No matter how many times you’ve flown commercial, there are a few particulars to keep in mind about flying private. And even those for whom flying private is second nature can sometimes use assistance in ensuring everything necessary has been squared away prior to their flight.
We touched base with Ryan Foss, Director of Flight Support at Magellan Jets, for his advice on preparing to fly private. Below, we provide the top considerations you need to check off your list before you book a private flight.
- Check for blackout dates.
Does your travel provider have blackout dates? There may be days of the year where members who own larger fractions or a higher number of hours take priority over your travel, which could alter or even scrap your travel plans. Before you make plans, check for potential blackout dates.
“At Magellan Jets, there are no blackout dates and you are guaranteed an aircraft with an equal or larger aircraft cabin to the category that you invested in,” explains Foss. “On certain high-volume days of the year, we ask that you provide a minimum of seven days notice, while on standard days, we guarantee your aircraft with just eight hours notice. At Magellan Jets, nobody takes more priority than you.”
- Consider aircraft seat capacity and range.
The number of passengers can affect aircraft’s flight range. For example, most light jet aircraft have a 6- or 7-passenger capacity. However, a full aircraft may not have the same flight time range as one carrying just two or three passengers.
“Our Members have the ability to move amongst the different aircraft categories with ease,” says Foss. “Upon review of feasibility, the Flight Support Team will make suggestions as necessary to ensure a perfect experience.”
- Know—and print—your flight itinerary beforehand.
“The two most important items on the flight itinerary for you to know prior to heading to the airport are the FBO (Fixed-Base Operator) and the tail number of your aircraft,” explains Foss. “The FBO is the terminal that you will be departing from. This building is not typically located in the same area as the airline terminal, which allows you to avoid the heavy curbside traffic.”
When you arrive to the FBO, you should check in at the front desk and provide them your tail number. You’ll then be introduced to your pilots, who will escort you out to the aircraft.
- Know your point of contact for last-minute changes.
Things can evolve quickly when you’re traveling, and you may need to change your plans or arrange last-minute accommodations. If you land and find that you need to hire a car service or make unforeseen changes to your itinerary, you may instinctively turn to the one in charge: the pilot. However, the pilot is not the proper source of assistance for changes to your on-the-ground travel plans.
Instead, you should contact your flight provider. They should provide a live hotline for you to call, with agents on standby to assist in providing whatever you may need. “Magellan Jets staffs a full-service Flight Support department—we’re here 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” assures Foss.
The Flight Support Team can be reached directly by calling (844) 316-6972 or via email at FlightSupport@MagellanJets.com. “For our Members, these two methods of communication can also be utilized when booking your travel,” Foss shares.
- Understand how security works when flying private.
Unsurprisingly, security doesn’t work the same way for travelers flying private as it does when taking a commercial flight; for example, when flying privately, the security checkpoint is exclusive to passengers departing from that specific FBO. Travelers need to prepare to clear security differently from the way they would when flying commercial.
Foss breaks it down in simple terms. “Once you provide your full name and date of birth to the Magellan Jets Flight Support Team, each passenger is cross-checked with the TSA no-fly list. Upon meeting your crew on the day of departure, they will ask you to present your driver’s license or passport (if the trip is international).” Keep in mind that you may still be required to pass through a metal detector before being escorted onto the ramp.