talk about, too: Some aircraft may say they seat 6, but only are really comfortable for 3 or 4 passengers. Fly Victor is the only service to provide operator and aircraft details before you fly (including specific tail numbers and cabin layouts), ensuring the jet you choose meets the exact requirements of your trip.

3. Timing is everything

On-demand charter means flexibility — the beauty of private jets is that they fly on your time. This means that you don’t need to arrive at the airport 2 hours early, as you would for a commercial flight. Arrive 20 minutes before, just in time to grab a coffee and be greeted by the pilot.

Jetiquette: The unwritten rules of private jet travel

4. Look sharp

Remember that you’re flying a private jet, not attending a slumber party. The private jet terminal is often frequented by the business elite and globally famous and provides an opportunity to rub shoulders with some very interesting people indeed. Remember: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

5. Be aware of incidentals

In every private jet contract you will see a clause regarding possible extra charges. Some, like catering, are expected; others like cleaning fees or de-icing (it is a legal requirement to remove all snow and ice from an aircraft before takeoff) may be a surprise if you’re new to private jet charter.

If you fly with a pet that sheds or a heavy smoker you might be charged for cleaning costs. If you fly in icy conditions and airport crew spray the jet down with de-icing fluid there will be a significant charge depending on how much they use. Victor prides itself on ease and transparency of service but make sure you understand the ins and outs before take-off — stress-free travel underpins the perfect jetiquette experience.

6. Luggage

A major perk of flying privately is that, usually, all of your luggage can travel on the aircraft with you. This means avoiding the lines at security and additional fees as per commercial flying. Luggage capacities vary by aircraft, so while a Cessna Citation Mustang is ideal to jet to business meetings, it is not big enough to hold numbers of shopping bags from a trip to New York, or skiing equipment from a weekend in Courchevel. Do your homework beforehand, so you arrive in seamless style.

7. Come on, come all

Jetiquette: The unwritten rules of private jet travel

Fly Victor doesn’t charge any membership fees, or hidden costs, even for extra passengers, and you’re chartering the jet not individual seats. So bring as many friends as the plane holds. Fly Victor also welcomes pets to “furs class” — so grab your fur ball and plop him/her right on your lap where they can comfortably stay for the entire flight.

8. Keep calm (and drink the Dom)

Private jets are built differently to commercial aircrafts, with the most obvious difference being the size. While this may be unsettling to some, there’s no room for nervous fliers in this elite club. So if small spaces or turbulence trigger your jitters, don’t hesitate to do whatever necessary to ease anxiety prior to take-off (we recommend a glass or two of vintage champagne).

Jetiquette: The unwritten rules of private jet travel

Fly Victor

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Looking for more etiquette advice? Read our A-Z of being a gentleman…

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