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Etiquette 101 for Guest Jetters

A primer on the unwritten rules for the friendly skies.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Whether chartering your own flight or guesting on someone else's plane, there are unwritten rules for the friendly skies.

Arrive Early: People fly private so they don't have to wait. Get there before your host does.

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Give A Gift, But Dont Show Up With One: Sure, you want to show your appreciation with something special. But don't let your present be a drag on your host's luggage or -- even in a G5 -- relatively tight space. "If you are bringing a gift on a plane, you are just asking your host to carry it himself. It's lovely to send something like a case of wine the day before or the day after," says etiquette expert Alex Hitz.

Hanky-Panky Is Hard to Hide: In particular, hookers need to use their real names on board, just as anyone else would have to be listed on the passenger manifest. Sorry, it's an FAA regulation, bud. "I've had guys ask me, 'Do these names have to show up on the itinerary?' The answer is yes," says a broker. But another one claims a jet crew "that's flown with you a long time" will sometimes look the other way.

Avoid the "Master Seat": The power player who chartered the flight is known as the principal. He or she always gets first dibs on a preferred chair, which typically is the first on the right side upon entrance and has most of the lighting and AV controls. "Let whomever the jet is for sit down first," advises Irena Medavoy, wife of producer Mike Medavoy.

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Don't Smoke Anything: You theoretically could smuggle your stash onto the plane because bags don't go through security, but think of whom that secondhand smoke affects -- the ones flying the plane. One charter broker recalls a prominent rapper lighting up: "The pilots couldn't have drugs in their system, so they put on their oxygen masks for the rest of the flight."

Just Hold It: "Don't go No. 2 -- ever," says a veteran guest in good standing, noting the relatively cramped quarters on even midsize equipment.

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