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**Become a Better Person

“Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve all made mistakes throughout our lives that haven’t exactly put us in the best light–like bullying someone in school or telling what seemed like a little white lie. Chances are, however, you probably felt a little guilt and grew because of the situation.

I’m an average guy trying to become better in both my work and home life. I’ll never be perfect, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

If you want to continue to grow as a person, here are 15 ways to make the most of yourself.

1. Compliment Yourself
Every morning before you go on with your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to give yourself a compliment. Whether you compliment your outfit, haircut, or how you recently completed a task using your unique skill sets, giving yourself a little emotional boost will make you happy. And, when you’re happy with yourself, that emotion can be contagious to those around you. Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins has a mantra he says aloud to himself most days to put him in a peak performance state.

2. Don’t Make Excuses
Blaming your spouse, boss, or clients is fruitless and won’t get you very far. Instead of pointing fingers and making excuses about why you aren’t happy or successful in your personal or professional life, own your mistakes and learn from them. When you do this, you will become a better person. When I personally started living up to my mistakes and downfalls, my life turned itself around. I became happier and healthier, and my relationship with my wife improved. We are happier than ever.

3. Let Go of Anger
Letting go of anger is easier said than done. While anger is a perfectly normal emotion, you can’t let it fester. When this happens, you may make unwise decisions, and more important, it may affect your health. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease.

To help you let go of anger, Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, suggests you write your feelings down, pray or meditate, or begin to manage your thoughts.

4. Practice Forgiveness
Joyce Marter, LCPC, suggests you forgive and let go of resentment. She notes, “If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Take time to meditate, and give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, ‘I forgive you and I release you.'”

5. Be Honest and Direct
How would you feel if a loved one or business partner lied to you? Chances are you would see that as a violation of your trust. If you want to be a better person in either your personal or professional life, you should always tell the truth and state as clearly as possible what you are trying to convey. Learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in an open and honest manner.

6. Be Helpful
Whether giving up your seat to an elderly person on the subway, assisting a co-worker on a project, or carrying in the groceries when your spouse comes back from the store, being helpful is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice becoming a better person. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone around me.

7. Listen to Others
As Jeet Banerjee notes on Lifehack, “listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do.” He adds that he “got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people. Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner.”

8. Act Locally
It may not seem like a big deal, but supporting a local cause, donating clothes, or buying from local farmers’ markets or businesses are simple ways you can help your specific region. You may not be able to save the world, but you very well could make a difference in your neck of the woods. Get to know and care about your community.

9. Always Be Polite
How much effort does it take to say, “Thank you,” or to hold the elevator door open for someone? Not much at all. However, these acts of kindness can make someone’s day. I decided a few years ago that it doesn’t matter if someone is ultra rude, condescending, or worse. The way someone else behaves is not going to determine my behavior.

10. Be Yourself
Tiffany Mason has five excellent reasons on Lifehack why you should be yourself. These include being able to align yourself with your values and beliefs, establish your identity, build courage, create boundaries, and find focus and direction.

11. Be Open to Change
Whether trying a new restaurant, traveling to an unknown part of the world, or doing something that has always scared you, you should always be open to change. This allows you to grow because you experience something new. It helps you be high functioning and self-confident if you are not wary of change.

12. Be Respectful
How would you feel if you had just cleaned your home and someone came in and tracked mud everywhere? You’d probably be a little ticked that they hadn’t taken off their shoes. Take this mentality and apply it to everyday life. For example, don’t toss your trash or cigarette butts on the floor of public restrooms or sidewalks just because someone else will clean it up. Be respectful of others’ time, thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, feelings, work, and everything else. You don’t have to agree with any of it, but people have a right to their opinions and yours is not necessarily correct.

13. Don’t Show Up Empty-handed
Going to a party this weekend at your friend’s apartment? Make sure you don’t arrive empty-handed. Even if you’ve been assured that there will be plenty of food and drink, bring along a little something to show you appreciate being invited.

14. Educate Yourself
If you don’t understand why one country is invading another, take the time to educate yourself on the current event. Ask a person intimately connected with the event for his or her thoughts. Remember, we’re all interconnected, and being aware of different cultures, different people, and what their lives are like can make you a more well-rounded individual. This will also help you understand points of view different from your own.

15. Surprise People
How good does it feel to make someone smile? It feels pretty good, right? Surprise your loved ones or co-workers now and then, with a gift, a night out on the town, or by offering help when you know they could use it.

Becoming a better person doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible!

What other tips have you found useful for becoming a better person?

