Monthly Archives: April 2011
So, contrary to my blog title- ” cobblestones and
Heels”, I do not recommend flying in them! One of those ” do as I say, not as I do”, situations.
As a passenger, flying in heels is not only uncomfortable ( for walking through airport terminals and on the plane), it is also unsafe. In the event of an emergency, you want to be able to exit an aircraft as quickly and safely as possible. High heels, flip flops, and slide on shoes are all an example of what is unsafe. If you feel the need to strut down the terminal walkways in your favorite stilettos, then at least bring a pair of tennis shoes to change into after boarding. Many people that know me may laugh at me writing this, due to my own heel- wearing practice, but I do feel it is important to throw it out there.
When working, it is not only my job to provide 5 star service, it is also my job to look 5 star…so, that is my reasoning for wearing heels…however, I have snagged my heels in the carpet, tripped when I was tired, and ruined a few of my favorite pairs during job related duties…
Also, Dress comfortable but not sloppy. I do cringe when I see people traveling on sweatpants or clothes that look like they just rolled out of bed and walked on the plane. And yes, I see this on my private planes all the time. It has really surprised me the
number of celebrities that look like they are homeless boarding the
plane..I am thinking- ” really, you have more money than God, at least humor me by wearing something I would be in envy of!”…
For further education and tips for travel clothes, check out the following article.
Cobblestones and heels..
memoirs of a corporate flight attendant
Does anyone speak english?
My famous last words as I scour the crowded gourmet deli in a small town in Germany…after receiving my latest catering order via my blackberry, I
Have set out on a quest for a selection of cheeses, vegetarian canapés, and wine. I wonder the store looking for someone who may be able to help me find my requested items. The tall young man working at the counter is no help. When asked to translate the labels on the cheese counter, he just stares Back at me with a Solum expression that says either: i have no idea what you need, please speak German ,or, I really can’t be bothered with this annoying American today. Lately, my slightly pessimistic attitude towards foreigners leads me to think that it is the later. Either way, iam forced to look among the other patrons for help. And finally, an older woman who is sympathetic to my situation and speaks a little english, assists me with my translating needs. I then quickly gather my items and return to the counter to the unhelpful young man, and hand him my credit card.
Ok, that wasn’t so bad.. One stop shopping today for my next flight..and I know Mr. X will be happy with the catering items I was able to find for him. Which, is the only thing that ever matters in end.
Now walking down this rugged cobble stone street in my 3 inch heels, carrying my shopping bags, I look for a taxi.
In this job there are a few simple things that make me happy. For one, no matter what part of the world you are in, taxis generally all look the same. to most people this is an overlooked and taken for granted fact, but to me, anything that can take the guess work out of my job is appreciated. Another thing I am grateful for is being a woman when needing assistance with transportation, directions, or manual labor such as carrying heavy bags.. There is bound to be a “gentleman” somewhere in the vicinity that is eager to save or assist the damsel in distress ( smiley face). After a couple moments an old gentleman approaches me and gestures to my bags as if to ask if I need help with them. He smiles at me and says something in German I naturally can’t understand but I perceive it to be harmless. I say “verkehrsmittel ?”. Which i believe to be the word for transportation…he points to a cross street that is apparently a place I can expect to find a taxi. He continues to carry me bags across the street for me.I take out the hotel business card in my pocket and show it to him. A taxi cab pulls up next to us and the nice man still holding my bags takes the card and explained to the driver where to take me.
I thank him by a smile and a nod and hop into the cab.
Enroute back to my hotel I retract my blackberry from my purse and email my crew to announce my where a bouts and my catering success. Unlike the days I have to converse with restaurant or hotel staff in a non speaking country- in order to place my food requests, today was a breeze.
Now, i have two hours left to organize my myself before returning to the airport for my 3 hour flight to London. My pilots i am sure are enjoying a nice meal at the hotel or lounging in their rooms watching tv.. Which is what they do, while iam out running around in high heels on cobblestone streets……
My top Tips for travel out of the country
Including customs interaction
First let me say, most of my advice comes for learned experience. Not all pleasant lessons learned. So I feel it’s my civil duty to pass these tips along in order to prevent others from unfavorable experiences with immigration and customs.
Tip one, always apply for and renew your passport at least 6 months before travel out of the country. right now, due to security issues, there are major delays in processing. You may have seen this with drivers licenses as well. If you need a visa, also obtain as early as possible and research your point of entry ( country you will be traveling to), so you know exactly what you will need,before planning your vacation/ work trip. Countries such as Asia or brazil are very strict with this.
