So you want to be a corporate flight attendant?
So you want to be a corporate flight attendant?
For those of you that are considering this occupation, i will fill you in on the details you cant find through a google search. There are also some important questions to ask yourself…
Starting with the obvious- Do you like travel? And I don’t mean ” vacation”.. I am referring to packing bags, leaving your home, residing at 41,000 feet for a considerable amount of time,and landing in foreign states and countries where you don’t even know where a grocery store is let alone where your hotel is.. And, have no control over when you get home again or have time there..Those are all facts of the job. I think, like with any occupation, a person is either cut out for the job or they are not. I happen to love it.. Because with all the difficult points, like the ones I mentioned above, there are also wonderful things like learning a new culture, seeing the worlds greatest places and discovering things you would never have the opportunity to see and do, at home. Having said that, I also don’t have children. I have the freedom to take off for weeks on end with only a dog to worry about. ( and trust me when I say I love her to death and make sure she is well cared for when I am gone). But you can’t leave children with friends and dog walkers…As much as iam sure the thought has crossed your mind from time to time. Ha Ha.
Besides the travel aspects, there is the job it’s self. First, you need to decide if you would like to be a contract cabin attendant ( work for yourself) or full time employee. Contract CA’s pay for their own training, control their own schedule, and pay their own taxes. Full time CAs work for one private aviation company, are on call 24/7, 365 days a year, with a few elected days off. But, have benefits, paid training, and more stability . Either way, you have a long road of interviews ahead of you. And the prerequisite is either commercial flying experience or restaurant experience, a professional and friendly demeanor, and, of course, the ” look”.. Interpret that any way you want…
Next, there is the education aspect. Safety training, culinary training, and yes, service and social etiquette training. You can’t walk on a 30 million dollar plane and serve high profile people and “wing it”, You learn how to speak to them, serve them, and ” handle them”. This is the etiquette training. You must know how to set a table for formal dining. (. I had not a clue Prior to this job). Proper Utensil placement is for dinner is required. I have actually been corrected a few times (by a passenger ) during my career when I forgot to put a butter knife where it needs to go! No shit.
Third, you learn the safety related issues. Like commercial, you learn emergency evacuation techniques, CPR, and emergency equipment procedures. And if you have not been hired full time by a corporate company, you shell out close to 4 grand for this and repeat it every couple of years.
And finally, there is culinary training where you learn how to replate food, garnish plates, and make salads, appetizers, caviar displays, etc. This training is essential for the job but it also my favorite part. It leaves room for creativity and self expression.
Once you have gone through these trainings, you start the ” on the job training”. You may fly a few times with a seasoned cabin attendant or you learn as you go… And become a nervous reck for about 6 months or so! You see a name like Julia Roberts or the president of google, on your trip sheet and you freak out a bit. Messing up is not really an option if you intend on keeping your job and a good name in the industry. And after 5 years in corporate flying, I still get nerves when I initially read some passengers names on my trip sheet..
You also learn how to order catering.. Where from, how to have it prepared, how to reheat, And how to store it so when it reaches it’s final destination ( on your passengers plate), it looks and tastes like it would if you where dining at four seasons.
How does this all sound to you? If you’re still interested, read on.
Here is an important one- Do you actually like people? iam being totally serious with that question..Can you handle criticism, flirty men, and picky palates? Can you read peoples body language ( do they want to be left alone or babied. . and have intuition to know how to deal with each personality and anticipate their needs before you get a request. An example of this “anticipation ” is typically in food ordering. You may get a vague catering request via email and it becomes your responsibility to fill in the blanks and cover all basis. Have choices and alternatives similar to being in a restaurant. I will often present My passengers with a menu of items they can choose from. I will include GF food, vegetarian, and child friendly. In LA it seems the trend is Vegas and GF these days so I try and keep that in mind. On the plane, anticipate their need for beverage refills or when they want their next course or is done eating the one prior.
Finally, how do you handle stress.. IE, things going wrong, on the ground with your catering , or in the air with your pax or even a mechanical issue with the jet? This has a been work in progress for me. I think i have come close to being thrown out of a few foreign countries ( like France) due to impatience and intolerance when dealing with unprofessional caterers!
So I suggest you yourself well before making the choice to follow this career path.
This job can be difficult, challenging, or fun and exciting.. You make it what you want it to be. And after reading this blog, and you feel you are right for this job, write me. I will send you on the right track..and be happy to help 🙂 after all, helping people is what I do!