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FTC Private Air Terminal Morristown...BEWARE

thatpilotguy

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I have taken a day or so to gather my thoughts prior to writing this, but there is no way that I could let the experience we had go unheard in the corporate, fractional and charter aviation community.

We have all had the "terrible" FBO experience, but this one takes the cake. I'll start at the beginning...I called Signature and FTC in MMU and priced the ramp, overnight and fuel costs for both FBO's. Having always used Signature, I was pleased to see that there might be an alternative FBO at Morristown. The overnight fees, and facility fees where less...so we gave FTC a shot.

The passenger rental car had no fuel. Not the FBO's fault, but they should have checked. Our arrival was at 11pm...and the passengers could not find an open gas station. They actually had to stop a local law enforcement officer and find a gas station with pumps that were still on. The crew rental car was not at the FBO and they could not get one. They ordered us a town car to the hotel at a cost of $30.00.

The following morning we went to the FBO and picked up a rental car, and I spoke to the FBO manager Alex. I typically wouldn't use first names, but this guy deserves all that is coming to him! I spoke to him about the passenger rental car fuel problem and then the crew rental car issue. I asked that the FBO pick up the $30.00 for the cab ride to the hotel as a result of the crew rental car screw up. He declined and added that we were to pay an overtime charge and after hours fee in addition to the facility and over night ramp fee. I said no...I had the guys name that I spoke too, he knew our arrival time and mentioned nothing about the additional fees. He asked if we where going to buy fuel...I said, no. At this point things got ugly. Alex went completely off the handle when I said that I wouldn't buy gas, wouldn't pay the overtime and after hours fees. I continued to argue with him...they failed to deliver the services we had arranged, failed to make good on the services they where to provide, and now you think that I'm going to pay some fees that were never discussed when I setup our arrival...no way. He then asked if I had signed some sort of legal agreement letter. I said no, and he asked me to sign it. I declined...and told him that our legal team would need to review it before I could sign anything. He then said that he wasn't going to let us leave...I actually laughed out loud...and said that we wanted to be online at 5pm and I would pay the $400.00 that we discussed now, no more than that amount. Having lost the arguement I thought that was the end of it.

I received a conference call from the executive assistant for one of our passengers, the executive assitant to the owner of the company and other company officials...the executive assistant called the FBO to followup with the passengers rental car having no fuel and Alex went off. Using all sorts of profanity, name calling and was beyond unpleasant with her. This conference call lasted minutes...and of course we won't be going back.

I did call FTC late last night and found out a little more about their operation. Apparently Alex is in charge of fuel, the rental cars and any overtime, after hours fees. There is another group that is in charge of the ramp and facility fees. Alex reports to no one, and I have not been able to get a hold of the group in charge of the facility and ramp fees.

In any event, the legal letter is to disolve them of any aircraft damage, essentially a hold harmless agreement. They are not a true FBO, as I'm sure that MMU would not approve another FBO...with all that said, use Signature. I wouldn't normally endorse them, but take my experience and learn from it. There is no excuse for this type of behavior, or bad management...it is my goal to leave a review about our experience on any forum, or customer review board I can find...and then email them a link to the review so they can read the glowing remarks. Someone once told me that there is no better advertising than word of mouth!

DON'T GO TO FTC!!!
 

semperfido

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man, that sounds awful. We never sign those things. He would hate us as well, we rarely buy fuel(tanker,tanker) either.
 

AbOvo

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Have you read or written any comments at Airnav.com or fltplan? There are some similar experiences on that site.

There is no way I would tolerate that kind of operation, it costs way too much to fly these days to have bad service.

Thank you for the info BTW
 

StarHustler

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Like most on these boards, I think that the Signature FBO chain is a rip off on price and lackluster at best on service -with the one exception of MMU. I have been going in their for years. First as a lowly freight dog flying tired old Navaho's at 4am and later, as a Jet Captain, and I have always had excellent service from these folks. I guess it boils down to the management on property. Anyway, thanks for the 'heads up'. I won't be patronizing that outfit either.
 

HMR

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Wow!!!

We were just at FTC this morning and have used them many times. I've never experienced nor heard of anyone having the problems you describe. It's definitely a small, mom & pop type operation but that's one of the reasons we choose to go there. Rental cars/limos are always waiting within feet of our aircraft and fuel and catering are delivered as quickly as any FBO I've ever been to. Certainly faster service than anywhere at TEB. Saving >$1.00 per gallon vs. Signature is also a big incentive.

