There is no better way to get from point A to point B on a trip than to travel by air. It is efficient, letting you arrive at a cross-country destination in hours rather than days. It can get you to all places around the world with ease. But many people don’t know that several different types of airports exist. Some of the more well-known types are the commercial airport and FBO airport.
Commercial And FBO Airport
But all air travel isn’t created equal. There are commercial flights that fly out of a commercial airport, and then there are private jet charters that allow travelers to take advantage of all that comes with an FBO. What’s the difference between an FBO and a commercial airport? Does the airport you fly out of really impact your travels?
Parking at an FBO Airport
Parking is drastically different between a commercial airport and an FBO. At a commercial airport, you typically encounter a lot of traffic, slowly maneuvering their way through the airport. There are often long-term and short-term designated parking areas and economy parking. The volume of cars parked in these areas is often high – especially during peak travel times. As a result, it can be tough to find parking, so you will want to be sure to arrive early. There is always a fee for parking, regardless of whether you are parked for 10 minutes or ten days.
At an FBO, parking is a much different experience. There are often complimentary parking areas, as well as valet parking. Because the volume is lower and the services are more excellent, parking here isn’t a hassle.
Arrival And Check-In
When traveling via a commercial airliner, knowing how early to check in is always the biggest question. Generally, you should arrive two hours before a domestic and three hours before an international flight. Standing in line to check your luggage and secure your boarding pass is uncommon. This is all done so that everyone will be checked in and present in the terminal by the time the flight is ready to go – assuming it’s even on time.
With an FBO, you arrive and check in with the reception desk. They will then coordinate with your flight crew to get your bags on the proper jet. Depending on your private jet experience, your luggage may be inside your jet or in an area that is not accessible via the cabin – so be sure to keep the things with you that you want while in flight.
Another reason for the early arrival at commercial airports is the dreaded TSA security checkpoint. You must take off your shoes and place all your travel-sized containers in 3.4 ounces or less in a quart-sized bag. In addition, you must remove them from your carry electronics from your carry on. Place everything in a bin so it can go through the scanner while you walk through the full-body scanner. You will then meet your belongings on the other side.
It sounds like a lot. If you have flown commercial before, you know how chaotic this process can get.
At an FBO, there is no long security checkpoint. You will have to be on the passenger manifest and show a valid ID to board the jet, but you won’t always have to go through any other type of security checkpoint or full body scan. This checkpoint is usually found outside of the country.
The result? Get on your flight faster and with ease.
Waiting areas in commercial airports are full of people. There are so many passengers just waiting to make it onto their flights that some find their only option for having a seat is on the floor. Those who do get an actual seat are usually clustered with others and don’t offer any special comforts. This may not always be the case, but it often is during peak travel times.
FBOs ensure s[special care to offer comfortable accommodations for all layers. You will find seating scattered throughout the space and even in various lounges. The waiting area as a whole is usually spacious and uncrowded, too. And, rather than being in big attached rows of basic seating, you will find luxurious chairs, recliners, and more to kick back and relax before your flight.
Foods and Beverages
All significant airports offer some food or beverages for purchase. This may be a restaurant, fast food, lunch cart, snacks from the souvenir shop, or a vending area. Your options will depend greatly on the airport and the terminal, but you should find that you have different options. You will want to note that the prices of these items in airports can be pretty significant compared to outside of the airport.
At an FBO, you may find a vending area, but also a restaurant, snacks, a buffet of complementary foods and beverages, and so forth. You can always feel free to bring your food or request that you have certain foods on board your flight.
Finally, we’ve come to amenities. There aren’t many amenities to write home about at a commercial airport. You may have wi-fi access that you typically have to pay to gain access. You will have access to a restroom, as well. Television, charging stations, and snooze rooms are not always the norm.
On the other hand, at an FBO, you will experience many different amenities, some of which we’ve already discussed. For instance, comfortable seating, a lounge, a business center with teleconference abilities, courtesy vehicles, showers, snooze rooms, the ability to charge your devices, and wi-fi access.
Benefits of The FBO Airport
There are many differences between a commercial airport and an FBO. And that chartering a private jet can get you all the access you need to enjoy what the latter has to offer – which is a lot. Always remember that each place you travel to will have an FBO with different experiences and amenities. Though, no matter what, you can always feel confident you are getting much more than you could ever expect from a commercial airport.