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Private jet winter snow ice runway

De-Icing 101: Winter Private Jet Travel And Aircraft De-Icing

Winter can be a difficult time for private jet travel, especially when increased flight volume around the holidays is met with weather-related delays. When every minute counts in your travel, an unexpected interruption (and bill) for the de-icing of your aircraft may be the last thing you need—but as you’ll learn below, the de-icing process is essential for your safety, and Magellan Jets works proactively to make sure your winter travel goes as smoothly as possible. 

For the ultimate peace of mind, Magellan also offers de-icing insurance to new and existing Jet Card Owners. 

everything you need to know about flying private this winter

Corporate Jet taking off in the snow.

aircraft de-icing

In order to remove the buildup of ice and snow on the wings and nose and ensure safe and efficient performance, your aircraft may need to be sprayed with de-icing fluid prior to your departure. The decision to initiate de-icing is done at the discretion of your flight crew, and you may be required to deplane while the aircraft undergoes the de-icing process for your comfort and safety. How long the process takes is dependent on several factors, from weather specifics to whether or not precipitation is actively falling to which chemicals are used; it will also naturally take longer to de-ice a larger aircraft. Ultimately, the process could set you back anywhere from 5-10 minutes to 30-40 minutes; it could take even longer if there is a long line of aircraft waiting to be de-iced. 

De-icing is an extremely important and necessary safety precaution, but if you haven’t accounted for it in the course of planning your travel, it can result in unexpected delays as well as high costs. What you pay for de-icing varies depending on the FBO, the type of fluid used, the amount of fluid needed based on conditions, and the size of your aircraft, but in some instances, it can run as high as $10,000

Why is it so expensive? All airports must have a plan for limiting the deice fluid run-off, designating areas for deicing, or recapturing the deice fluid after its been used. The price per gallon is extremely expensive and even a small aircraft covered in snow and ice may require hundreds of gallons of the fluid.

Magellan Jets Flight Operations Center

how magellan mitigates de-icing delays & costs

Magellan’s Flight Support Department will always go the extra mile to make your flight experience as smooth as possible. For example, when winter conditions are in play, our aviation experts will look to place your aircraft in a warm hanger overnight, significantly lessening the likelihood that it will have to be de-iced. While this will incur hangar fees, those fees are often far less than the average de-icing bill. Taking a jet out of a hangar is also much less time-consuming than waiting on the de-icing line, which means you’ll get where you’re going faster—and be charged for less taxi time. 

Flight Support may also move to pre-position your aircraft outside of snow and ice events, allowing your aircraft to arrive warm and on time. They may suggest small adjustments to your schedule or the date of your departure to avoid inclement weather or expected traffic congestion. In some situations, they may even recommend alternate airports in order to avoid troubling weather formations. Your Private Aviation Consultant or a member of our Flight Support Team will stay in close contact with you throughout the lead-up to your flight, and will contact you to discuss your options should inclement weather be forecast in your flight path. 


purchasing aircraft de-icing insurance

When you fly private using on-demand charter, you will be billed for any de-icing required for your flight—but Magellan’s Jet Card Owners can purchase de-icing insurance, guaranteeing they won’t pay any fees for de-icing for the entire duration of their Jet Card term. De-icing insurance is priced by jet category, per 25-hour block, and begins at $2,500. 

Magellan Jet Card Owners can contact their Private Aviation Consultant for more details about De-Icing Insurance, while new guests can add De-Icing Insurance to their Jet Card using our Build-A-Card tool:

Tips for private fliers this winter

You can’t control the weather, but you can be as proactive as possible to prepare for your winter travel. Here are five of our best tips for those flying during the winter months:

#1: Plan for weather delays and disruptions

Our Flight Support Department will inform you if they believe any weather-related issues may factor into your travel, but if you’re flying into or out of a part of the country that typically experiences the effects of winter weather, it’s a good idea to expect these types of interruptions. If de-icing is a probability, adjust your departure time accordingly, as the process may take additional time and delay your takeoff. In addition, you should consider the possibility your flight may have to be diverted to a different airport if weather conditions deteriorate while you’re flying.

#2: Give us all the details about your trip

Knowing all of the details about your trip will help our Flight Support Department find the most appropriate solution for you in the event icy weather changes your flight plan. Who are you traveling with? How many passengers will be on your flight? Do you have any hotel or restaurant reservations at your destination? Are you traveling with skis? Most importantly, do you have any flexibility in your departure date or time? This and other information will help us make suggestions to help you avoid or lessen weather interruptions. 

#3: Book as far in advance as possible

As aircraft availability gets tight during Q4, we strongly suggest our guests book any and all expected travel as far ahead as possible through the New Year. When it comes to winter weather, booking early gives our team more time to source alternative aircraft options, pre-position your flight out of the way of wintry weather, and establish the best plan to mitigate delays and interruptions.

#4: arrive early for your flight

During the winter, it’s especially important to get to the FBO ahead of time—the longer your aircraft sits on the runway getting colder, the higher the likelihood it will need to be de-iced. You may be used to flexibility in private aviation regarding departure times, but during the winter season, you can help yourself stave off de-icing delays and bills by allowing extra time before your departure. 

#5: contact us with any questions or concerns about winter travel

The Magellan Jets Flight Support Department is dedicated to monitoring weather conditions and relaying information to our guests in order to mitigate the chances any surprises—weather-related or otherwise—affect their trips. They will be working around the clock and through the holidays to make sure our guests are able to enjoy quality time with their loved ones. If you have any questions about winter weather operations, if you’re concerned about weather precautions on an upcoming flight, or if you’d like to inquire about Magellan’s De-Icing Insurance, contact your personal aviation consultant, call 877-550-5387 to speak to a private aviation expert, or fill out your information below. 

want to learn more about flying private this winter?

Submit your information and our Private Aviation Consultants will contact you shortly. 

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