Jetiquette: The Rules of Private Jet Etiquette

Unexpected turbulance or what NOT to do on a private jet

Unexpected turbulance or what NOT to do on a private jet


Jetiquette: The Rules of Private Jet Etiquette

A term that’s been used in aviation circles for years, “Jetiquette”, was a new word suggestion submitted by Collins English Dictionary in September 2014. Even though at the time of this writing, on the cusp of 2018, the status of that new word suggestion was still “pending investigation” it’s a word that’s forever rooted in “Jetspeak”… Another new word suggestion, perhaps?

The origins the Jetiquette go back further than 2014. In 1998 a survey conducted by George Washington University professor Dr Sheryl Spivak used the word to determine if consumers felt that travelling on an aircraft merited a set of special conditions requiring an on-board code of conduct on the part of passengers.

For the most part the same rules don't apply between private and commercial aviation. For example, who's elbow parks on the armrest and is it even fair for a passenger to occupy both armrests, or using the seatback in front of you to hoist yourself out of your seat is a moot point on a private jet.

These days experienced jet-setters know how to avoid the faux pas of in-flight space but as companies such as superFLY bring private jet travel to a wider audience and a step closer to the mainstream, first-time passengers face continuous dilemmas at 40,000 feet. And although putting your shoe-less feet up may not always bother those seated near you on a private jet, or the slight misuse of carry-on limits won’t apply, there are still a set of rules to respect when flying private. (Note: not all of these rules apply if you own the jet)

Here are superFLY’s top Jetiquette rules which are especially handy for newbie flyers:



There’re no security lines or queues so you have no excuse. Contrary to popular believe there’s no such thing as being fashionably late for a private jet. Your cheery timely arrival for wheels up will be respected by all. Unpunctuality just accumulates unnecessary costs which if you’re a guest will ensure you never see a repeat invitation


3. Rock Star Arrivals

If you’re permitted to drive airside the aircraft, safety protocol says to angle the car parallel to the aircraft. Never park pointed at the airplane unless you’re filing a music video and remember to keep the vehicles wheels turned away from the jet, in case someone forgot to shift the transmission into park.



Light aircraft have strict, safety-related weight restrictions, so pack lightly in soft bags that can be stored far easier than rigid suitcases. On Very Light Jets (VLJs) such as the popular Citation Mustang it's a good idea to send over-sized items such as golf clubs or ski equipment beforehand by courier.


5. Where to sit on a private jet?

Rather like the front pews at a church wedding, the first few seat rows are usually reserved for the host. If you didn’t charter the plane yourself, there’s an unspoken rule: the person who paid for the trip gets first dibs on seats. If you’re invited for a flight try to board last or head to the rear and ask the flight attendant for guidance.


6. Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn or David Niven

Good manners should apply up in the air as on the ground. Or better yet, behave as you would on a yacht, but that’s a whole other blog post. Red wine is also a no no as stains could prove expensive.

If you’re traveling as the guest bring a gift for your host to show appreciation. If you are traveling with other guests it’s a clever idea to bring something that can be shared and enjoyed, like a box of chocolates.


7. Petiquette

Don’t bring a pet without advanced permission and arrangements. And make sure Fifi is groomed to perfection. Pert hairs on upholstery is not cool.


8. Photos and Social Media

Be discreet. Don’t tweet or post pictures of other passengers on Instagram without permission. This applies especially if you’re a guest on the flight.



What happens on the jet stays on the jet. No explanation necessary.