Adam Twidell, CEO of private jet booking service, PrivateFly.com looks at why increasing numbers of families are choosing private jet travel
“It might sound like the ultimate in indulgent parenting, but an increasing number of families are choosing to fly by private jet. 20% of our flights now have a family member on board.
It may cost more than flying your family by airline flights, but some see the huge advantages of private jet travel with children as worth every penny. The cost of a private jet from London to Olbia, for example, is £8,350 for a 4-seater Cessna Mustang (just over £2,000 per person for a family of four).
Shorter flights & longer holidays
In a nutshell, the main advantage is time – saving it and making more of it. While most flight times are the same as airline flights, private jet travel saves a huge amount of time on the ground. You can arrive at the airport just 15 minutes before take-off, even driving up to the aircraft steps at some airports. So the issue of how to keep children and babies entertained during endless hours at the airport is taken away.
With a private jet, there are no queues at check-in, no waiting at security or immigration – and no delays to your departure. You choose when the aircraft takes off, to fit in with your family’s schedule or to maximise time at your destination. And your flight will use the closest possible airports, which means no connections and minimal ground transfers. All of this can add up to an extra day or more of holiday time on a long-awaited trip.
Comfort & privacy on-board
Then there’s the additional privacy and comfort on board. Coping with an energetic toddler or crying baby in the confines of an airline seat can be a major challenge. When it’s just you and your family in the cabin, you have more space to move around and no-one else to worry about.
A more generous luggage allowance means you can also have more of your children’s possessions to keep them – and you – happy during the journey. You also get to choose exactly what you and your family would like to eat and drink during the flight.
Family private jet travel FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about private jet travel with babies and children:
HOW SOON CAN I FLY WITH A NEWBORN BABY?
You can fly with a newborn baby as soon as you are ready and need to arrange air travel, and have a valid passport in place for your baby. There are no specific regulations on the timings. However, if the mother has given birth by Caesarean section, it may be necessary to get a doctor’s letter to fly within six weeks after the birth.
WILL MY BABY OR CHILD HAVE THEIR OWN SEAT ON THE PRIVATE JET?
Your baby can travel on your lap until the age of two, when he or she will then require their own seat. These are the same regulations followed by airlines. For tiny babies, we usually recommend that customers take their own car seat on board the private jet. The baby can be safely secured in the car seat, strapped in a rear-facing chair. This follows the same safety guidelines as when you are travelling with your child by car.
For older babies and toddlers you may still prefer to take your own child seat or booster seat with you for comfort, or these can be arranged on your aircraft.
To ensure that you and your child can relax and sleep in maximum comfort, many private jets have reclining seats and some larger jets have full sized beds on board.
CAN I TAKE MY BABY’S MILK & BABY FOOD ON A PRIVATE JET?
You can take your own baby food and baby milk with you on board your private jet or this can be arranged as part of the bespoke catering arrangements. Your chosen baby milk and baby food can be given to the staff at the private jet terminal on arrival, and can be taken on board the aircraft with the rest of the catering. Specific baby food can usually be prepared as required, if requested in advance.
If you need any medication for your children during the flight, this can also be taken on board, subject to approved liquid limits.
WHAT CAN MY FAMILY EAT& DRINK ON A PRIVATE JET?
Private jet catering is bespoke to customer requirements, and can be arrange to suit any special preferences or tastes that you and your child may have. We can also provide specialist catering if your child has any food allergies or intolerances, or if you and your family have specific religious requirements.
Private jet catering can also be arranged for pregnant passengers, according to taste and medical advice – for example for those who wish to avoid certain foods such as seafood, unpasteurised cheeses, nuts, undercooked meats or eggs. We have helped some pregnant passengers by arranging specific food and drinks to ease morning sickness symptoms, and have also catered for more unusual food cravings!
DOES MY BABY NEED A PASSPORT TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATE JET?
All babies need a valid passport to travel by private jet. As with all private jet passengers, passport details are required in advance. This pre-screening allows a swift and seamless security process when you arrive at the private jet terminal, so you can depart as quickly as possible.
CAN I ADJUST THE PRIVATE JET AIR CABIN TEMPERATURE TO SUIT MY FAMILY?
With a private jet, the air conditioning temperature on board is set to your preferences and requirements. Travelling in your own private aircraft also means that you can avoid being in close proximity to unknown airborne viruses, which can be re-circulated through the air conditioning systems in scheduled airlines.
WHAT IN-FLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT IS THERE FOR MY CHILD ON A PRIVATE JET?
Most private jets have entertainment systems, with latest aircraft models offering the most advanced technology for VIP customers, and their children. We often provide a tailored selection of movies, games and music, according to you and your child’s specific preferences. We can also arrange for new books and toys to be waiting on board, which will help to ensure a relaxing journey with your child.
Unlike most scheduled airlines, the in-flight entertainment system can be switched on from the moment your child steps aboard the aircraft, to ensure they are happy and comfortable from the very start of their journey.
Most children also love the excitement of meeting their pilot up close, and visiting the flight deck – not something they can do on an airline flight.
IS PRIVATE JET TRAVEL SAFE FOR ME AND MY FAMILY?
At PrivateFly, over 20% of our flights have family members on board and we are committed to the highest possible levels of private jet safety, for you and your family. We have a rigorous and ongoing safety policy in place, working only with an accredited network of aircraft that meet both Aviation Authority standards, and our own due diligence process.
We are happy to answer any questions about private jet safety or security, and we can send our customers detailed reports and background about any of the aircraft in our network.
CAN I TAKE MY PRAM OR BUGGY ON A PRIVATE JET?
There are far fewer luggage restrictions when travelling by private jet. You can take your child in a pram or pushchair right up to the steps of the private jet, and it can then easily be accessed in the luggage compartment or folded away in the cabin. The pram or pushchair can then be ready and waiting as you leave your aircraft.
CAN GROUND TRANSPORT BE ARRANGED FOR MY FAMILY ON ARRIVAL?
Ground transport can be arranged to and from the private jet airport, ensuring the correct baby or child car seats are in place, if required. At some airports, cars to be waiting close to the aircraft steps, or they will be waiting just outside the private jet terminal, to ensure the swiftest and most seamless possible departure.
UP TO WHAT STAGE CAN PREGNANT WOMEN FLY?
Pregnant women should take medical advice before planning to fly. Most scheduled airlines do not allow travel after 36 weeks of pregnancy, and require a medical certificate after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Private jet operators generally follow the same guidelines, but there can be some flexibility to fly later if a doctor’s letter supports this.
IS IT MORE COMFORTABLE TO FLY BY PRIVATE JET WHEN PREGNANT?
Comfort is enhanced for all passengers when flying by private jet, but for pregnant passengers, the benefits can be compelling. There are no long periods standing in check-in or security queues. There is also plentiful and private cabin space, with reclining seats on most aircraft and beds on larger aircraft for longer flights.”
Further questions about private jet travel with babies and children? Contact PrivateFly or call their 24-hour Operations team on +44 (0) 1747 642 777.
Visit www.totstotravel.co.uk to see what baby and toddler friendly options we can offer your family!
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