Private flights service far more than big businesses and celebrities — did you know private jets make over 15,000 humanitarian flights per year, or that 55% of companies using private aviation have less than 500 employees?

Whether you’re a business traveler, an explorer, a vacationer or a humanitarian, a private flight can help you reach your meeting, destination or achieve your mission.

Here are things you should know about flying private for the first time, from arriving at the airport to stepping off the plane.

Airport Arrival

Since a private flight is scheduled for you alone, it won’t leave without you. Unlike flying commercial when you have to arrive at least an hour ahead of your flight (usually much earlier), it’s typical protocol to arrive 30 minutes before your private flight.

At the airport, you’ll either park at the small private airport lot or pull your car directly up to the jet for ramp-side boarding.

To board, you’ll show your ID to the captain, so don’t leave it at home! You can then bring aboard any luggage you don’t want stowed below the plane at no fee.

You can bring water and other liquids aboard with you, though federal regulations on hazardous materials will still apply.

Flight Time

In addition to shaving off time during the boarding process, you can expect to get to your destination even faster with a private jet.

Private aircrafts can fly directly to many more locations than commercial airlines. This means you won’t have to worry about losing time to a layover, as it’s rare for private jets to ever take layovers.

Flying with Furry Friends

It’s not just people that get to enjoy the luxury of a private flight — your animal can fly in comfort alongside you.

Rather than stowing your furry friend below the plane, you can keep small dogs, cats, and birds in their carriers or cages in the cabin with you. Larger dogs count as passengers due to their weight, and may need a safety harnesses that affixes them to their seat.

In-flight Amenities

When you fly private, you and your party can expect to have the entire cabin (and bathroom) to yourselves for the duration of the flight. The roomy seats will allow you to spread out and relax, without invading anyone else’s space.

You’ll be choosing from a delicious spread of food and drink, or you can arrange a custom menu ahead of your flight.

Private flights include free Wi-Fi and the ability to make clear phone calls and send out texts, so you can get a head start on important work or get caught up with all your favorite shows.

Since you and your party are the only passengers on the plane, you’ll have uninterrupted privacy to chat or make phone calls.

Getting off the Plane

When your private jet lands, you can arrange to have a car waiting for you at the hangar to take you to your meeting or hotel.

You won’t have to go through baggage claim or customs upon arrival — if you’re flying internationally, customs agents come directly to the aircraft and clear you and your party.

If you’re a business considering private flight for your company, learn about the five ways you can grow your business with private travel >