Traveling to destinations outside the United States can promote happiness and satisfy wanderlust – especially when you fly privately. Read on to see how private aviation impacts the customs process and eases international travel.
“When you fly international on a private aircraft, you will find a much smoother and quicker customs process than you would experience in a commercial travel setting,” stated CoreyHayes, Jet Linx Flight Coordination Supervisor. “Most countries’ customs officers will greet you at the door of your aircraft to clear your arrival, check documentation and luggage, thensend you on your way to enjoy your trip with minimal interruption. The process is quick and painless and can be finished within five minutes of arrival. Some locations will require you to go to a central location to check your luggage and documents prior to taxiing to your FBO, but these are not the norm and do not add too much time to your flight.”
When Jet Linx clients book an international trip, the Flight Coordination team immediately begins executing the necessary measures to permit clearance for departure by coordinating with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). “We submit the client’s information to CBP via a system called the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS), and we also send them a form with all the trip details known as the General Declaration form,” Hayes explained. “They review the General Declaration form and the eAPIS submission to determine if you will be cleared to depart the country. Simultaneously, the Jet Linx Flight Coordination team begins setting up your arrival handling, customs, and permits with the local authorities at your destination. This process involves multiple different forms of documentation and may vary in time or complexity depending on the country.”
Returning flights undergo much of the same clearing process as departures, but in reverse order. “The Jet Linx Flight Coordination team will coordinate with the local CBP port of entry to obtain approval for your requested arrival time,” Hayes described. “An airport of entry provides customs and immigration services for incoming flights and serves as the initial point of entry for all foreign visitors and American citizens. For this reason, they are usually open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” Hayes noted some airports will not allow for international arrivals or may have very limited availability, which could potentially require an adjustment to timing or a quick stop for customs.
Flying internationally with Jet Linx affords clients the flexibility to travel to remote islands, exclusive resorts, and lesser-known destinations in a fraction of the time. “Another benefit to private travel is that you can greatly expand your destination choices,” Hayes pointed out, adding, “Commercial airlines are forced to fly into larger airports and you are stuck catching a connecting flight, boat, or car to your intended destination. When you fly privately there are a wide range of airports that are too small for commercial airlines, but still allow customs clearance for private aircraft, making your travels that much easier.”
Spontaneous adventures are fun and exciting and private jet travel is all about flying on your own terms, however, it is recommended to plan ahead when possible. Your local Client Services team will gather your trip details, copies of your passport and visa and notify the Flight Coordination team who will begin processing your international paperwork. Hayes also suggests keeping any travel changes to a minimum to avoid delays.
“Some international destinations can be very picky so arriving on time for your departure is important, too,” Hayes noted. “If there’s even the slightest chance of arriving late, we recommend contacting the local Client Services team as soon as possible so the Flight Coordination team can try to mitigate any negative impact that it may have on your trip.”
In some cases, same-day departures are possible, but they are not guaranteed due to some destination restrictions. Generally, when traveling to Mexico, Canada and nearby island destinations, a 24-hour notice is sufficient. “We have long-standing relationships with Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas, so their restrictions are typically very relaxed when compared to some of the European destinations,” Hayes shared.
Other destinations may require up to a 72-hour notice. “Cuba and many of the Asian and African countries have strict permit requirements and lengthy turnaround times. It’s always best to plan ahead to avoid any hiccups.”
Jet Linx boasts an incredibly resourceful Flight Coordination team that is prepared to make your international travel a seamless experience. “We are proud to say that our Flight Coordination team processes most of our local international operations in-house at our National Operations Center,” Hayes noted. “This saves our clients money and also provides for a quicker planning process on your last-minute flights. For our long-range trips to more exotic destinations, we partner with many of the industry’s leading international handling companies, providing input every step of the way which allows us to ensure that you are receiving seamless trip planning at a reasonable cost.”