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Author Topic: FBO Etiquette  (Read 879 times)

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richardwg21

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FBO Etiquette
« on: April 19, 2017, 10:08:49 AM »
Out of curiosity, do you contact the FBO in advance to let them know that you are arriving?

smutny

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 10:25:34 AM »
If I need something beyond fuel, yes.  When flying cross country, I'll call ahead to find cars, hangars or such as part of my route planning.
John Smutny

Life is not a journey to the grave intending of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, used up, worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Damn, what a ride!

Flying Dan

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 11:53:37 AM »
Depends on needs and location.  But yes, most of the time I'll call ahead of time to secure a tie-down or other services.
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JRo

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 12:27:30 PM »
Can we expand this to general etiquette?

I am planning on making more long distance trips and expect to use FBO's more often.  What are the best practices when utilizing FBOs?  Clearly we want them to be available as we travel away from the local airport.

Is it as simple as buying fuel?
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Wombat

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 01:13:40 PM »
My thoughts:

If they have self-service fuel and I only want fuel and I'll be there for less than 8 hours I don't call ahead.
If I'm going to tie down for more than 12 hours, I call ahead.
If they don't have self-service fuel, I call ahead.
If I want to use a courtesy car, unless I'm very familiar with the process at that airport I call ahead.
If I do use a courtesy car, I give them money.   Either through purchasing fuel or a $10 or $20 donation. 
If I tie down for more than 24 hours, I give them money.  Either by buying fuel, oil, or a cash donation.
If I interact with anybody from the FBO in person other than maybe a brief 'hello', I give them money.  (Exception:  If they marshall me in to their FBO unasked and there is plenty of 'public' parking for free at another location, I won't.  That seems to me like they are trying to sell me a service I didn't want or need, so to hell with them.)
If it's a big FBO (Atlantic Aviation, MillionAir, etc) I won't do anything above a fuel purchase or oil if I need it.
If it's a small FBO and particularly at a small airport, I'll purchase oil I don't need and/or donate extra cash.
If there is no free public parking at the airport and all transient parking is owned by FBOs, I'll always buy fuel if they offer it, even if they let me park there for free.   They had to pay for the rights to that section of the ramp, I want them to keep making it available to little folks like me.
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BruceAir

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 07:30:28 AM »
Many FBOs, even at small airports, have websites and/or email addresses. If you're counting on refueling or think that you might need other services, it's a good idea to call or email in advance just to make sure that they'll have what you need.
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JRo

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 07:52:24 AM »
Thanks for the pointers. 

I think Wombat understood my (poorly worded) question best.  I want to support FBO's and make sure we have affordable access to services for trips away from our home airport.  However, its clear that I should give them a heads up.
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smutny

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 11:34:44 AM »
AirNav.com has a section where consumers can leave comments about FBO's.  The usual Internet rules apply, take over the top positive and negative comments with a grain of salt.
John Smutny

Life is not a journey to the grave intending of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, used up, worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Damn, what a ride!

tosten

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 12:52:05 PM »
I generally avoid the Atlantic/Signature show if I can.  I have generally found MillionAirs to be pretty reasonable for a big chain FBO.  Their fuel is generally on the high side, but not a complete gouging.  At the three facilities I have not found any silly list of made of fees just to show up.  They're always very accommodating.  From the guys in Yuma who handed me a bottle of water as got out of my Mighty Skyhawk (after I bought self serve gas) to the folks in Medford letting me use the Mercedes crew car just to go to In-N-Out (bought gas).  My $0.02
Paul

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CubFlying.com

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 03:26:42 PM »
I generally avoid the Atlantic/Signature show if I can...


I've had great luck with Signature, most recently when I pulled the Super Legend Cub into their KMCO - Orlando International location. 

Yes there was a $39 overnight fee, but for that I received:

Cold, bottled water as I shut the plane down;
Chocks large enough for 29" tires;
Clean, strong tiedown ropes;
Golf cart ride to lobby;
Fresh popcorn, apples and Danishes;
They made crew-rate reservations ($79) for me at the (sold-out) Double Tree;
Transported me to the hotel;
Picked my wife and I up at a time I scheduled the next morning and took us back to airplane.

I don't mind paying for service.  Certainly it isn't cheap leasing land at a Class B airport.

Two nights later we stopped at False River Airport in New Roads, LA.

There, the airport manager of 42 years got us a hangar for the Cub, gave us transportation to the local motel, picked us up in the morning and gave me this cool, airport challenge coin:



Two very different places, both with excellent service.
Daryl Hickman, CFI

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groupw

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 04:27:08 PM »
Thanks for the pointers. 

I think Wombat understood my (poorly worded) question best.  I want to support FBO's and make sure we have affordable access to services for trips away from our home airport.  However, its clear that I should give them a heads up.
I agree entirely about supporting the FBOs. But I seldom feel the need to call (by phone or radio) ahead at each one where I stop. It occurs to me that if everyone did this, they would unnecessarily spend a large amount of time on the phone or radio for no purpose. I do sometimes call ahead if I'd like a car or some other type of transportation or service other than fuel. But I've found that most won't reserve a car but assign them on a first-come-first-served basis so there's usually no point in calling ahead for a car.

On my long cross country trips I usually don't know much in advance where I'll stop, either for fuel or overnight -- my route varies with weather, what's interesting, and my mood, and I stop whenever I need fuel or I or my passenger is ready for a break. So I wouldn't know who to call even if I thought it was important.

Roy

ErikU

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 10:49:08 PM »
I fly to distant FBO's regularly.  I never call unless I need something like:

- Rental car
- Transportation
- Hotel discounts (these are often well worth calling)
- Crew car
- Fee breakdown (only for big city FBO's or long stays)

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OnYourSix

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Re: FBO Etiquette
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2017, 09:07:00 AM »
I also call ahead to find out what kind of cookies the FBO will be putting out that day.  This is most important!
It's always good to call ahead for services and ramp space, and everyone already covered the main reasons, but the cookies.....