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Magellan Jets private jet FAQs podcast

From the Cockpit Episode #23: Private Jet First-Time Flyer FAQs

On episode 23 of From the Cockpit, Magellan Jets Chief Operating Officer Todd Weeber and Director of Flight Support Ryan Foss return to the podcast to chat about frequently asked questions from first-time flyers about private jet travel. Tune in and get all the answers to the most popular questions about the business aviation experience.


What’s the difference between on-demand charter and fixed rate programs?

Private jet charters typically involve sourcing aircraft through the on-demand market, which are usually paid for by the hour. Unlike fixed rate programs, pricing can vary based on market conditions. Additionally, should a trip run late or an aircraft needs to be swapped due to maintenance, the liability is essentially on the client and someone to work with them to resolve the situation.

Fixed rate programs like jet cards or memberships with Magellan Jets mitigate the risks and variance in pricing of charter travel by providing transparent and guaranteed hourly rates to guests, as well as other benefits liked guaranteed back-ups, carbon offsetting options and more.

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What is an FBO?

An FBO is a fixed-base operator, a building or terminal where guests board their aircraft. If located at an airport that also has commercial airline service, the FBO can be found in a completely separate and private building or terminal for business aviation use.

When should I arrive for a flight?

For domestic travel, we recommend arriving 10 to 15 minutes prior to departure. Upon arrival, your flight crew will review the identification materials of each guest, such as driver’s licenses, ensuring everything aligns with their manifest for the flight. For international travel, 20 to 30 minutes in recommended, so the crew can review the required international documentation for each guest, such as passports.

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How much luggage can I bring on a private jet?

The amount you can bring for a flight depends on several factors, including the size of the aircraft, how many guests will be traveling, as well as the type of baggage being used. Additionally, we recommend travel with soft-sided luggage as much as possible, since this will help maximize the baggage area since suitcases tend to take up more room.

Meanwhile, on larger cabin aircraft, the luggage compartment is often pressurized and accessible from the cabin, so you don’t have to think about packing a separate carry-on bag. However, on most lighter jets, baggage is located in an external compartment no accessible from the cabin, so a carry-on bag is recommended. If you ever need assistance, the Magellan Jets Flight Support team is available 24/7 to help with planning baggage for a trip and find the right aircraft to fit the needs of a specific mission.

How do I find the right aircraft for my flight experience?

Just because a jet can seat six guests doesn’t mean that an experience will be pleasant if you’re at maximum passenger capacity (especially if every brings along bags). There are several factors that can affect your private jet flight experience, which is why it’s important to consult with the Flight Support team to find the right aircraft that can accommodate all of your needs. Let them know in advance how many guests are coming and what the baggage situation is so they can help find the perfect aircraft to comfortably seat everyone.

How does customs work?

Magellan Jets works with Magellan Jets Preferred Network operators to file customs to utilize the passport information your provide to us to work through and make that arrival as smooth as possible. For example, if you’re headed to island destinations, we have relationships with customs agents there.

In the wake of COVID-19, most countries also have health form, testing requirements and other restrictions in place. The Magellan Jets team has a database of experts and will do all the research on your behalf, so you and your guests are well-aware ahead of time on what’s needed in order to visit specific destinations.

How does catering work?

Serving as your trip concierge throughout your entire experience, Magellan Jets is happy to arrange catering onboard. Just let the Guest Experience team know what you and your guests would like to eat and drink, and they’ll take care of the rest.

How does ground transportation work?

Magellan Jets can also arrange ground transportation for your arrival and departure, as we have extensive relationships with rental vehicle vendors and chauffeur services. Additionally, at many airports, vehicles are allowed to pick up guests plane side, meaning you can hop into your rental vehicle or chauffeured ride directly after exiting your jet.

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What are blackout days?

Some private jet companies utilize blackout days, or dates where flying is not allowed, access to an aircraft is not guaranteed or other restrictions on flying are put in place. With some companies, your hourly rate on these dates may not be guaranteed, access to specific aircraft may be prohibited, your trip may be moved and you may have to pay more in order to fly on those dates. However, none of Magellan Jets’ programs include blackout days, meaning you always have a guaranteed solution ready to go, no matter the date or time of year.

What are peak travel days?

Peak travel days, or high volume days, are dates during the year that are busy with a large amount of flight activity, such as the holiday season. On these days, some private jet companies enact surcharges for flying during peak travel, as well as other restrictions. At Magellan Jets, though, there are no surcharges for traveling on peak days whatsoever.

What should I expect going into my private jet flight?

All guests should go into their flight experiences with several specific expectations. First, passengers should expect their flight crews to perform pre-flight safety briefings. Additionally, there should be an understanding of when to move about the cabin and when to approach the cockpit. Since, crew may remove masks in order to clearly communicate, having a mutual agreement with your crew over mask usage is key.

Private jet cost: What’s the difference between actual time and point-to-point billing?

Actual time billing is unpredictable and means guests are billed for the entire amount of time they are traveling. For example, if you are flying to a destination but are unexpectedly forced to wait on a runway for three hours, you will be billed for those three extra hours of waiting in addition to the time you’re in the air.

Meanwhile, Magellan Jets uses point-to-point pricing, which means we provide you with what you’re billable time will be based off the flight plan of a real aircraft that has done that flight. If your flight ends up being a few minutes longer due to weather conditions or other circumstances, you’ll never be billed for that additional time.

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How can I tell if I’m dealing with an illegal charter situation?

While it may seem tempting to set up interchange agreements on your own, should you make the mistake of flying on an illegal charter through illegitimate brokers that aren’t in compliance with regulations, it can come with severe consequences like assets seizures and other financial impacts, not to mention the potential for safety issues. The No. 1 indicator that you’re probably dealing with an illegal charter situation is that the price seems too good to be true.

It’s crucial to only work with reputable providers who have your safety and well-being in mind. You can tell a business is legitimate through a number of factors, including how long they’ve been in business, are they debt free and can they refer you to satisfied clients who’ve done business with them.

Do I tip the flight crew on a private jet?

Gratuity is neither expected nor required after a private jet flight. However, if you do decide on tipping your flight crew, typically $50 to $100 is given to per crew member. If there’s a cabin attendant onboard, we recommend that they’re included as well.

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