Monthly Archives: January 2013

Distrubing news i have to share about airline security..

I don’t enjoy writing (or reading) about negativity in the airlines.. In fact, I don’t even like to watch the news because for the most part it is disturbing information being shared. However, as I am about to write some today, I do understand and believe that everyone has a right to know the good and the bad of what is going on in the world.
The other day I was commuting back to LA after a work trip on United airlines. I chose to sit in the back row aisle seat because I am one of those people that get up frequently to use the bathroom, stretch my legs, etc. and do not wish to bother people around me. From the on set of the flight, I began conversing with a flight attendant working the trip. You see, flight attendants, no matter what company or part of the industry they work in, feel a sort of bond with each other. I really love that and always enjoy talking with other flight attendants and hearing their stories.
As this lovely flight attendant and I were talking, the issue of the United- Continental airlines merger came up..and so did the topic of security.
The disturbing News
What I learned in our conversation was that Continental airlines was intending to remove the reinforced cockpit doors while reconfiguring and taking over the United aircraft’s. You know, the steel doors that were put in place after the tragic 911 disaster? Maybe they don’t feel like they are a target for this sort terrorism? The reason doesn’t even matter.. the fact that Continental would do this is beyond disturbing to me as a flight attendant, a passenger, and a US citizen. Not to mention how those “United” crew members must feel about this. Their airline and employees were attacked on that horrible day and the cockpit door could have been a savoir if those steel doors had been in place before hand..
TSA
Coincidentally, on this same commuting day, i had witnessed an odd security failure myself.
Like everyone else, when I travel commercially, I go through security. I do NOT wear any sort of badge indicating i am a flight attendant, nor do I tell anyone.( Corporate flight attendants do not really have this “authority” anyway). So, like everyone else, i took off my shoes, coat, and arranged my bags on the conveyer belt in proper protocol. However, I had forgotten to remove a small FULL water bottle from my carry-on. And this, I did not realize until i was on the other side of the security station collecting my bags.. Which means, my bottle of water went undetected…
I was walking towards my gate thinking: hmmmm, have the rules changed about carrying liquids or did TSA completely mess up?!
While i was on my flight, i mentioned this to the FA I was speaking with and she assured me it was unfortunately the latter..
The REAL Question
So what is going on out there?? Has everyone become lax about security again? No reinforced cockpit doors, lazy security guards?
And Generally speaking, from the conversations I have heard among airline employees, there is a concern about what is really being done to protect all of us.. I am not trying to cause any sort of fear in flying for people, but I do want to bring awareness to the subject.. I don’t want to turn on the news and see anymore tragic terrorism attacks and more people loose their lives when it could be prevented.
Maybe people will read this and get really angry with me for writing it, or maybe someone in the right circles will start a chain of better prevention..
I just needed to share this in hopes of possibly helping to prevent more disaster.

With love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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Who has not yet visited Cobblestones and Heels Facebook page? Lots of fun stuff to discover there too!

http://m.facebook.com/pages/Cobblestones-and-Heels-a-corporate-flight-attendant-lives-here

With love ,
Cobblestones and Heels

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Get home on time!!

You have to see this video! It truly is the reason people fly private.

Get Home On Time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHTsAmMYkL8&sns=tw via @youtube

With love
Cobblestones and Heels

Travel Expo, Long Beach CA

When I heard The “Travel and Adventure Show” was coming to Long Beach,CA, I was super excited! (of course because I am such a travel geek!).
It was held at the convention center in Long Beach, CA Jan 12th and 13th 2013. There were rows and rows of booths- all set up to inspire and indulge you in the thought of travel and adventure. They were advertising every nook and cranny of the world- Fiji, Malaysia, Napa, CA, Florida Keys, Thailand, etc etc.. The booths were run by travel and tour experts for all of these amazing places and were either decorated to represent the culture and geography, or they had videos and literature to entice you.
The Travel Show also had activities such as zip-lining, wine/culinary tasting, rock climbing, as well as shows featuring dancers, singers, and travel lectures. One show concerned beauty secrets and homemade remedies from around the world! IE. Special “Muds” used in Malaysia for facials or spa locations offering ‘one of a kind’ treatments.
My favorite show, which I will blog about separately, was the “jetset pets”- giving you great information regarding safer and easier traveling with your pet.
Like everyone else, I ran around entering every travel contest that was offered 🙂 Who doesn’t love free travel?! Just being present at this travel show made me want to hop a plane somewhere! I am sure I was not alone in those thoughts either.
In fact, I was so emerged in the whole thing, I almost forgot my husband was with me.. where did he go? I know I last saw him at the Figi booth!! 🙂

