Monthly Archives: May 2011
The best travel snacks to keep you healthy and energized.
As a flight attendant, I have grown accustomed to quick mini meals on the go. Although I am surrounded by great catering for my clients, I don’t have a lot of time to eat since iam spending the majority of every flight actually working. Private jet flight attendants/ cabin servers, do not have the luxury of pushing a cart a few times then sitting on a jump seat and reading a magazine..( No offense to my fellow commercial attendants.. I use to be one.)
I usually eat preflight and after a flight when iam at my hotel. So what do I do during a 12 hour flight over seas? I don’t eat…. Kidding. I eat quick things like fruit, protein bars, trail mix and drink lots of water and tea.
And after years of doing this, I have researched the healthiest bars, the best way to keep fruit fresh, the best combo of trail mix, etc all while avoiding weight gain or unhealthy drops in sugar level. These tips and suggestions are great for not only flight attendants but also for anyone traveling that dont want to eat processed food on the plane or gross fast food in an airport. There are times where you have those long delays and can settle into a restaurant in the terminal, but most people find themselves running to make connections or stuck on a plane for an uncomfortable extended length of time.
First I will start with ” protein bars” ;
1. ‘Organic food bar’ sold at whole foods. It’s gf, gmo free, certified organic, and actually tastes really good. Some of the bars have more protein than others so you can choose what fits your dietary needs.
2. ‘Greens super food’ bar. I find them at trader joes and whole foods. Also gf, high in protein, and organic. Love the peanut butter and chocolate ones!
3. Zone and Balance bars follow the famous zone diet, and the 40/30/30 plan. Great flavors too.
4. ‘Bora Bora’ bars( fruit and nut), also organic and have no artificial preservatives added.
For trail mix I look for the organic,low salt or sea salted nuts with dried cranberries and blueberries. No, not the ones with m&ms! And too much sodium is bad so I do suggest looking for unsalted..
When travels with fruit, wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them fresh. this also stops bananas from turning brown! Apples, bananas, oranges are the best to travel with.
Other food travel ideas are the hummus dips that come in a ready to eat package. “wild garden” makes a great one. Again no preservatives and is also gf.. And the small bags of carrot and celery are easy to travel with and go great with the hummus.
Additional travel tips of mine:
coconut water for long flights. I have been using this for exercise and very long flights for dehydration.
It is recommended that you drink 8 oz of water for every hour you are in flight. this is to replace what you have lost. So add a few more glasses for hydration.
Watch the alcohol consumption! For every one drink on a plane, it affects you twice as much due to the altitude. Trust me on this…As much as you wanna party in the air on your way to Vegas or fall asleep faster, too much alcohol can back fire up there.
Also check out these websites;
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm. ( this one will tell you what can and can’t be brought through TSA)
Ok, I hope this was helpful and please feel free to email or comment, if you want any additional ideas for traveling and eating!
A Bad trip….
My latest trip was by far not one of my favorites. From beginning to end I felt like I was jumping over hurdles and moving around obstacles just to get through it.
When I received my first phone call regarding this trip, I heard a few favorable words like – “New York” and ” catering is taken care of, you just have to show up”! So I thought to myself- ” nice, a cake trip to my favorite place”.. Too good to be true? Of course.
Hour one starts like this; i was called the morning of my trip with the information that I will be flying out of a different airport, with pilots I have never met, a plane i have never been on, and 3 hours earlier show time than planned. Quickly pack, shower, bring Chloe to doggie care, etc etc and drive to the airport. I arrive at my plane and random people are on it,keeping me from my prep duties almost until my pax show up. Which irritates me to no end and seta me in a bad mood that I know I must get myself out of ASAP! Oh, did I mention my pilots look like they are 12..?
The flight itself goes ok, despite the fact that the catering forgot my order of 6 bottles of wine…. and as luck would have it, the only beverage my pax asked for .. Was WINE! Fortunately they were nice people, and easily forgave me for not having the wine they ordered.
We arrive in NY around midnight, And I was all set to go to my nice hotel, take a bath, relax…Yet, the universe has another plan.. (By the way, did anyone read my last blog where I go on and on about nice hotels, and important it is for me to have certain hotel criteria met?). I am formally making an add on to that blog by saying that i have now stayed in the worst hotel of my career. Apparently, there was a change of plan due to lack of rooms available, and our reservations had been changed. We were now going to.. New jerseys version of the Bates Hotel. And i dont want to mention the name in fear q I will be sued for slander… Let’s just say sleeping under a bridge in central park may have been a better choice, or at least comparable. It had 3 floors, of which I was on the first with a lovely window facing the parking lot.. I was sure my bed was older than I am, and my bathroom didn’t even have soap! Let Alone the lush lotions and toiletries I have grown accustomed to. The silver lining was that I was only there for one night.. And I was so tired that I knew I would be asleep before I could spend more time dwelling on the bates moteI was in..