Random Thoughts We Have In The Shower!!!

We think of a lot of really random stuff in the shower, don’t we?

It used to be you’d just think it and then ignore it. Maybe you’d decide to tell a friend or two.

Well thanks to the Shower Thoughts Reddit, we are now able to share these incredibly dumb, yet insanely brilliant, eye-openers with the rest of the world.

Here are some of the best shower thoughts to ever make their way online.

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Being Alone & Loneliness, they are two very different things…

Since the late 1980s, scientists have been tracking a whale across the Pacific Ocean.

It sings at a sonic frequency higher than any other species of whale: at 52 Hertz, just above the lowest note on a tuba.

The whale calls out; no one answers.

It’s been nicknamed the loneliest animal in the world.

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It’s become a dirty word, loaded with shame and stigma. No one admits to feeling it.

Scientists diagnose ‘loneliness epidemics’ as if it’s an infectious disease. We fear hearing the word spoken aloud in case we catch it.

It terrifies us.

Perhaps that’s why children are sent to their rooms to be alone as punishment. Adults without families are automatically pitied.

But wait — isn’t there a difference between solitude and loneliness?

We use the two interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state; someone who spends time alone must, naturally, be lonely.

But that’s not the case.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.

Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.

This brings us to an interesting paradox: if you can master solitude, you’ll never feel lonely again.

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Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7.

We’ve never been so connected — superficially, at least.

And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely.

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a loneliness minister.

Australia organized a Coalition to End Loneliness.

One in five Americans reports rarely or never feeling close to others.

And a recent study of over 20,000 people found that nearly half of respondents sometimes or always felt lonely.

The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

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Here’s the truth about loneliness

Loneliness is an internal state that doesn’t — as most people assume — depend on external factors.

In fact, it’s largely unrelated to what’s going on around us.

You can be surrounded by people, lying in bed next to your partner, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

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Our fear of solitude is really fear of boredom

We read our phones while we brush our teeth. We listen to Podcasts on the subway.

We can’t simply be. We feel compelled to always do.

We can’t allow ourselves a moment of self-inflicted boredom.

We’re scared of where this boredom will take us.

Of what we will hear in our heads if we lapse into true silence: hopes, dreams, shame, embarrassment… Fear of failure.

We want to be entertained, constantly. The alternative — introspection — intimidates us.

And so, we drown out our discomfort with distractions.

But that doesn’t mean the discomfort will go away.

Connected yet lonely

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The Western world promotes two glaring contradictions:

1. Know yourself.

2. The human species is born to be social.

We’re told happiness comes from within.

And yet, we’re never taught how to be alone with ourselves.

We put enormous effort into training children in how to be social.

We send them to playgroups and playdates.

We tell them not to fight, not to swear, to be polite.

But we deprive them of one thing: the capacity to be alone, and content.

We celebrate self-esteem. But we stigmatize spending time with the person we should know, and like, the best: ourselves.

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The joy of being alone

Real solitude is almost impossible to experience in the modern world.

And for some, this makes it the ultimate privilege.

Being sent to your room as punishment?

It should be a reward,” says Sara Maitland, author of How To Be Alone.

“It should be: ‘You’ve been so good that now you can go to your room to be by yourself and do anything you like!’”

Some people choose a life of complete solitude. Others know they can harness times of stillness to find answers to questions, solutions to problems.

After a certain amount of time by myself, I’d begin to panic.

But others, I’d push through that initial discomfort. And it was on those days that my most original ideas came to me. Boredom is the most important emotion that helped me to grow JotForm to almost 4 million users.

Solitude deprives you. It stretches you. It illuminates. And this breeds creativity.

Zat Rana describes this process perfectly:

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow.

The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity. You learn that there are other things you are capable of paying attention to than just what makes the most noise on the surface.

Alone but not lonely: how to utilize solitude

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Solitude is scary because it reminds us of how small we are. We realize that the world has, and will, continue turning on its axis without us.

We are insignificant. In some ways, it’s a preview of death. That’s why it requires great inner strength to be alone. To know that you are not going to disappear into thin air without human contact.

That strength is a muscle we can exercise through deliberate practice.

And like any fear, the only way to overcome solitude is to face it. Ease yourself in, with 10 minutes, then 20, then 30, of solitude a day, or week, or month.

As I’ve written before, there’s great power in doing nothing at all.

Letting your boredom take you will be uncomfortable at first. It might be painful — even profoundly so — but before long, this will ease.

The interesting thing about the 52 Hertz whale isn’t its loneliness. After all, it can’t be lonely; loneliness is a man-made condition.

