We’ve previously written about the main reasons for flying on private jets. These include the time saving, the privacy, the convenience and the flexibility. Recently we’ve heard of a couple more reasons to add to this list. While these additional reasons don’t make compelling cases on their own, they certainly add to the consideration set.
Enhanced Pat-Down Searches
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recently adopted new “enhanced” pat-down searches for screening passengers at U.S. airports.
The TSA website says: “A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks.”
For most pat-downs the TSA officers will use the back of their hands, but the website does say “In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.”
Some commenters have pointed out, in other walks of life, this additional screening would be considered a sexual assault, although the TSA does make clear “You will receive a pat-down by an officer of the same gender.”
Not everyone on a commercial flight is subject to these pat-downs, but the TSA says they can be applied “as part of random or unpredictable security measures, for enhanced screening, or as an alternative to other types of screening”, so you just never know. “Even passengers who normally receive expedited screening, such as TSA Pre-Check passengers, may at times receive a pat-down.”
Compare that to the private aviation experience. At some private airports, you can drive your car right next to the aircraft and have a valet park your car. After showing your id to the pilot, you get on board and can take-off straight away.
“One of the benefits of flying private is not having to worry about lengthy security lines or TSA bag searches; the security experience is stress and hassle free. That said, while the security process is totally seamless and you don’t need to throw away your bottle of water or favorite bottle of wine before stepping aboard like you would in a TSA line, passenger safety is our top priority and the same hazardous materials regulations do apply when flying privately,” said Andrew Collins, President and CEO of Sentient Jet.
Andrew added “Same as you would traveling commercially, all passengers are required to show an appropriate driver’s license, state id, or passport (depending on destination).”
“For many of our clients, convenience and flexibility are the true luxuries of private aviation,” commented David McCown, President of Air Partner in the Americas. “The experience is entirely seamless, with no wait for check-in lines or security. Passengers are taken plane side to meet their aircraft, welcomed and briefed by the crew, and can be wheels up within a matter of minutes.”
Smells and Odors
The commercial airlines have been cutting back on their food offerings for many years. This has encouraged a lot of people to bring their own food on board, whether they buy it at the airport or bring it from home.
Nowadays if you’re on a commercial flight, you can easily find yourself sat next to someone who brought a greasy burger and fries onto the plane. But you don’t need to be sat next to them. The smell can carry over several seats.
Burgers and fries are just one example. People can bring all sorts of foods with garlic, spices, fish, curries and more. CNN had an article several years ago on the problems and included some etiquette tips at the end. We’ve linked to the article here so more people can read the tips because the problem on commercial flights has not gone away.
Food is just one of the problems, we’ve even heard stories of people painting their nails on a flight, with the nail varnish smell carrying down the plane.
A somewhat related problem occurs with allergies. The prevalence of peanut allergies is widely known, and most commercial airlines no longer serve them, but it doesn’t stop passengers bringing on their own peanuts. If you’re allergic to anything else, there’s nothing to stop your fellow passengers bringing those items on the plane.
When you fly on a private aircraft, the food you get is entirely up to you. Basic snacks and drinks are provided as a courtesy on virtually all private flights. But you can order anything you want ahead of time. Many private jet operators will work with high-end local chefs and restaurants to specially prepare meals. The food and the smells are at your discretion.
Let us know if you have any other reasons for wanting to fly privately.