Your interaction with Alex sounds like a nightmare. This is so far from anything I've experienced that I wonder if there's not more to the story? Regardless, there's no excuse for an employee acting that way.

As for the "legal letter"- are you referring to the "membership agreement" that everyone using FTC has to sign? Since FTC is a "Private FBO" you have to be a "Member" to use it. Membership is free of charge, available to anyone and renewable month-to-month (only have to fill out the paperwork once). My understanding is that the whole membership deal is to get around a city ordinance(?). Regardless, it was a pretty easy decision for me to become a member in order to save $2,000+ per top-off.
 

thatpilotguy

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HMR-

Like any place I'm sure that there are folks out there that have had a positive experience with FTC. I actually ran into my old Chief Pilot. He was the guy that hired me for my first flying job, and I respect him very much, and he had nothing but good things to say about FTC.

I can tell you truthfully, that there isn't more to the story. I'm a pretty likeable guy, not one for arguing or starting a war of words. Honestly, I didn't care all that much that Alex was upset with me, I cared more about his treatment of the administrative assistant. I believe what she said he called her and how he spoke to her.

I have read the membership agreement, and to be honest after our arguement, I didn't care if it said I won the lottery, I wasn't about to sign anything he gave me.

The fuel price at FTC is better than Signature, the CAA fuel price at TEB is cheaper still and with our ability to tanker fuel, more often than not we don't buy gas on the road. Given the choice we will most likely go to TEB in the future. The line guys at FTC were great, and if they would switch rental car companies, none of this would have been an issue.
 
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SansPlane

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4 most recent comments from AirNav.com

02-Jul-2008 Fuel price is no joke, but this is a bait-and-switch operation in the best tradition of a New York three-card Monte operation. Ramp fees that they don't tell you about are astronomical and put the total cost way up over Signature's outrageous fees. Caveat emptor.

05-Jun-2008I was not very pleased with the service with FTC Private Terminal. Marshalling us into their ramp was difficult due to not understanding the line crew with signals not used by the AIM concerning. The Ramp Fees were expensive and were mentioned on the website (Members only! Becoming a member requires no fees or commitments. Simply fill out a membership agreement that is pilot-executable and non-binding. New members welcome!) I was charge over $350 for two nights for a light jet. I will never go back to FTC or MMU.

19-May-2008Jet fuel price $5.27. Charged ramp fee of $206.00 for a turboprop. Nice friendly service. Even have a crew car to get eats. Pilot's pax lounge comfortable. They have Internet and WSI with a working printer! I can't compare with Signature on the field since we have used FTC for quite a while. It helps to call ahead with a phone call with an ETA so they can be waiting for you. Not a 24 hr operation.

24-Oct-2007What a RIP OFF. Fuel is quoted as cheap, however they fail to tell you there is a HUGE ramp fee. We were charged $560 for the privilege of parking for two nights. Avoid these people.
 
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Fly91

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I said no, and he asked me to sign it. I declined...and told him that our legal team would need to review it before I could sign anything. He then said that he wasn't going to let us leave...

If the plane wasn't buried somewhere and you can start engines where it was sitting, I would have jumped in the plane and took it over to Signature right then and there. Tell him to contact the company attorneys.

"Alex", have to remember this prick.
 

Gulfstream 200

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Never sign anything!

I dont say this often...:laugh: ....but Im right there with 91, Id laugh at that ass and go move the plane right then and there.

I'd also contact Alex's boss with the details and send him a link to this and any other threads as these boards do get some (although not as much as one may think) exposure out in the industry..

If he worked for me he would be gone tomorrow! - its a competitive market today, places cant afford to have an "Alex"
 

say again

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Havent been to MMU in a while, but is this the place where you have to taxi on very narrow taxi-ways to get to??
 

SansPlane

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http://www.ftcprivateterminal.com/category/ftc-private-terminal/
Archive for the 'FTC Private Terminal' Category

Current Info 11/11/08

Nov 11th 2008FTCFTC Private Terminal
Arriving aircraft are requested to provide a two hour notification for guaranteed services.
The MMUFTC can be reached at 973-401-0106.
The MMUFTC frequency is 130.95.
Remember that the MMUFTC ramp provides direct vehicle access to your aircraft.
Becoming a member requires no fees or commitments.
Simply fill out a membership agreement that is pilot-executable and non-binding.
New members welcome!
 