No. What sets the 52 Hertz whale apart from other species is its self-reliance. Its strength.

It’s so powerful that it can survive for decades completely by itself.

Luckily for us, solitude will always be a choice, not an existence. It’s true that humans are born to be social.

But when we find strength — rather than fear — in solitude, we will live far richer lives: with others, and with ourselves.

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed…

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In the movie Creed, boxer Adonis Creed takes a brutal punch in the fight of his life, and gets knocked to the ground. He hits the floor hard. The people in his corner are shouting, “Get up! Get up!” His opponent is on the ropes celebrating, thinking it’s over.

But while Creed is out, his mind is scrolling through all he’s been through up until that point, and all the people who love and motivate him. Like a jolt, he’s up before the count of ten — and is back in the fight.

Creed’s boxing life may seem to bear little resemblance to our lives as believers. Though we encounter battles, we don’t train intensely for them, with dedicated professionals to put us through our paces and shore up our weaknesses. We don’t know the time, date, and location of our next bout, such that we can show up prepared. Our battles are spiritual, seemingly upending the comparison.

But as the apostle Paul showed, boxing (like running) provides a vivid metaphor for the Christian life (1 Corinthians 9:26).

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You Will Get Hit

We often don’t see it coming. It could be a health crisis, loss of a loved one, an employment shake-up, betrayal, or some form of persecution. Or maybe it’s something we’re aware of, something we thought was mild or temporary, but it “hits” when it morphs from hill to mountain.

The question is not whether we will find ourselves in a battle, but when. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). Paul likewise says it’s part of our privilege as believers. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). We remember vividly the times we have been hit. Many of us are still recovering.

Moreover, we have an enemy who specializes in sucker punches. He schemes how he will execute, watching for opportune times, hitting when he thinks it will connect with force. Nothing touches us apart from the sovereign sanction of the Lord. The Lord uses it for his purposes and for our good. But there’s a reason he tells us to remain fully clothed in his armor. Forces are arrayed against us, shooting fiery arrows. There are times we will get hit.

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You Will Go Down

Sometimes we are hit with such force that we are knocked down. Life takes a hard tilt, and the effect is tantamount to being thrown face down to the ground. The circumstance is devastating, the pain excruciating. Try as we might, in that moment it is difficult to grab hold of any semblance of joy or hope.

The apostle Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). We rejoice that, because of Christ, we are not crushed, despairing, forsaken, or destroyed.

But the other words are true, as well. For the sake of Christ, we may find ourselves afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.

Peter drives home this reality as well when he says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). The ordeal is fiery, and it does come upon you. It packs a knockout punch.

The enemy’s goal is to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The Lord’s goal is to grow us in faith, trust, and endurance.

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You Can Get Up

When we are hit hard and knocked to the ground, it feels as if our strength is gone. The bruises of hurt, heartache, and pain keep us pinned. As in Creed, the enemy celebrates, thinking it’s over. But the Lord is faithful. He has given us powerful truths to hold onto when we are down — truths that help us get up, again.

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ” (Romans 8:39). God himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us after we’ve suffered for a little while (1 Peter 5:10). Even this — being hit so hard that we are knocked to the ground — will work together for good (Romans 8:28).

We remember that Jesus was once down, crucified, and buried and, for a time, the enemy surely rejoiced. But Jesus rose on the third day, and the same power that raised him from the dead is at work in us who believe. We get up because we’ve been graciously given eternal life, and what we endure in this life cannot compare to the glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).

We never stand alone, (though, at times, you may feel alone), toe-to-toe with the enemy, in our battles. Our God, mighty in power, fights for us. Shod in his armor, we stand firm. And even if we’re knocked down, the truth is that he is upholding us with his hand (Psalm 37:24).

A Little History on “Labor Day”

Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, except for shopping and barbecuing. For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year.

The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.

History of Labor Day

The first Labor Day occurred in 1882 in New York City under the direction of that city’s Central Labor Union.

In the 1800s, unions covered only a small fraction of workers and were balkanized and relatively weak. The goal of organizations like the Central Labor Union and more modern-day counterparts like the AFL-CIO was to bring many small unions together to achieve a critical mass and power. The organizers of the first Labor Day were interested in creating an event that brought different types of workers together to meet each other and recognize their common interests.

However, the organizers had a large problem: No government or company recognized the first Monday in September as a day off work. The issue was solved temporarily by declaring a one-day strike in the city. All striking workers were expected to march in a parade and then eat and drink at a giant picnic afterwards.

