Flying Five-Star with a Three-Star Checkbook

Soaring businesses tend to be those devoted to innovation, to spontaneous improvisation, to consistent refreshment and to the visibility of extraordinary details.

Private flying, perhaps more than any other industry, of its nature requires all of these dynamics. The consumer is sophisticated and accustomed to superlative standards; he or she is savvy to the competition, and customer service at its best still needs more than friendly skies. In this arena, product is key.

With a rare unlimited budget, the mega-locker can be stocked with indulgences that can please the most rose-colored glasses and the most distinguished palate. However, with a realistic checkbook, there is a more of a challenge involved in eliciting an unequivocal round of applause. Here’s where the ingenuity of the supplier becomes the critical factor in ensuring success. There is more to pleasing the bottom line than simple numbers or rock bottom prices for ordinary amenities. What goes on board needs to be simultaneously cost effective and enchantingly brand new.

It is a given that perishable catering needs to be exquisitely fresh, properly prepared and attractively presented. The menu needs to have variety and lean toward what is healthy and easiest to digest in the air. What is often overlooked though, is the importance of the non-perishable complements to the main meal, or the short flight snack service that brings the destination closer in the enjoyment of the experience.

One would expect that higher-end taste-quenchers would ring up higher prices, but the secret is in the sizing. Kettle Chips in exotic flavors, Terra vegetable chips, Gary West dried meats and sausages, and Bissinger’s chocolate bars are only some of taste-pleasers that are now packaged in flight-friendly wrappings. They are sized and priced to be just right in both cost and calories.

The same is true of other on-board necessities, such as bathroom amenities and medications. The smaller the package, the less the waste.  No one appreciates open containers of anything from hand lotion to pain relievers. Smaller packaging ensures minimal waste, safety and allows the flight team to put much higher-end sundries on the airplane. Names like Ferragamo and Bvlgari onboard give the clients their level of deserved well-being and the assurance that they are indeed a step ahead of first class.

I believe that boring flights are a sure way to lose customers. I recommend changing it up regularly, and working with a supplier who can accommodate your needs piece-by-piece, not just by the case, so you get exactly what you need. This helps you with creating exciting variety for your clients. For the current season, I recommend putting seasonal beer onboard and a sparkling rose for summer. I also suggest handing out warm or cool towels as the passengers leave the plane, with a drop of lavender or lemon to fragrance the towel. This adds a touch of comfort. That little drop is a five-star touch that leaves a lasting impression and costs next to nothing. Royal care is absolutely affordable.


If you have any questions about this article, contact Annie Balshi at

This is an article by guest author Annie Balshi, CEO of B. E. Princess, a corporate aviation amenities supplier. Annie takes pride in her ability to place herself in the customers’ shoes. She uses her expertise to select products that appeal in appearance and flavor, mixing them up and blending them so that almost every flight has a different basket. Any thoughts expressed in this article are entirely Annie’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Air Culinaire Worldwide.

If you would like to be considered for becoming a guest author, please contact

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