We often refer to the private jet as a time machine. It gives us access to the absolute fastest way to get from point A to point B. While en route, you can work, sleep, relax or have a bite to eat. Let’s talk a little more about the food options offered when booking a jet.
Upon booking, your charter professional most often will ask you if you would like any catering on board your flight. The standard stock on most jets is dry snacks, sodas and bottled water. There is typically no charge for these items. This might be fine for the short flight or one right after dinner, but longer flights might have your stomach growling for more.
Charter providers do not actually prepare the food and are not in the business of creating mile-high culinary delights. They contract local airport catering companies to deliver the food to the jet just prior to departure. Airport catering companies offer a wide range of meals, and at the major airports, there are few requests that cannot be filled. From sandwiches and fruit platters, to exotic sushi and rare wines, most operators and brokers can ensure anything your heart, or stomach, desires is on board the jet when you arrive. That being said, there are a couple things to keep in mind before ordering something to eat on a private flight.
Not all aircraft cabins are designed with meals in mind. Smaller light jets usually will not have any food warming capability. Meals are prepared at a catering kitchen usually at or near the airport. Hot food is delivered and packaged as best as possible to ensure it is kept warm. If your jet does not have food warming capability, and you don’t eat it right away, your food will get cold with no way of re-heating it. For shorter trips on light jets or turboprops, it is best to keep your catering orders to cold items such as sandwiches, wraps, cheeses, etc. Also, something to keep in mind with regard to light jets, many of these models do not stock glassware. If you bring that special bottle of champagne to open in-flight, make sure to let your charter professional know when booking so he or she can make special arrangements to ensure the appropriate glassware and opener is on board.
Larger, long range jets will have a full galley and all the amenities of home. Most often you will also have a cabin attendant to assist with food items as well. Since these flights are usually many more hours in duration, think about your usual eating habits, and know that these big business jets can accommodate multiple meals over the course of a flight. This will most often have a full bar stocked with a variety of alcohol, but if you have specific preferences, let your charter provider know when booking.
Don’t forget the kids! The airport catering companies are very familiar with children’s needs and will usually be able to accommodate even the most demanding juice box connoisseur. Chicken fingers, peanut butter and jelly, and even popsicles. No problem!
Passing your favorite restaurant on the way to the airport? Don’t hesitate to bring your own food! Most charter operators don’t mind if you bring your own food on board. Maybe you are craving BBQ after a meeting in Memphis, or want to enjoy a proper New York bagel for that morning flight out of Teterboro. Feel free to get those things to-go on the way to the airport and bring them aboard with you.
Some charter companies will include catering as part of the charter and others will itemize the charges for catering separately. If your charter company will be invoicing you separately for your catering, don’t hesitate to ask for an estimated cost of the catering order. Most airport caterers charge a delivery fee for bringing the food to the jet and the prices are certainly higher than your neighborhood deli. Specialty items such as sushi, chef prepared specialties and other special requests can be very expensive. The quality of food and service varies from place to place, so ask your charter provider their opinion on which caterer to use. Additionally, be sure there will be someone to receive your order and check to make sure everything you ordered has been delivered. The better charter services will do this without you asking, but if you are paying the premium for a catered meal, be sure someone is looking out to make sure it has arrived and is correct before you get to the plane.
If you have specific questions about planning a charter flight, just a general private aviation question, or would like to share your experiences on this topic, please feel free to comment below or call 1-866-999-JETS.