The New York Tribune’s reporter covering the event felt the entire day was like one long political barbecue, with “rather dull speeches.”

Why was Labor Day invented?

Labor Day came about because workers felt they were spending too many hours and days on the job.

In the 1830s, manufacturing workers were putting in 70-hour weeks on average. Sixty years later, in 1890, hours of work had dropped, although the average manufacturing worker still toiled in a factory 60 hours a week.

These long working hours caused many union organizers to focus on winning a shorter eight-hour work day. They also focused on getting workers more days off, such as the Labor Day holiday, and reducing the workweek to just six days.

These early organizers clearly won since the most recent data show that the average person working in manufacturing is employed for a bit over 40 hours a week and most people work only five days a week.

Surprisingly, many politicians and business owners were actually in favor of giving workers more time off. That’s because workers who had no free time were not able to spend their wages on traveling, entertainment or dining out.

As the U.S. economy expanded beyond farming and basic manufacturing in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it became important for businesses to find consumers interested in buying the products and services being produced in ever greater amounts. Shortening the work week was one way of turning the working class into the consuming class.

Common misconceptions

The common misconception is that since Labor Day is a national holiday, everyone gets the day off. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While the first Labor Day was created by striking, the idea of a special holiday for workers was easy for politicians to support. It was easy because proclaiming a holiday, like Mother’s Day, costs legislators nothing and benefits them by currying favor with voters. In 1887, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey all declared a special legal holiday in September to celebrate workers.

Within 12 years, half the states in the country recognized Labor Day as a holiday. It became a national holiday in June 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed the Labor Day bill into law. While most people interpreted this as recognizing the day as a national vacation, Congress’ proclamation covers only federal employees. It is up to each state to declare its own legal holidays.

Moreover, proclaiming any day an official holiday means little, as an official holiday does not require private employers and even some government agencies to give their workers the day off. Many stores are open on Labor Day. Essential government services in protection and transportation continue to function, and even less essential programs like national parks are open. Because not everyone is given time off on Labor Day, union workers as recently as the 1930s were being urged to stage one-day strikes if their employer refused to give them the day off.

In the president’s annual Labor Day declaration last year, Obama encouraged Americans “to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities that honor the contributions and resilience of working Americans.”

The proclamation, however, does not officially declare that anyone gets time off.

Controversy: Militants and founders

Today most people in the U.S. think of Labor Day as a noncontroversial holiday.

There is no family drama like at Thanksgiving, no religious issues like at Christmas. However, 100 years ago there was controversy.

The first controversy that people fought over was how militant workers should act on a day designed to honor workers. Communist, Marxist and socialist members of the trade union movement supported May 1 as an international day of demonstrations, street protests and even violence, which continues even today.

More moderate trade union members, however, advocated for a September Labor Day of parades and picnics. In the U.S., picnics, instead of street protests, won the day.

There is also dispute over who suggested the idea. The earliest history from the mid-1930s credits Peter J. McGuire, who founded the New York City Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, in 1881 with suggesting a date that would fall “nearly midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving” that “would publicly show the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”

Later scholarship from the early 1970s makes an excellent case that Matthew Maguire, a representative from the Machinists Union, actually was the founder of Labor Day. However, because Matthew Maguire was seen as too radical, the more moderate Peter McGuire was given the credit.

Who actually came up with the idea will likely never be known, but you can vote online here to express your view.

Have we lost the spirit of Labor Day?

Today Labor Day is no longer about trade unionists marching down the street with banners and their tools of trade. Instead, it is a confused holiday with no associated rituals.

The original holiday was meant to handle a problem of long working hours and no time off. Although the battle over these issues would seem to have been won long ago, this issue is starting to come back with a vengeance, not for manufacturing workers but for highly skilled white-collar workers, many of whom are constantly connected to work.

If you work all the time and never really take a vacation, start a new ritual that honors the original spirit of Labor Day. Give yourself the day off. Don’t go in to work. Shut off your phone, computer and other electronic devices connecting you to your daily grind. Then go to a barbecue, like the original participants did over a century ago, and celebrate having at least one day off from work during the year!

Points to Ponder on flying on a Private Aircraft This Holiday Season!

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Flying on commercial airlines during the holiday season can be thrilling and exciting… but highly stressful. One of the best ways to help reduce stress is by flying by private aircraft charters. Flying private, whether on a light jet for a shorter distance, or on heavy jet like a Gulfstream, has many advantages. People who fly charter flights find that doing so enables them to enjoy a faster, more comfortable trip with easy access to superior service and impressive safety records… not to mention no security lines, long delays and crowded airports. See the list below for the reasons you’ll want to fly by private jet this holiday season.

