How long does a fuel stop for a private jet flight take?
The average fuel stop takes 45–60 minutes. To speed up fuel stops, the operator, or pilots may call ahead, so a fuel truck is waiting for the aircraft on arrival. For smaller jets, a fuel stop can take as little as 30 minutes.
Is there a difference between the amount of time it takes for domestic versus international fuel stops?
No. It takes the same amount of time for a domestic or international fuel stop.
For international flights, passengers may choose to go through customs at the fuel stop if the service is available at that airport. If that airport does not have customs, or if the passengers choose to wait until their destination to go through customs, they’ll simply fuel up and continue their journey.
To make flights as fast as possible, incoming international charter flights are often planned so that passengers can go through customs during the fuel stop. For example, when flying from London to Miami, the aircraft may stop for fuel in Bangor, Maine to allow passengers to complete their customs checks in the US. This saves time as they will not have to perform said checks in Miami.
Fresh catering can be provided during fuel stops, too. Customs in most countries will remove all catering for international flights, so making these changes during a fuel stop saves even more time and gives you a chance to receive fresh catering.
Do passengers have to stay inside the airplane during the fuel stop?
It depends on the refueling company. Some companies will require the passengers to deplane, while some can refuel with passengers on board. When passengers deplane, they can’t leave the airport if they are on an international flight – unless they go through customs.
For domestic flights within the US, passengers can wait at the fixed base operator (FBO). Here, they can use the restroom, grab some refreshments, and relax until it’s time to depart.
For air ambulances, if the fire department is at the aircraft, passengers are allowed to be on board.
Do pilots sit in the airplane during the fuel stop, or do they also get out?
At least one pilot must remain with the aircraft while fueling. Usually the captain will go inside, and the co-pilot will stay with the aircraft.
Is a fuel stop worthwhile on a private jet flight?
If you are flying less than 4,000 miles, a fuel stop usually offers bad value for money. Bear in mind that passengers will still pay for the private jet rental while refueling; if you’re on an hourly rate, this can quickly add up.
A more pragmatic way to travel on journeys of less than 4,000 miles would be to use a super-midsize jet or a large cabin jet, allowing you to fly non-stop, saving both time and money.