Those of you who love travel and have a sense of adventure, (and missed this splendid event in long Beach), here are the websites for some amazing travel deals being offered by some of the vendors at the show!
http://www.aranui.com
http://www.billbeardcostarica.com
http://www.zikomosafari.com
http://www.south-seas-adventures.com
http://www.pacificdelighttours.com

If you are a scuba diver, here is a complete industry trade directory:
http://www.diveindustry.net/directory

For those looking for travel classifications to join ( for great travel benefits), I met with PATA ( Pacific Asia Travel Association). you can email them at :
scapata4@verizon.net

Please remember you can always email me for additional specific information on any of my blog posts !

with Love,
Cobblestones and Heels
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mircle bread for crew and travelers!

It is always a quest to find the best/ healthiest portable snacks when I travel for work or pleasure.
I spend some much time on the internet, inquiring with nutritionist friends, and trying out recipes of my own. I am also a fan of homemade, non-preservative food because I am such a health nut and convinced that the ingredients in prepackaged foods causes cancer and other ailments! Recently, I was fooling around with a recipe for gluten free, protein packed bread that I could make at home, and easily travel with. Friends, let me tell you, I have discovered a miracle bread! Not only does it taste amazing, but if you follow any sort of low carb, high protein/ good fat diet, you HAVE TO try this!

The recipe
prep time; 5-7 min
cook time: 40 min

almond flour/ meal ( 4 1/2 cups)
ground flax seed ( 1/2 cup)
salt ( 1/2 TSP)
Eggs ( 6)
Honey ( i use raw) ( 2 Tbs.)
apple cider vinegar ( 2 Tbs.)
baking soda ( 3 Tsp.)
( to make a whole loaf)

instructions:
preheat oven to 300 F and grease a loaf pan
combine almond meal, flax seed, and baking soda in a large bowl.
in a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add honey and apple cider vinegar- stir wet ingredients into dry. the pour well mixed batter into pan and bake fir 35-35 min.

Now you have an amazing loaf of homemade healthy gluten free bread to wrap up and take with you anywhere you go! it doesn’t even need any toppings, its so good!!
I would love you feedback after you try it 🙂

with love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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want to know what celebs drink on private jets?

When I started working in private aviation, I really thought celebrity’s beverages would be just as fancy as their meals. I thought I would have to become some wizard mixologist and prepare myself by stocking the plane with every kind of fountain soda or nostalgia beverage on the market.
However, to my surprise : there are rarely any fancy martinis poured or special coffee concoctions requested. For the most part Celebrities are pretty healthy. They drink lots of water on board. As well as tea ( black and green),occasional cafe, and some wine at dinner. That’s about it. Soda has become a less frequent request and so has alcohol.
( most rock stars excluded- they still like their coca cola and whiskey shots).
I am half kidding on that one..;)
what about the “fortune 500” CEOs? Yup, they are pretty boring too. a little less healthy than the movie stars but still keep it pretty simple with the drinks.
This my friends, is a good thing. And now it makes perfect sense to me..they want to arrive at their destination feeling and looking good! Not dehydrated and bloated!
So they next time you are flying anywhere, fly like a celeb and drink for health!!

with love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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Crew Resource mangement.. in my terms…

what is Crew Resource management? ( CRM ).

By the book, CRM has been defined as ” as a management system which makes optimum use of all available resources – equipment, procedures and people – to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations”. “CRM is concerned not so much with the technical knowledge and skills required to fly and operate an aircraft but rather with the cognitive and interpersonal skills needed to manage the flight within an organized aviation system.”
http://www.crewresourcemanagement.net

How I See it
My simple definition of CRM is: communication for safety and synergy. In my opinion, The course is basically pointing out the obvious to those who are in their own head, and do not always see the importance of team work nor does their behavior reflect it.

