Taking a private flight is a unique and pleasant experience that dodges many of the hassles of larger flights. You do need to do things a little bit differently to take full advantage of those differences, but there are only a few things that you need to remember if you want to have the best private flight possible.
Time Your Arrival
The best part of taking a private flight is that you don’t need to spend hours waiting at the airport before you leave. You do need to go through some basic security, but you will be able to skip most of the administrative work, and you certainly don’t need to wait for dozens of other people to board the plane.
You generally need to arrive at the airport about fifteen minutes before your flight leaves. You might be able to leave a little earlier than planned if you show up early, but that is unreliable because it depends on there being spare space on the runways and flight control being ready for it. You will almost always be better off showing up with just a little bit of time to spare so you can avoid waiting.
Try to Minimize Baggage
Private jets tend to be smaller than commercial ones, so they do not have a huge amount of spare space available. You should have enough cargo space for everything that you need for a normal trip, but you should try not to go overboard when you pack your bags. If you aren’t sure about how much you can bring, be sure to ask for guidance from the flight provider. When in doubt, err on the side of minimalism, especially if you are a guest and you do not know how many bags your host needs to bring.
Private flights are more flexible than their commercial equivalents, but you will still need to bring your ID for security reasons. You will also need to bring your passport if you intend to fly into another country. Many people who are taking their first private flight forget about these things, or assume that they do not need them, and that can cause delays or other challenges. It is best to be prepared so you can get in the air as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Try One-Way Trips
You will generally have the choice between chartering a plane on a round trip plan or as a one-way journey. The round trip will usually be much more expensive because it takes a lot of money to keep a plane in place and available, even for a single night. You can usually save a lot of money by booking a pair of separate one-way trips. That can change if you are taking a long trip with a lot of separate stops, but it is a good rule of thumb. When in doubt, ask the operator to help you figure out which option is best for you.
Private plane operators tend to be very flexible about the details of the trip. If you are running late, you can often just make a quick call and adjust the schedule to meet your new needs. It is always best to give as much warning as possible to give them time to adapt, but small tweaks are normally quick and easy. It is impossible to get that type of flexibility on a public aircraft, and you should not hesitate to take advantage of this perk to flying private when you need it.
Use the Catering
Most private flights of at least moderate length will have a catering service. Most of them will offer a continental breakfast or sandwiches, with the selection depending on the time of the flight. You can also make requests from most catering services in order to make sure that you can get something that you will enjoy. This is valuable for anyone who wants a pleasant flight, but it is vital for people with allergies or other dietary restrictions. Simply make sure that the catering staff is aware of them in advance and they can handle the rest.
Seek Supplemental Services
Your flight operator can help make your journey pleasant and productive even after you get back on the ground. Most companies will be happy to book a driver to meet you at the airport and get you to your final destination, or to help you book a good hotel. They have a lot of experience with that kind of task, so they can often get better deals or find superior services than the average person. You should bring up specific requests when booking the service if you have them, but feel free to ask the operator for suggestions to make sure that you don’t miss any potential benefits.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Nicholas Air. She regularly produces content for a variety of travel blogs.