Jetiquette – The Expert’s Guide to Fly with Class

As the World Protocol Magazine Editorial Board, we take enormous pride in keeping this platform open to all experts from the numerous fields of business and protocol: Anne-Marie van Leggelo, from the Netherlands is the next of many who have taken the opportunity of working together with WPM.

Ms Leggelo is the founder and CEO of Het Etiquette Bureau (situated in castle De Wittenburg). She is an etiquette & image expert, columnist, global speaking professional and television host in The Netherlands.

Anne-Marie has helped thousands of people learn to be more confident, professional and courteous in business and social situations. She has provided presentations, training and executive coaching to companies, universities, hospitals, and associations. She has featured in and been quoted in many newspapers and magazines, is a television host at RTL and the etiquette expert of the famous Dutch television royalty program Blauw Bloed.

Jet set

Flying is in my blood. As a little girl I was already very excited when I saw Schiphol, the main airport of The Netherlands, in the distance and heard the sound of an airplane. No surprise that, after my studies, I applied for a job as flight attendant and, not much later, walked proudly through the cabin in my new costume. I did meet that great pilot and we became a ‘jet set’. My career from flight attendant to cabin manager Boeing 747 literally flew by and now, with my own etiquette academy, I regularly train very divers airline personnel working in all kinds of aircrafts and private jets. Is that what they mean by a ‘jet set’ life?

Welcome on board                                                                                                                   

What still surprises me is that the passengers on board are extensively informed about the safety regulations, but how you should behave is hardly mentioned. While this can also make or break a flight. As a cabin manager, I’ve seen a lot of irritation and fights caused by moving backrests, elbows, crying children, protruding legs in the aisle, kicking chairs, smoking in toilets, noisy people, excessive alcohol use and overheated people with too much luggage. In a private jet you will of course suffer less from this, but there are other things to take into account. And this etiquette is higher than the cruising altitude. There your status can reach new heights: at least if you stick to the jet etiquette: nicely put, “the standard of acceptable behavior in a private jet”.


I advise you to travel with light luggage. This is because the luggage is often placed in the back of the device. It is useful to send any golf clubs or ski equipment to the destination in advance. The luggage restrictions in a private jet will vary depending on several factors: the size of the jet, Fuel requirements, weight restrictions, the dimensions of the compartment doors. And are you careful not to confuse the pilot with the driver of your car? A private driver often carries your luggage but asking the pilot whether he can put your luggage on board or press your bag in his arms is really ‘not done’.

Dress to jet                                                                                                                                       

As a jetsetter you are ‘seen’. There isn’t necessarily a dress code for private flights, but there is such a thing as dressing appropriately.

Your appearance should therefore be travel-proof. Consider the reason for your flight: if you’re traveling for a business meeting, then wearing business attire makes sense. Otherwise ‘jet casual’: if you’re heading out to the Caribbean for a family vacation, then a pair of jeans and a Hawaiian shirt might be in order. Going too casual is often frowned upon, though. Flip flops, swimwear, gym attire, and pajamas are usually no-go’s. Furthermore, it is also very pleasant for your company if you keep your shoes on your feet. And if you are going for a nap: please put on some fresh socks and don’t put your shoes in the aisle so that the attendants must take them to a safe spot.

Keep calm and take that seat

If I am flying alone, I don’t have to worry about where to sit because I can occupy any seat I desire. But what if have you been invited by a business relation? Then, just as there is a certain hierarchy in business life, this is also the case on board. Know your place and know who is in charge: the lead passenger will board the aircraft first and select their seat. Others will follow suit until each passenger has chosen a seat, or the lead passenger may recommend seats for the other passengers. Once in the air, you will be able to get up and move about the cabin, which may include switching seats. Seating is much more relaxed in casual air travel than flying for business, so take account of your travel situation.

Please don’t make me wait                                                                                                      

Just like a commercial flight, you will need to have ID to board the aircraft and a passport to travel outside the country. (In these days, please check also the covid travel regulations of each country.) However, one of the benefits of flying private is that you don’t have to stand in long lines to gain clearance to board. All your ID checks are performed at the same time so you can spend less time in line. Don’t you just love that?

Let’s drink to that                                                                                                                                       

These are provided on private flights, and you can also request specific items to be stocked for your trip. Many travelers decide to indulge in alcoholic beverages during the flight, which is completely acceptable. However, you will want to refrain from sneaking your own alcohol on board without the knowledge of the flight crew. Instead, simply hand over the bottles and allow them to properly store them and serve you. This also ensures you don’t go overboard on the alcohol to the point where it affects your behavior or wellbeing.

This is your captain speaking                                                                                                                    

Just like a commercial flight, you’ll be required to buckle up during takeoff and landing. This is an aviation safety standard across the industry, and private jets are no exception. Your flight crew will direct you as to when you will need to resume your seats and use seatbelts and notify you when it’s safe to get up from your seat. Is your flight almost at his destination? Time put on these shoes and pick up your own junk from the floor.


Tipping is never required on a private jet charter, but if you, after landing, would like to thank the cabin crew and the pilots for the pleasant journey and service, a smile and a warm handshake will be sufficient. But a tip is also a welcomed gesture. As for how much to tip? That’s entirely up to you. Tips are given at personal discretion, from $20 up to $1,000 or more. Consider the level of service you receive, the length and cost of the flight, any extra work the crew performed (such as cleaning up after your pets) and your tipping preferences.  Showing your gratitude to your potential host by offering a contribution to the fuel costs or part of the costs is not done. Thank him or her later with a suitable gift.

What happens on the jet, stays on the jet’                                                                                

At last, but not least, your mobile is probably full of great pics, selfies and (perhaps famous) fellow passengers. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to tweet or post these on Facebook unsolicited: a social ‘faux pas’. A golden rule is anyway: ‘What happens on the jet, Stays on the jet’.

You won’t just be flown; you will be moved’                                                                                

The advantage of a private jet is the extra attention and service of the cabin crew. Delicious! According to the jetiquette you should enjoy it extra, but not exploit it. Respect is the magic word. Do you become rebellious of all these rules, and do you have plenty of money? Then the problem is solved easily: I advise you to buy your own jet. Then, as long as you don’t bother others, do whatever you want.

Bon voyage!

Special thanks to:
Photographer: Maxim Kuijper
Location: Aerodynamics
Aeroplane: Netjets
Car: BMW Nederland | Floris FC Wyers


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