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No Need to Wait on Long Lines

A private jet means just that: private. Flying private means only a limited number of passengers will be flying on the airplane — and they’ll be your friends and family! Fewer people boarding aircraft means less time spent waiting on the ground during endless lines while lugging around heavy items as airline officials spend time processing hundreds of passengers. The beauty of private travel and excellent service means you can be onboard your aircraft as soon as minutes after arrival to the airport.

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Access to More Airports

Another advantage of flying privately is access to more airports all over the country and all over the world. Many smaller airplanes can land in smaller airports that are often overlooked or not served at all by the larger air carriers. Heading to Sun Valley, Idaho from Santa Ana, California? Easily doable via private jet charter.

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Shorter Flights

A private jet can often land in a smaller airport that is closer to the passenger’s planned eventual destination. This allows many passengers to land more closely to their desired city or town and allows them to save time and effort getting from one place to another.

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Flexible Scheduling

Flying on a private plane often allows passengers the opportunity to enjoy a more flexible flight time. Flight times can be adjusted as needed by airline staffers in order to account for factors such as a passenger arriving late or the need to leave quickly to catch a business meeting. Weather permitting, private aircraft crews leave depart on your schedule.

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Better Service

Flying on private jet allows people access to better service while in the air. No need to flag down a flight attendant as she attends to the needs of ten other passengers at the same time. Companies like ours take care of your VIP catering, ground transportation, and all of your special requests.

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Roomier Seats

Flying standard airplanes often means being crammed into very tiny seats with limited legroom and close proximity to strangers for hours. No so when flying a private jet. Private jets have seats, and even beds in some planes, that are roomy and comfortable. This helps passengers arrive at their overall destination relaxed and happy once they get there.

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An Excellent Safety Record

Private jets have an excellent safety record.

There are certain standards of operational excellence that flight departments around the world look to achieve.  Many aviation industry audits provide you with varying degrees of operating standards along a wide spectrum.

Catering at Flight Level 450

For those who have never flown private, imagining what it’s like on board the cabin can be entertaining. Images of champagne and caviar on a silver platter might come to mind – but is that what it’s actually like?

The truth is when flying by private jet, you have endless options for what you can choose to eat. Requests can vary as much as the itinerary of the flight, and you can get pretty much anything your heart (or taste buds) desire.

While some customers request extravagant and complex menus, most private jet passengers choose simpler dishes – both options will be of high quality, regardless.

So what exactly do most private jet customers request for food on board? We take a look:


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A platter of cheese and cured meats is often served on a small jet or short flight. This is typically served with fresh bread and sometimes with other cold antipasti or salad dishes.


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A platter of freshly-prepared sushi is a very popular choice with clients from all over the world. While sushi can be provided by our preferred caterers, many clients have a favorite sushi restaurant where we can also source their favorite dishes from.


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Smoked salmon is a popular choice, as it works for any time of day. Whether for breakfast with scrambled eggs, with bread and salads for lunch, or served as a starter on a longer flight – it’s quite the versatile bite.


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Grilled chicken is a very popular choice on medium range flights as a lunch option, often served with salad. Roast chicken or a stuffed breast of chicken is also popular as a hot dining option on longer flights.


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Perhaps surprisingly, many of our customer request pizza to eat during the flight. Sometimes this will be freshly prepared by the caterer, or if the customer has a specific favorite pizza restaurant, we’ll arrange a delivery to the aircraft.


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Breakfast is often served outbound on a day return business aviation flight. Warm croissants are our most requested breakfast item, sometimes served alone, but more often as part of a continental selection alongside other pastries and fruit.


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At least one of the stereotypes is true! Champagne is the most-requested drink for private jet flights. Though bottled water, soda, juices are standard on most flights, champagne is always a favorite.


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Fresh fruit is a popular choice for flights at any time of day. This is usually served as a beautifully-arranged plate, with a selection of fruits such as mixed berries, pineapple, melon, kiwi, or mango. But we’ll often adapt this to the client’s preferences or to avoid allergies.

These, are some of the favorites that many of my clients chose to have on their flights. Either the short hops, or flights across the country.

It really is alot of fun ordering food in the NE, and having my crew pick up Pastrami sandwiches for my clients, when in New York.

Or in Seattle, getting the Fresh Salmon and Bagels for the early morning departure.

Will talk in another story about the catering companies that I have used in different parts of the country.