Private international travel is much different than flying commercial. Will all the same rules apply? Do you still need a passport? Do you go through customs? Here are 7 tips for flying internationally on a private jet.
Traveling internationally for the first time is very exciting with a tad bit of scary. Why? If you have never done something before, you don’t know what to expect.
Truth is, you can read all the articles in the world and ask your well-seasoned friends as many questions as possible, but until you experience something yourself, you are going to have a few reservations.
Relax, it is normal.
What to Know About International Travel on Private Jets
The good news is that if you are traveling via a private jet (which seems likely since you have found your way here) then you can experience international travel without having to worry about the long lines and heavy crowds that come with commercial air travel. In other words, you can rest easy.
To help calm your nerves, here’s everything you need to know about flying internationally on a private jet.
1. Passports and Visas Are Required
When it comes to flying internationally on a private jet, the same rules apply for passports and visas as they would on a commercial flight. These are not required as part of the airline, but for entry into a country.
Therefore, no matter how you decide to travel – including by a private jet – both a passport and/or a visa will be required.
It is very important that you check with your destination country well before you travel to learn their policy. They may require a visa before your arrival as well as a passport. This will require time and you will want to make sure you have everything taken care of before you head to the airport.
2. You Must Go Through Customs
There are many incredible perks you will encounter when choosing to fly private. However, avoiding going through customs is not one of them.
If you have done any international travel, you likely have an unpleasant memory of going through customs, having your bags looked through, having to declare anything you may have purchased and are bringing back home with you, etc.
This process is still necessary for those flying internationally on private jets. You still have to give your declarations and pay any dues. The difference is that, instead of standing in long, stagnant lines, customs officials will often come to you.
And, this simple act can make all the difference in the world.
3. Checking for Proper Documentation
When you arrive at the airport- and before you board your flight – your documentation will be checked. This includes your passport and your visa if required. A manifest is created that shows all individuals aboard an aircraft as it travels domestically and internationally.
While it is used by the flight crew and the FBO, it is also used by immigration services. Documentation is thoroughly checked for each individual traveling.
Depending on your situation and your charter, this information could be documented in advance of your travel day. This will definitely speed up the process.
However, keep in mind that you will still need to bring your passport with you as you board the jet.
4. Traveling with Pets Requires Special Attention
Believe it or not, that little fur friend of yours can’t travel without documentation either. He or she will be required to take care of a few things before boarding that flight.
It greatly depends on the destination, but your pet may be required to obtain specific vaccinations. There are certain countries that are considered to be high-risk for rabies and proof of vaccination is required.
Create a pet passport for your fur baby by keeping all pertinent information together in one, easily-accessible place.
As for where Fido has to sit to enjoy the flight, unlike most commercial airliners, pets are often allowed in the cabin of pet-friendly private jets. You will want to discuss all of this information when you first begin to book your travel.
5. Allowing Enough Time
While it varies due to weather, season, and so forth, commercial air travelers are most often told to arrive at least two hours before boarding for domestic flights and at least three hours in advance for international flights.
Thankfully, that is not the case for private jet charter.
Many people arrive just a few minutes in advance for domestic private flights. A good rule of thumb, however, is to arrive approximately one hour in advance of your scheduled takeoff time when flying internationally.
This allows time for your documents to be reviewed and ensure that everything is ready for departure. After all, the last thing you want to is leave the airport rushed and not be able to enter your destination country because your documents are not complete.
6. Expanding Your Destination Choices
No longer will you be limited to major airports designed to accommodate larger aircraft.
Flying private jet charters means you can have direct access to small airports and even those on smaller, less-accessible islands. Get as close to your destination as possible, cutting down additional travels costs.
7. The Return Flight
When you are leaving your international destination to come back to the United States, you are still not free from having to go through customs and immigration.
You will have to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and your passport to gain access safely and easily back to the United States.
Therefore, the steps listed to get to your destination should be followed just as well when returning. Without doing so, you may find yourself facing serious delays.
Flying internationally can be much more enjoyable when doing so on a private jet.
You will indulge in all the comfort and amenities a private jet can offer without ever having to stand in line or deal with the frustrations that international travel on the commercial end of the spectrum will bring.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway should be to prepare all your documentation in advance. Then, you can kick your feet up and relax for the flight.