8 Things to Expect When Flying Private for the First Time

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Flying privately is increasingly popular due to many factors, like minimizing exposure to illness, avoiding commercial travel complications and getting improved accessibility. 

If you’re new to this method of transportation and are considering booking a flight, you might not know what to expect. 

A private flight offers incredible amenities that might lead you never to book commercially again. Here are some things you should know if you’re a first-time private flier. 

1. No Security Screenings 

Private flights don’t require standing in long lines to check your luggage. You won’t have to spread your limbs in a scanning booth while multiple officers look at you suspiciously before you board your flight. 

Security is necessary on airlines, but private jets aren’t as intense with their screenings. You may have to undergo standard procedures, such as examining your luggage and showing identification. However, there aren’t any liquid volume restrictions like on commercial flights, and you won’t have to remove your shoes and jewelry.  

2. Arrival Times Are Flexible

Since you don’t have to go through such a vigorous checkpoint before you board, your arrival time is much more flexible. Private jets have safety procedures and regulations that are kept up to date to ensure passenger safety. 

The accident rate is extremely low with two-person crews, coming in at 0.07 over 100,000 hours in 2010. Since private jets are maintained so well and your flight is exclusive to your private party, their arrival times aren’t as strict. Some airlines allow you to arrive as little as 30 minutes before takeoff, providing flexibility in your schedule. 

3. Expect Increased Turbulence

You may feel more turbulence than on a commercial flight since private jets are smaller. However, they can cruise higher than bigger planes at 50,000 feet or above. This allows them to climb above the weather and rough air, whereas commercial planes often fly through it. 

Commercial planes can’t typically fly above 39,000 feet. Private jets are better equipped to avoid turbulence, but it can sometimes be inevitable. Turbulence might not be as likely as on a commercial flight, but it can feel more intense when it happens, so be prepared. 

4. It’s Luxurious but Expensive

Private flights provide luxury and convenience, but you get what you pay for. Many agree it’s well worth the price tag, especially if you often fly for business-related endeavors. Flying private has many advantages, but they can cost a pretty penny. You will typically be charged by the hour, but the price ranges from $1,200 to $12,000, which is a substantial difference. 

You can save money by booking with charter services that work with private airlines to find flights. You can find empty-leg flights on apps like XO, which can pair you with planes already flying empty, so you get a discounted rate. Set Jet and VistaJet are other membership subscriptions that offer flights you can book on demand. 

5. You Can Bring Pets

Commercial airlines pose many restrictions regarding bringing pets on board. One of the many advantages of flying privately is being allowed to have animals with you. Although some private planes require a pet deposit or cleaning fee, bringing your furry friends along for the ride is worth the tab. 

Often, you won’t have to keep them locked away in a carrier or small kennel — they can sit with you and fly in style. You will likely need to provide documentation and paperwork to allow them to travel with you, though. Some documents that might be required are a pet passport, proof of a microchip, vaccination records and a certificate that states they’re healthy enough for travel. 

6. You Should Dress Appropriately

Private jets do not have a dress code — you can wear whatever you like. However, dressing up your ensemble can impress your guests and show respect to the owner or person paying for the flight. 

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You’ll want to ensure you meet dress code requirements if you’re flying with business associates. Casual attire is likely appropriate with family and friends, but steering away from loungewear is best. Flying private is a fancy experience, so why not dress the part? Get creative and put together an outfit that’s stylish, appropriate and comfortable. 

7. Spacious and Comfortable Environment

Private jets offer the most spacious and luxurious seating. They often have swivel chairs that are perfect for reclining and relaxing on the flight. You’ll have as much privacy as you want to get work done or even sprawl out and take a nap. The limited distractions make taking a private jet ideal for getting things done. 

Attendants are there to cater to your every need and can personalize your experience. You won’t have to turn off your devices, either. Most private planes offer Wi-Fi, so you can work, stream movies or shows, and relax while you fly. The intimate atmosphere also provides a chance to have meaningful conversations and even attend a videoconference if needed. 

8. Tipping Is Appreciated

Tipping your pilot isn’t customary or required, but it is definitely appreciated. Private airline travel is booming, but jet pilots aren’t as available as you may think. They are highly trained and effective at their job. The field is often small, so you’ll likely reencounter this team if you fly often. If you opt out of tipping, at least thank them on your exit from the plane. 

Imagine how stressful flying an airplane and being responsible for everyone’s safety at thousands of feet in the air can be. Some jets allow you to chat with your pilots if you wish during the flight as well — chances are you got to know them better. While tipping isn’t expected, it’s a nice gesture that your pilot will appreciate. 

Tips for First-Time Private Fliers

Private flights offer fewer interruptions and first-class service personalized to your needs. You can make specific requests before you ever board the plane. Flying privately is a unique experience that everyone should try at least once if they want to travel in style. As long as you know what to expect, you’ll likely have a comfortable and memorable experience.

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