Not always. Depends on the mission. By myself, I’m no frills. I’ve used FBO’s right out of a Pete Fusco story, where you walk through a greasy garage into a filthy “lounge” with a cat roaming around, into a dirty rental car low on gas, or a crew car with the foam bursting through the cracked vinyl seat. And I was happy they were there.
On the other hand I remember a few years ago a COPA member being upset that someone recommended an FBO that fit the above description. It turned out the COPA member was piloting a Pilatus for some classy clients and they were none too happy! He failed to define the mission!
I don’t know the FBO business, but I would think to do well you’d have to cater to the clients who spend thousands on a stop, then just be nice to those of us who spend a few hundred to get us too.
The FBO at Pecos, TX doesn’t get Gulfstreams but when I was there, they gave you a free local-made fresh, meaty burrito and a soda pop. They also have a pool table. The military guys ferrying helicopters east-west stop there and buy a lot of Jet A because they can pocket their per diem and eat for free!
Well trained and friendly staff goes a long way. Things that make me cross an FBO off my list include water in the fuel jar, and another place where the line guy left my fuel cap off and it was raining! Oh and another place repositioned my plane right up next to a chain link fence with one chock on a very windy day. I once told a counter girl I wanted my plane topped off. She replied “top off to tabs or top off to the top?”. That’s where training helps. Like the guy who Gordon experienced who didn’t know what a decimal point was on the fuel truck’s meter!