The private aviation industry is soaring at the moment with increased bookings and offerings in the aftermath of Covid, as well as an influx of new pay-per-seat, on-demand private jet services arriving on the market. Whether you’re flying private for the first time or the fiftieth time this summer, or simply curious as to how it's done, good manners are always the ticket. So what's the secret to passing yourself off as a seasoned pro?
'Always respect the owner,' says Marine Eugène, European Managing Director of Flexjet. 'It’s a little bit like when you’re invited for dinner…[Owners] may not put your name on the seat, but they have an idea of where they want you to sit, so typically the club, the four seats at the front, are always reserved for the owner of the aircraft because they can see the captain and the crew from there, and they can communicate. When they invite you on board, they’ll direct you on where they’d like you to sit.'
Have your coffee while you’re still on the ground. 'Even though we do a very good job at Flexjet (and we do have Nespresso machines on board), I always recommend to our passengers to have a good coffee on the ground,' says Eugène. 'Historically, it can be a bit difficult to get the right temperature and the right foam for a good coffee at that altitude level.' The other thing to do before boarding while you’re still on terra firma? Use the bathroom. 'This one goes without saying,' says Eugène. 'Even though we have fully enclosed lavatories and it’s beautiful, you’re [still] in a private jet with your guests around, so if you want to refresh yourself, do it on the ground.'
'Once you’re in the cabin, be aware that you can hear everything. So, no gossiping at the back because the cabins are incredibly quiet,' says Eugène. Unlike a commercial jet there's very little engine noise to drown out loud chatter.
'Soft bags, please,' says Eugène when asked about what kind of luggage is best for private jets. 'You can pack a luggage compartment with soft luggage because they’re flexible. Those solid, commercial airline bags, like trunks on wheels, are great to protect your bags on commercial flights because they’re going to be thrown from the luggage compartment, but that’s not what’s happening in our world. We take extremely good care. In fact, most of our customers come with soft [garment bags] and suit-hangers.'
While tipping is de rigueur in certain sectors of hospitality (yachting, housekeeping, etc.) there’s no clear-cut rule for tipping when flying private. Tips are certainly not expected or considered the norm; however, it’s usually okay to be generous.
Be careful what you share on social media. '[Owners] want to protect their life, and they don’t want people to start to trace them. You should never photograph [and post] the tail number of the aircraft because it’s a public registry and anyone can go and have a snoop on public records and find out what is the aircraft, who is the owner, where are they flying, and you can put a track on flight radar. So, if it’s your own aircraft, you don’t want everyone to know,' says Eugène. There are plenty of other things to photograph and post, like the interior cabin, the nose of the aircraft, and the incredible aerial views.