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Relationships with customers on a private jet

The dynamics that activate in the cabin of a private jet between the occupants are various, and they include customers and crew. 

Some situations can be innocent, can be fun, can be useful in order to build a “forever customer” and a strong bond.

On the contrary, some of them can make you feel like you are hanging by a thread.

That you can’t say no, that you don’t know what’s the best way to handle it.  

Probably, the safest and most responsible thing to do is to keep it professional, yet not too cold or distant.

Here’s some example of the different situations – both positive and negative – that I have witnessed or experienced in my career so far. 

When the crew becomes friend of the owner

This is a situation that makes you feel extremely well. 

Usually happens between the pilots and the owner of the jet.

You feel like you are free to talk, you share part of the jet-setter lifestyle. 

It happens that customers of private jets feel like sharing dinners, experiences, thoughts, plans, events etc with people around them.

This is based on multiple reasons, all of them very good and valid.

However, you are still working for them and this is something you should keep always in mind.  

It can also happen that when this level of connection is reached, you may feel like you can’t say no anymore.

And this ends up in the expectation of the crew full availability for the boss and the operations of the jet and direct phone calls or messages at any time. 

However, I also noticed that, no matter how close and friendly the relationship between the boss and the crew is, if the jet needs to be sold and the crew terminated, this is exactly what will happen. 

When the customer treats the crew in a nasty way. 

Some culture have this attitude because of their background, some other people are just like that. 

It may happen that the customer treats the pilots or the flight attendant in a nasty way. 

It really depends on your attitude and your way to deal with this, but you don’t have to take it if you don’t want to. 

Sometimes, some customers are sadly famous in the industry for being like that.

I also experienced it, but I don’t find it the end of the world.

So long as you don’t feel like your dignity is compromised, this behavior can’t actually attack you personally, if you manage to keep in mind that this is not about you as individual.

When the customer invites the crew for dinner or to participate to social events.

I am talking about rock stars who deliver tickets for their concerts, athletes and sportsmen/women who invites you to watch their match.

I had been invited once to participate to the F1, with tickets provided by the owner. 

This is one of their way to demonstrate they appreciate what you do. 

It is not uncommon that they like to share their lifestyle with other people, and is obvious and mutually accepted that they will cover all the costs, because you simply can’t afford that yourself.

Do not have the wrong assumption that you will actually spend time in their company tho.

They might be busy somewhere else or with somebody else.

Obviously, you don’t have to accept if you don’t want to, but definitely this can be a situation in which you feel like you can’t say no. 

This is usually a good chance to build a strong bond with the client and a long term professional relationship. 

Nonetheless, to spend your time off with the customers is not part of your duty, therefore you can always decline. 

As personal suggestion, if it’s an invitation for the entire crew and you all feel like going and it’s interesting, have some fun and enjoy life!

Do not decline alcohol if everybody else is drinking (decline if you need to work after!), yet keep it to a polite amount and never lose control. 

Flirts between customers and crew

Yes, I am talking about an invitation for a romantic dinner, presents or other attentions dedicated from the customer to one of the crew members.

The most common dynamic of this kind is between the owner and the female flight attendant.

This is much more difficult to handle, and nobody can say to the person involved what to do. 

As a suggestion, never forget the dynamics and the objectiveness in judging the situation. 

If in doubt, you can politely decline the offer.

Are you wondering when can you accept a present without second thoughts?

Well, according to my experience, when the owner shares present for Christmas or birthdays, this is a polite and a warm declaration of appreciation from the boss to his/her crew.

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