With knee defenders causing tempers to boil over on airline flights, onboard etiquette is a matter of much debate at the moment. The seat pitch onboard a private jet definitely means your knees escape unscathed, but there are other dos and don’ts when it comes to the etiquette rulebook for private flights. Private jet travel is a lot more relaxed than many people think. It’s all geared around the client, so it’s hard to go far wrong. But there are some unspoken rules that frequent fliers observe, which can ensure that first time private jet customers – especially those flying as a guest of someone else – can avoid making the wrong impression.
Here are our ten tips for good private jetiquette:
1. What (not) to wear?
If you’re travelling on business, the usual dress code applies. But if you’re travelling for leisure, then avoid being too overdressed. Private jet fashion is all about not trying too hard.
2.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 tag any other passengers, it’s called private aviation for a reason).
3. Always let your host board the aircraft first, 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.
4. Be demanding (nicely). Ask upfront for anything that will make your trip more enjoyable – whether it’s music, magazines, a favourite herbal tea, or organic dog food. It’s a bespoke flying experience, so make it your own.
5. 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 ringtones. Many private jets have wifi, so you can work or catch up while you fly.
6. Petiquette applies too. You can take your pets in the cabin, but make sure they’ve been groomed beforehand. No one wants dog hair or muddy paws on the upholstery.
7. Talk to your pilots. There’s no locked cockpit and the crew will welcome you to the flight deck. Tip your pilot if you think they did a good job, it’s not expected but it’s quite normal and the crew will appreciate the gesture.
8. 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 from the aircraft steps. If you forgot to arrange a car, ask your pilot to radio ahead and order a taxi for you.
9. Practice good bathroom manners. Visit the loo 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 embarrassment you would much rather avoid. Some very light jets do not have a toilet at all.
10. Don’t carry your own bags. It’s not expected and that’s what the ground crew are for. And turn up 15 minutes late (because you can).