The next day, I got up, showered in my soapless bathroom, dressed, and got out of the hotel as fast as possible. after a few hours of running preflight errands, I arrived at my FBO to start my new work day. I carefully checked through my catering to make sure everything was present( hoping to not repeat the wine fiasco from the night before.)This was a major client group coming onboard, the kind that actually give me a bit of anxiety for the first 30 minutes or so. I needed everything to be perfect…
I had arrived before my 12 yr old pilots ( who were probably out late partying or what ever it is young kids do these days ).
It was pouring rain out and humid as hell, which does not make for a good hair day and first impressions…More,important though, it meant a departure delay was a sure bet. Now, unlike the big airports with commercial airliners,the delays are not as long. but still, to millionaires, who do not comprehend that private aviation is not exempt from weather delays, it is always a bad way to start the day.
The pax eventually arrive by limo caravans, and are escorted up the steps of the plane by people holding umbrellas for them..( which really is a funny sight to see.).
On the taxi out to the runway, I can see the long line of jets ahead of us tail to tail ( see picture below! ). Typically air traffic alots 2 to 3 min between each take off,so 10 planes can be about a 30 min delay..which is what we had..
Once we finally take off, this is where the real fun began…if Heavy turbulence and low visibility wasn’t bad enough, a red warning light comes on it the cockpit. this particular light is probably considered one of the top 3 most dangerous warning lights to come on..and my 12 yr old pilots are now freaking out… Opening there manuals, and scanning for Trouble shooting ideas,w they try and figure out what to do. At this point iam a little nervous…these guys apparently have no idea what to do, and are scared shitless. The co- pilot grabs the phone, hands shaking, and calls ground maintenance for assistance. Utilizing the wifi onboard, I email a pilot friend and ask his opinion. I can tell by his reaction and response that we are dealing with a serious problem. Apparently, the only way to solve this issue, if the light does not go off, is to shut down engines in flight…no shit.
My pilots make the decision to return back to the airport we took off from..All the while, I am sitting in the cockpit biting my nails and trying to gather some inner calmness that will help me tell the pax we are returning to NY.. In case you are wondering, Then pilots have the lovely responsibility of informing the pax, and all I would do is prepare for an emergency.
In this situation, by the real grace of God, the air starts to smooth out, and the scary red light goes off….something to do with the moisture and altitude, it was a false alarm…So I quietly thank God for this, and begin my cabin service as if nothing ever happened..
a few hours later, we arrive at our destination, and I have 2 hours to clean a plane, grab a car service to the main airport downtown, and catch a Delta flight back to LA..
5 hours later, I am in LA,and it’s midnight. At baggage claim, I see my driver holding up a sign that has my name on it.. Small perk of my job at times like this, is to have a car and driver at my disposal. But, of course, to finalize my day and trip from hell, i end up with a driver that for an hour and a half, complains about his life and lack of happiness..
Does he not know how unprofessional and wrong it is to make me listen to this? So, being the humanitarian I am, I engage in this conversation and tip him an extra 40 bucks because I feel so bad.
He takes me to pick up my little fur child from her nanny, and drives me home… Where at 2 am, I climb into bed , physically and mentally exhausted…..
Hotel sweet home..
After 11 years of flying/ professional travel, you could definitely say I have become a hotel conisour . There are of the ones I could live in, the ones that I frequent the most, and the ones that make me feel I would rather stay under a bridge than stay in again! I will say, that I have grown fond of room service, maid service, and wake up calls. Sure, I miss my own bed sometimes, and my dog snoring at my feet, but for the most part, I really enjoy my hotel stays…
When traveling for work, I like to make sure my hotel has the following criteria. One, a gym/ health club. Two, close proximity to restaurants, stores, cares, etc. Three, 4 or 5 star rating. And four, wireless that I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for. I want to be as comfortable as possible. I also like to get out and see the culture, and not have to rent a car, or take public transportation to see it. Added plus, vip lounges, suites, and feather beds! Remember, unlike commercial crew, we stay at our clients destination for days on end. Hotels are not just a place for us to rest for a night, they truly become our home.
