Whether you fly aboard your own or your company’s aircraft, or use charter, you understandably have very high expectations for safety and service.
What goes into an excellent service experience, and who makes it happen? Aviation service providers – most of whom are passionate about aircraft and about their work – include a number of professionals, both seen and unseen, who are there to ensure your expectations are met: every trip, every time. They include:
- Executive Assistants: set up the trips and make any arrangements you may need.
- Schedulers and Dispatchers: handle flight planning and flight following, to scheduling all the details of the flight.
- Pilots: manage and fly the aircraft, and are responsible for delivering you to your destination safely, and whenever feasible given safety considerations, on time.
- Flight Attendants: required by federal law on aircraft with 20 or more seats, trained in safety and evacuation methods, as well as in preparing services on the aircraft and serving during the flight, or
- Cabin Servers: on smaller aircraft, provide service only, and are not considered crew members.
- Maintenance Professionals: maintain the aircraft and its records, keep track of when maintenance needs to be done, as well as fix any parts or systems on the aircraft that need repair.
- Line Service Professionals: marshal the aircraft into the Fixed Base Operator locations (FBOs) from the incoming runways; fuel the aircraft; help get baggage off the aircraft; procure needed essentials at the FBO, such as ice, newspapers, and trash/waste removal; and clean, de-ice, park, and hangar the aircraft.
- FBO Customer Service Representatives: help with fuel tickets and car rentals, schedule hotels and catering, arrange storage of the aircraft in a hangar or on the ramp, assist with your other needs between trips or at your destination/departure location.
What can you expect from these service providers?
Crew members, maintenance professionals, schedulers, and dispatchers are trained and licensed, with recurrent training required by federal regulation. FBO employees, including line service, maintenance assistants, and charter and customer service representatives must have aviation-specific knowledge regarding regulations, security and safety requirements and precautions, aircraft types, fuel types, and aircraft equipment requirements.
Security and Privacy
Many business aviation users prefer, and may require, anonymity. You can expect a reasonable level of privacy with respect to the security of the information discussed aboard your aircraft, or in any private waiting areas. When you require the highest level of privacy, you may wish to consider putting into place a confidentiality agreement. (See “Keep Your Business Your Business,” BAA May/June 2016). At the very least, be sure to communicate to all concerned that discretion is of the utmost importance. Your service providers understand and will accommodate your request, once you make it explicit.
You also can expect that your aviation professionals will maintain some distance, and not get too personal or friendly in the course of their jobs. They understand when they need to be present and offering services, and when to be scarce – not always an easy task in a small cabin aircraft.
Responsiveness To Your Needs
Aviation professionals are trained to be proactive in providing services, from meal service to ground transportation. However, it is up to you to let them know your specific needs or preferences, from a food allergy to which model car you’d like upon arrival. You should have to make your requests only once. Expect they will be followed until you direct otherwise.
Good communication is key. Be certain to clearly communicate your requests to your aviation service team, as they are there to ensure you have the best possible experience. BAA
Christine Hill is Executive VP & Co-Founder of ServiceElements. Drawing on her academic and professional experience, she is responsible for curriculum and service standards development, leadership coaching, and workshop facilitation.