TimsKeeper

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ftc

I've been in and out of FTC quite a bit. If you play their game they can be a lower cost alternative to Signature.

HOWEVER, they are not well equipped to deal with your problems like Signature is; staffing, access to and on ramp, etc. Sometimes you're lucky to get a copy of your bill after an hour of your fueling when they are busy.

When operations calls to "reserve" the right to go on their ramp they wash their hands of what we have to deal with there. One of these days something will happen and we'll be going to Signature again.

If you are aware of this and go in there you asked for it. They aren't a typical FBO.

timskeeper
 

thatpilotguy

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I have submitted a review to airnav. It takes 48hrs to approve the review.

Many of what all of you said is true...FTC is not equipped to deal with anything out of the ordinary and when their system breaks down they lack any level of professionalism to correct or deal with the issue. That's my real problem here. Your going to run into problems, thats a fact of life, but its how the organization corrects the problem that really counts.

FTC's fees may be stated on their website, but that doesn't trump the fact that I spoke to an individual at the organization, setup our arrival and additional fees were added after the fact. That's deceptive business at best.

As for talking with Alex's boss...he doesn't seem to have one. He does have some sort of business arrangement with the group that collects the ramp and facility fees. I plan on talking with that group and will pass on the results of that conversation.

We are tasked to provide a seemless, safe and secure method of transportation for our passengers and principals. When that spills over from the flight department to the company or organization in the manner it did here, not only does it effect the trip, but it reflects poorly on me. Thankfully the company understands that Alex's attitude and lack of professionalism is out of my control...but it's a warning to all of you...avoid FTC and fly another day without issue, looking like a magician that just navigated a multi-million dollar airplane from Point A to Point B, all while the passengers enjoyed the view and convience of the travel we provide.
 

PA31Ho

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Havent been to MMU in a while, but is this the place where you have to taxi on very narrow taxi-ways to get to??


Yes, that's the place. We were there on Tuesday thru Thursday. We waited over 2 hours for our rental car to show up. It never did so we took a ride to the Hotel. Although, contrary to the first post, we had the manager take us there. We told him to tell the rental car company to just take the car to the hotel where we would be. They called us another 2 hours later and said we are outside the hotel with your car. We told them to ******************** off. All this wouldn't have happened if they had the car already there for us like it was supposed to.
 

Capt1124

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I guess the lesson is all those smiling helpful people in nice uniforms cost money and there are times when the cheapest is not the best. I think I have been there once and everything was fine but with just the two guys if anything goes wrong or they are busy you could run into snags. Which makes *you* look bad.

At a previous job we used to go to Fletcher at Hobby. One day I had to get a rental car for the boss, so I arranged with the FBO for a Hertz Gold drop off. I was repeatedly assured it would be there. It was not. I will skip over the next 15 minutes- they were not pretty- but the bottom line is Hertz doesn't drop off cars at FBOs at Hobby, or they say they will but they won't. I could blame that on Hertz, but the FBO should know that. I think the girl working was a part time college student and a nice kid but not experienced with the little details of the FBO business.
 

LegacyDriver

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I've used FTC for three of the last five years (with an unfortunate two years using Signature in between as my 91 DO thought Signature was the be-all and end-all of the universe no matter how badly they ripped us off on fuel). Never had a single problem and they save us a *TON* on gas.

They also have an awesome pilot lounge inside.

That being said, since Dimitri left it hasn't been the same. He would bend over backwards to take care of the client. I haven't sensed that same urgency since his departure.

For my money it still beats Signature KMMU hands down.

Sorry for the OP's bad experience. Just goes to show the importance of customer service. Anger one client and you'll lose ten times that many at least.
 
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icefr8dawg

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Unfortunately Alex owns the place pretty much so he's gonna tell you to f off if he feels like it. They get plenty of avantair business there.
He's also a mechanic so you might want to think twice about really pissing him off, most mechanics know how to put a lean on the plane and chain it asap.

Tell Jen at Signature that you're thinking of using her FBO instead of there and she'll try to get the prices down as much as she can just to compete.
 

LegacyDriver

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One thing that works against FTC now...

I spoke to a Signature FBO Manager in Florida (won't say where) and she said HQ finally gave them some lattitude to negotiate fuel prices individually vs. a blanket edict from on high. I guess enough people boycotted 'em for long enough to get their attention. The flexibility didn't seem to be much, but it is more than they had before...

Just more grist for the mill.
 

Gulfstream 200

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For a while now Signature has been very competitive on fuel.
 
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