So of course I have some hotel pet peeves. One, the operation of certain elevators can piss me off. i.e., I was in a Marriot last night with the most annoying elevator! First, as you stepped into you had to immediately put you card in the slot in order to select you floor- that is pretty standard but in this particular one, if you didn’t do it fast enough, it took you were ever it wanted to go. Every single floor on the way up or down required the stupid card and you had a time limit of like 2 seconds. The card itself actually knew what floor you were suppose to be on and tried to restrict your movement to other floors! It was ridiculous. And if you were on with other people, it was a freaking race…. If I was not on the 23 rd floor, I would have started taking the stairs..
Two, there should always be a helpful concierge service. Not only do I rely on them sometimes to help me with catering and finding the best restaurants, I also feel it’s important for everyone to be able to utilize this service when traveling to cities and countries they have never been. It’s hard to know where to go for food, entertainment, etc in a place that is foreign to you. Nothing pisses me off more than a hotel without this service or helpful people that work there… After all, it’s called the hospitality industry!
I also want to add a few good safety tips for your stay.
For security and safety reasons, it is said in my work community to do the following; book a room at the back side of the hotel ( in case of bombing), stay lower than the 5 th floor, because the ladders won’t help you any higher, exchange keys with another guest you are staying with and never say out loud your room number. upon entering your room, turn all lights on, leave the door open as you look in the shower, under the bed, behind curtains, and in closets for possible attackers….not kidding. It’s also helpful to grab a card at the front desk when you go anywhere so you know how to get back!
Speaking of security at hotels, Not too long ago I was working a trip to Nigeria…not one of my favorite destinations mind you, but of course I did not have a choice. The Hotel we stayed in was secured behind a giant wall with barbed wire, and armed guards outside. I was still a nervous reck the whole time I was there… Maybe it was because of the travel advisories I read prior to going or the fact that my windows had bars on them… And it could have been because the power kept going out and I would find my self in a dark room or hallway periodically… Hmmmm… Not sure why I didn’t feel safe!
On the more positive side, I do have some favorite hotels to share with you;
The Nulligean in Montreal. Canada- located in old town Montreal, this hotel is on a cobblestone street, and is beautiful inside and out. It is close to boutique shopping and a few great French restaurants.
Beaux Rivage in Nice, France- centrally located, close to beach, and sweet French rooms.
W hotel in NYC- fun modern decor, great gym, and fun bar.
Westin groups- full service hotels with great concierge services
Renaissance Hotel downtown Toronto, Canada- actually attached to the baseball stadium and you can watch live games from your room!
Renaissance Arc de trop he Paris, France.- love this place. Awesome modern decor, located steps away from the arc de trop he, and has a cool bar at night.
On a normal basis I find my self racking up the points at Marriot, but I do get the extreme pleasure of mixing it up a bit from time to time. :).
So one occupational hazard, when iam actually home, it never fails that I will wake up some mornings, not sure where iam, and try to order room service!
Feel free to contact me if you need any hotel or travel info!
What does one think of when they imagine the perfect place for a 21st birthday celebration? VEGAS BABY!!! clubs where you can party like a rockstar with your buddies, drink legally for the first time, and possibly a strip club or two…? Ok, that sounds fun (Besides the pat downs and full body scans at a crowded public airport)..
BUT, what about a private jet with 14 of your best friends, suites at the best hotel on the strip, and VIP tables at every club in town….now THAT would be amazing….and was, for a Very lucky young man this weekend.
I arrived at my office, ( today a GIV), at approx 8am to start my day. As iam prepping the plane, my catering order arrives, accompanied with a delivery of more alcohol than I would probably drink in my lifetime and then some. Coolers and coolers of beer, and boxes and boxes of grey goose and mixers are placed in the cargo compartment of my plane. My first sarcastic thought is; did Vegas run out of alcohol and hired us to deliver more? And my second thought; is it too late to get out of this trip!
Next comes enough food to feed three baseball teams.. As a reminder, this is a gulf stream not a BBJ or 747. This is where my job gets interesting…where the hell am I going to put this stuff? Because it is my job to figure that out and make it happen…and finally, i do.
Ok it’s now about 9:40 and iam awaiting the Arrival of my pax ( what we call passengers). Basically, its the calm before the storm.
The secured gate opens up, and a caravan of private suv -looking limos arrive. Now this display iam use to, But it’s the clientele that is a little different today.
As I take my welcoming position at the bottom of the jet stairs, a line of 13 twenty-one year old boys, and 2 adult men, begin walking towards me..One by one they file on the jet followed by short brunette girl, who stops in front of me and says; ” hi, iam Jane*’ the entertainment”… No JOKE. she enters the plane and takes off her sweat pants to reveal hot pants, fish net stockings,stiletto heels, and No TOP. Naturally, the boys start cheering.
Now iam thinking “what the f- am I in for?”.. I shake off my pessimistic thoughts and follow the crowd on board.
