More About Aircraft Catering


So you just booked your private jet charter. You now wonder… what kind of food can I expect to find on board?

Standard Stock [what comes with the plane] varies from aircraft to aircraft. Where a Heavy Jet may come with a large assortment of snacks, fruits, cookies, a fully stocked bar, floral arrangements, etc., a light jet might just come with a few dry snacks and soft drinks.

The industry standard for charter flights in the United States is to provide the aircraft with “standard stock,” and then offer the option to have the flight catered to the chartering client. Catering is generally then billed to the chartering client upon completion of the trip.

When a charter passenger opts for catering, charter companies will generally outsource the order to a local aircraft catering company. For flights out of Los Angeles and Las Vegas for example, my company generally uses Stevie’s Catering; we have a whole list of approved catering vendors across the world, however. A good aircraft catering company is open practically 24/7, and can prepare practically anything you want. Aircraft catering options can be surprisingly scarce in smaller towns, where we will often have to rely on local shops and restaurants or ship amenities in from a major city.

Good aircraft catering comes at a price, however. We find that the biggest “sticker shock” of a private jet flight can be the catering bill. Seldom do the catering companies offer prices for their orders until after the order has been delivered. When a client asks me how much their catering order will run, I tell them to imagine the cost of ordering the exact same food through room service at a top hotel, and then multiply that cost by 4. I’m accustomed to seeing single bagels, without condiments, invoiced at $10.00 each.

In the past, we have come up with several alternatives to the pricey in-flight catering companies. In New York and Las Vegas for example, we have hired courier services to pick-up custom orders from 5-star restaurants in the city. Doing this has provided the passengers with “brand name” cuisine at lower prices. Brick and mortar aircraft catering providers are still preferred due do their refrigerated transportation vehicles and packaging that fits perfectly in the aircraft galleys, however.

It is always important to keep the type of aircraft you’re flying in mind when placing a catering order. If you’re flying on a Gulfstream G550 with a personal cabin attendant, full stock of fine china and flatware, and a full service galley, you can order a lot more than if you’re flying an Embraer Phenom 100 that doesn’t even have a heating source. For larger aircraft, food will generally be packaged in galley containers for the flight attendant to work with before plating you meals. On smaller aircraft however, the food will be packaged in a way that is meant to be presented directly to the passengers.

On your next private jet flight, you can have as few or as many amenities as you’d like. Sometimes however, those amenities will come at a premium due to their supply network.