Since 1999 I have taken many CRM training courses mandated by the various companies I have flown for. The classes all varied a bit in structure. Some instructors were more technical and taught “by the book”, while others just focused on how it related to specifically our company and was more interactive. I have always believed that is was a great course to be taught in aviation, because so much can go wrong just with human error and miscommunication. However, I feel that crew are forced to take this course and then a couple of months later, resort back to their original behavior.
For example, “crew briefings” seem to be few and far between in my corporate flying experience. This is the time for a crew to set the tone for the whole trip and open the channels of communication. It also provides vital information so that every crew member is on the same page. This should also not be limited to the cockpit because as history has proven in some unfortunate accidents, the flight attendant also play a big role in passenger/ crew/ aircraft safety. In my opinion, this briefing could stand to be more frequently conducted and a little more thorough.
*However, I will mention that being a “contract” corporate flight attendant, each flight that I work is with a different company so my gauge on consistency in this department can be a little off. I am sure that there are companies out there that are doing crew briefings before each trip.
Another example of CRM going to the waste side is in the “chain of command”department. Because There is a “captain”, and ultimately he/ she has the final say in decisions, I think that the rest of the crew on board often feel that they don’t need to get involved in certain issues or even try to problem solve an issue themselves because they are relying on the captain to do it. We are all human and have bad days or make mistakes so relying on one person to come up with the best answer is not always the best idea.
I know that the pilots go through a checklist before each takeoff and landing and they read it to eachother so nothing is forgotten, but it seems that is would be a great idea to have checklists for many other things as well.
So how do we stay consistent with all our CRM tools?
For one, I think these training classes should include management, pilots,schedulers, and flight attendants in the same class. Personally I want to know that everyone I work with has had this sort of education/ reminders, of how important teamwork is.
Two, email or letter reminders on certain key aspects of CRM should be sent out to crew on a normal basis. sort of “ideas of the week”- topics like crew communication, self awareness, teamwork, etc.
additionally, the pilots can reiterate the important aspects of CRM in their crew briefings.
Three, management needs to make sure those crew briefings are actually happening. They need to CARE that it is happening!
I know At times there is so much going on that management may not have the time to check in with the crew on the topic of crew briefings, but I feel things like this slip through the cracks at the top and then get lost along the way down.

The message
And to all crew members that may read this, its is up to everyone individually to speak up for themselves. If you are working in a metal tube 45,000 feet above the ground, you better make damn sure you know what is going on around you and never be afraid to talk to your crew about anything.
You live or die as a crew! Remember that the next time you think to yourself : “something is not your job”, or “its not your place to say something”…
every flight: strive for communication and synergy.

As wonderful as the corporate aviation industry is,like everything else- it could always be better 🙂

With love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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The first step in becoming a corporate Flight Attendant is….

I see so many posts on the internet and receive so many emails asking the same question: How do I become a corporate Flight Attendant?” This is a very loaded question. And the answer can be different depending on who you ask in the industry ( and how successful they are).
My answer is:
First:
start by asking yourself a few questions. One, why do you want this career? Two, what makes you think you will be good at it? Three, Do you REALLY like people??
I know this may seem elementary to you as the first step, but your answers can dictate if you will be successful and happy in this profession. When I answered these questions in my head, they all had the word “people” in them somewhere. I knew that the key to any profession, besides intelligence, is customer service. It doesn’t matter if you are a dog groomer, a lawyer, or a account executive. If you don’t give your “customers” the best possible service, they will not come back, nor will they recommend you to anyone else. And, in order to be able to give this sort of outstanding service, you innately and genuinely must like people, understand people, and want to make them happy. That is the key here….
So, I tell everyone contemplating a career as a corporate flight attendant, look inside yourself. Do you first and foremost- have it in you to go to work EVERYDAY with the goal of giving outstanding customer service? Go the extra mile to create happiness and customer satisfaction on EVERY flight? If so, then you may “pass go” and move on to the next step 🙂
On the other hand, if you sole motivation for this career path is to: ” travel and see the world”,”meet someone famous”, or “not have a boss”… please choose another path in life because you will not be successful in this one..
I wrote a blog about a year ago called ” so you want to become a corporate flight attendant?”
I encourage you to read it, and feel free to email me anytime with questions 🙂
I am also working on a “how To” book for a step by step guide for starting this profession 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you!!
With love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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A taste of Europe in northern California! : Hotel discovery!

for the first time in many years, I found myself “grounded” for Christmas. As much as i LOVE to get on a plane and go somewhere ( for work or vacation), I was almost relieved this year to be on the ground and NOT boarding any sort of plane. Having said all that, I still wanted to “get away” so I began the fun task of researching all the drivable places my husband and I could get to from our home in southern CA. Now, since I do actually plan trips for clients (as well as work on the planes), I put all my work experience to good use for our special Christmas getaway!