I make one simple announcement.. ” welcome aboard, my name is Kathryn and iam here for your safety and make sure you have an outstanding flight. And, I have one rule for you today… Just be in a seat for takeoff and landing, that it”.. They all smile at me and nod.
As we taxi out to the runway, Iam thinking, “ok, in 5hours, it will be over”…. so let the games begin.
Now, iam sure all of you have seen the hangover right? the idea that the movie never shows what happens until The pictures in the credits? Ok. Pretend you are watching that movie, because I can not tell you the details of what happened, I can’t tell you who was on board, nor can I show pictures.. But what I can tell you Is that I witnessed the Drai’s Vegas after party at 45 thousand feet and possibly the the makings of The Hangover part 3!
So like everyone one else, at times i have to take a normal commercial airliner somewhere. This morning, iam air-lining to florida to begin my work trip tomorrow. Repositioning is what they call it… I call it torture.
The only enjoyment I actually get from this experience is watching human behavior in the airport and on the plane (applying my useless psychology degree to analyze people). First, may I give props to Virgin America. First time flying them and iam impressed from the beginning. Employees are actually helpful and happy….wow,what a concept. Also the fun music at the checking counter is aiding my wake up At 7am this morning.
Besides southwest, this is the first time I have seen commercial airline crew and employees actually smile or be courteous in years. In private aviation, you would not last one day on the job without a smile on your face and the willingness to do everything in your power to make a passenger happy. I would love to put certain commercial airline employees in a private jet for one day and watch the show….
Back to the human race in general, it always amazes me how normal intelligent people can become so brainless when traveling. I mean, I know they function in the real world- hold jobs, pay bills, drive, etc…but something happens to their brains once they arrive at an airport. Following directions becomes scientific and having manners is apparently a challenge. Maybe people need traveling/ flying manuals issued to them for studying purposes prior to their departure date. Apparently everyone has forgotten what they learned in kindergarten about standing in lines, patience, and flowing directions..
Another idea, issue a test along with the manual and if they can’t pass it, they can’t enter a public airport…
A huge pet pieve of mine is also Children…. Actually the parents of these children.
NEWS FLASH- not everyone loves or is entertained by children… Or wants to become babysitters in the airport, be tortured with a child’s mindless chatter, shrieking voices, and sticky hands touching your luggage and belongings.
On the positive side, I did witness a random act of kindness this morning when a woman helped a fellow elderly passenger carry Her bags in the terminal…that was nice to see and reminded me that nice people do still exist.
Once on the plane, I was again impressed by Virgins product and service…despite the fact that (due to Murphy’s law), i had a child sitting behind me, Kicking my seat, and shrieking….Thank God for headphones and wine.
Finally after 5 hours of confinement,I arrive at my destination, And head to my hotel.
I actually enjoy hotels. Maybe it’s due to the fact I have been basically living in them for 11 years. Or, the fact that I don’t have to make my bed, clean up after myself, i can order meals and alcohol from my bed, and of course no shrieking children will be there..
Its also a time I can focus on myself. I can get a work out in, rest, and prepare for the start of my trip tomorrow…
Please tune in to read those details in my next blog.
Preview : A flight to las Vegas, with 16 wealthy young adults (for a 21st birthday), and a dancer!
So after having a few days of freedom, iam notified of a trip assignment. This is when my impatience usually sets in. I want to know: who, where, when, and the infamous catering orders, ASAP! Of course trying to get that information immediately is near impossible. The charter departments take their sweet time with information for a variety of reasons….so. I wait.
Mean while, I prepare myself with packing, weather reports, and of course arranging doggie day care for my cavalier king Charles spaniel. excursions to the dry cleaners, grocery store, and making sure bills are paid, are personal per preparation details as well.
I also notify friends and family so iam not stalked with texts, emails and phone calls while traveling. I love my family, don’t get me wrong, but phone calls in the middle of the night a because people don’t get that you are on the other side of the country or world are not fun…MOM! I usually have a few plans to break as well.
Once iam slowly leaked information for my trip, or receive a “trip sheet”‘ I make my plan of action. I plan for each individual lead passenger differently, and in many ways. First, there is the extensive catering: where to get it, quantity, and a time frame of delivery or pick up. Second, I mentally prepare for the passengers personality and characteristics. The picky, isolator, needy, bitchy, overly flirtatious, or the ego maniac. Yes, I label them and had to teach myself how to appropriately deal with each one. Reading people is a skill. And in this job, you must be good at it to survive.
After all the above is complete, I can then breathe a little and wait til show time….
Which in this case is 48 hours…stay tuned… It will be interesting 🙂