Tip two, if traveling to underdeveloped countries, find out which vaccine is needed. Customs usually requires documentation ( proof) of vaccine. Also, if a vaccine is needed, ie yellow fever, hepatitis, make an appointment with your doctor and find out exactly what is needed and what is not. As well as, the side effects, how far in advance to get the vaccine, how to take it, and how it may effect you personally.
Tip three, when you are in any customs office/ site, do NOT use your cell phone in front of the officers. they are not a fan of this and will express their dislike in a variety of ways (again, another lesson learned on the road).
Tip three, make sure you have copies of your identification documents, as well as the hard copies. Even download them to a computer, iPhone, etc so if all copies are lost, stolen, etc you can still access them. You do not want to be detain in a foreign country!
Tip four, answer all questions honestly and politely but donor give information that is not asked. depending on where you are, Americans are not always accepted with open arms… Shocker.
Tip five, do not think you can hide items, even high cash amounts. Be honest on your immigration forms.. Worse than not following the rules, is lying about it. Even on a private plane.
Since iam sure you all way want an example of this from my experiences, I will tell you a short story;
Working a trip from Europe back to the USA, i knew that upon our arrival into the point of entry airport, any fruits, vegetables, and meats I had on board, needed to be thorn out. However, I did not want to waste some of my catering that I may need for the next 5 hour leg back to my final destination, so I attempted to hide some items.( Honestly just a fruit tray and some gourmet meats and cheeses).. I figured, what’s the big deal..
Well, Customs came on board with their gadgets and dogs and asked me if I had thrown away all my “international Garbage”, and did I have any foreign foods left on board? I replied NO, and started to sweat.. The officer then walked through my little galley and began digging around in my drawers and cabinets.. And, as my luck would have it, found the damn fruit tray…. They looked at me with this questioned expression and I shrugged my shoulders and said- “sorry, I must have missed that”… Luckily, all I got was a good talking to, but I was told I could have been fined, along with my company, a lot of money.
Now this was early on in my career, but I will never forget how nervous and freaked out I was… Every country and city station handles things differently, some may not even look or ask, but on the chance that they will… I have never again attempted to hide anything…even a strawberry.
Tip six. You can never be too careful with the foods you eat and the beverages you consume. Be safe with bottled water, little to no ice cubes, steer clear from meats you don’t recognize, and seafood that is sold at an outdoor vendor. In addition, eat separate items than the people you are traveling with. One person getting sick is not as bad as all! A lesson learned over and over by flight crew.
Tip seven. Travel advisories put out by the government can be very helpful. Prior to your trip, read up on the suggestions and restrictions made by your government and other travelers.
And finally, tip eight. commercial plane or private, always know who the hell you are! Ie. your social security number, address, emergency contacts, where you are going and where you are coming from! Don’t look like an idiot and not have the answers to the customs forms.. You wouldn’t believe some of the passengers I have flown that can’t fill those things out by themselves! And sorry, no names 🙂
If you have any additional questions that pertains to international travel, feel free to comment and ask!
hello, Bonjour, pronto, ahoy, Hallo!
Finally, after years of my friends and family asking many questions about the details of my job as a corporate flight attendant, I have decided to blog as an avenue for their answers!
For those of you that do not know the difference between a Corporate flight attendant and a Commerical one, let me make the explaination simple.
First, I don’t work on Boeing 737s, Airbuses, or commuter prop planes. I work on Gulfstreams, Falcons, and Legacies. Second, I don’t sling peanuts and push a beverage cart. I serve caviar, 4 course meals, and spend days preparing elaborate catering for my passengers. Third, I don’t wear a uniform. I wear a Micheal Kors suit. And finally, I don’t spend 24 hours in Denver, Co or Newark, NJ. I spend a week in Argentina, South of France, or anywhere in the world my high profile clients wish to go! Now there is nothing wrong with uniforms or Newark… And I happen to like peanuts..but in making the comparison, you see my world in private aviation.
My job can be fascinating, stressful, eye opening, and exhaustingAll in one day. It can also cause havoc on my personal life, make it a struggle to stay fit, and brings new meaning to the term “jet lag”.
But I love it. And I thank God everyday for the opportunity to see the world, meet rockstars, celebrities, fortune 500 business clientele,and actually make a living doing it.
My hope is that though writing this blog, people reading it will not only gain a better understanding of the logistics of this occupation, but also see and experience the world through my travels.
Due to strict confidentiality agreements and rules, I will always change names or not mention any, when referencing my passengers.
Also, at times my specific whereabouts (hotel names, etc) may be left out as well.
Now, I am sure, after reading the above two sentences, I will still receive the ” who did you fly.” questions… So when I ignore you,please don’t take it personally 🙂
Otherwise, feel free to ask all the questions you want that pertains to the areas I travel, my job related duties, aircrafts I fly on, or even how I deal with life on the road.
With all that said.. Welcome aboard!