The destination decision
After deciding on northern CA as the destination spot, I narrowed it down to a few fun places He or I have never spent much time. Sonoma instantly came to mind: I had always heard great things about it but had never been there. Of course we would have to pay a visit to Napa as well since it is such a close neighbor and has so much to offer in terms of great food and activities. Oh,, did I mention you can do “a bit” of wine tasting there?! 🙂
Ok, now comes the hunt for the perfect accommodations..

The Hotel
You have to guess I am a bit of a “hotel snob” after spending so many years traveling. Yes, actually “living out of a suitcase”, like my family calls it. This part of the vacation planning took the most time and research for me, but I treated it like a work assignment.
First, I asked for opinions from friends and family. I don’t really like to rely on the online reviews because they are not always accurate and usually biased in some way.

Side note: Although I did not choose a hotel from the friendly suggestions, I was reminded of the amazing Culinary Institute in Napa! Yes, this is a must do/visit, if you are ever in this area!

Back to the Hotel situation.. My next step was to narrow down what type of hotel and Amenities I was looking for. I know I was going for :romantic,cozy, 4-5 star quality, and non-corporate structure type. I set up a search for these key words in my hotel apps, and slowly started to twiddle down the most appropriate choices.
What I finally came up with was a place called: “Sonoma Coast Villa and Spa”. I called the hotel directly to make sure its description online was accurate. Fireplaces in the rooms, individual villas/ suites, spa, etc. I found out they were also offering a Christmas package that included “3 course dinner for 2, breakfast each morning, wine tasting, and a complementary bottle upon arrival”. OK, I decided this was it!! Yahoo!
I made the reservations, finished off the rest of the vacation itinerary, booked the dog nanny, and anxiously awaited our holiday getaway!

Our Stay
I have to mention, if I let my husband plan the trip, we would probably be staying in a Holiday Inn along the highway somewhere.( not that there is anything wrong with Holiday Inn), but my point is that he isn’t much of a planner and is not the “hotel Snob” I am. It actually makes him a little nervous when he tries to plan because he is so afraid it wont be; “up to my standards”.. awe…
I have to admit, I was a little nervous on the drive because I really wanted it to be a special trip and was hoping this hotel was all that it promised to be.
When we arrived, My very first impression was: “wow, I am in Europe again! but without the 10 hour flight!! I started to relax and was beaming with happiness at the sight of this place.
The check in process was very easy and quick ( love that). Then We were shown to our private villa. There was indeed, a bottle of wine chilling for us, and the place was exactly as described, wood burning fireplace and all!
After we got settled in, We booked our ‘couples massage’ at resort spa for that evening, and took a long walk around the property. The layout was very unique to any US hotel I have been to. Like I mentioned, it was very European, similar to the south of France which has charming boutique style hotels and narrow walkways, And Italian mixed in with the coziness of it,and all the stone. There are even horse stables for guided tours behind the property!
We dined in at the hotel for dinners and breakfast because we found the quality of the food so unbelievably good!
The meals all tasted like home-cooked dishes, again having European flare to them. Even the rosemary bread at dinner and pastries at breakfast were homemade!
One of the days it rained so hard that we actually stayed in all day. We borrowed some board games from the “library” on premises, sat by the cozy stone fireplace with a glass of wine, and made lunch in our little kitchen.. . In most hotels, we would not been been able to make this washout day so enjoyable!

Recommendation
This hotel gets my 5 star stamp of approval! The accommodations, spa, food, and customer service was outstanding!
Thank you “Sonoma Coast Villa and Spa” for making our Christmas getaway so special!
To my readers- I hope one day you can experience this wonderful place in Northern CA!

With Love,
Cobblestones and Heels

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