Monthly Archives: April 2013

Corporate Flight Crew Attire: Expectations, Trends, and Standards

One of the first things I noticed (and loved), when I made the transition from commercial flight crew to corporate, was the attire! Of course, being a woman, this was a new dressing adventure ☺ . I was SO ready to get rid of that awful polyester uniform and begin wearing those classy beautiful suits! I also noticed that the pilot’s attire was different as well. Although some still wore white shirts and stripes with dress pants, many had on Polo shirts and Khakis!! I was a little confused by this at first, but I soon learned I was now in a whole new arena of culture.

Although most cabin attendants (Corporate Flight Attendants/ FAs)- go with basic browns, greys, and blacks, there is no uniformed dress code! . Across the board the standard is simply: professional, well tailored, and modest. Simple makeup and jewelry, closed toe shoes- heels or flats, and Pants, skirts, or dresses are all acceptable, and preferably with stockings. You can basically go out and shop for whatever- pardon the pun- “suits you”, and wear it to work.
Of course, like in any profession, there are those who try to dress down as much as they can get away with, or wear “less” than they probably should..
The pilots on the other hand, seem to have less of a standard of dress on the job. It seems to be all over the board depending on what FAR they are flying under (IE. Part 91, 135, or 125), and who they answer to at the end of the day..
Some of the pilots have mentioned to me that they don’t want to feel or look like “commercial pilots”.. While others feel just the opposite, and say that they feel they get more respect wearing stripes.

I use to notice that there was a significant difference between the West coast and the East coast- in terms of how the FAs dressed. West coast being a bit more “colorful” in their attire and East coast being a bit straighter laced shall we say.
More recently, it seems that the trend from coast to coast is pretty much-evened out- still professional and clean but somewhat more casual. I am seeing Less suit jackets and more blouses with cardigans, and trendy dress pants or shorter skirts.
I know that so many of us are doing really long international trips and it makes sense that after 12 hours of flying, you really don’t want to be in a full suit and heels. Especially overnight flights! I know that personally, I tend to wear pants instead of skirts, and flats instead of heels- while working those really long legs. However, I do still keep up the professional standard.( I know what is expected of me on board those luxurious multi- million dollar planes)..
The cockpit crew seems to be dressing down as well, at least on part 91 trips. Since they are working for one main owner, and not a revolving door of new clients, they dress less “to impress” and more for functional work . The pilots do however coordinate with each other and Most times I see matching polo shirts and matching dress pants or khakis..But, They are in no way sloppy or unprofessional. A charter company rather than an individual or corporation usually employs the ones that still dress like typical pilots-. I think that their attire seems to go along with their professional status.

AS I mentioned before, for the pilots, the expectations are definitely different in some ways. I am not sure if I would call this a “double standard”, although some may see it that way.
When it comes to owner trips( part 91), the attire may be different and I think that is due to the “person in charge”. The one actually employing them could be requesting more casual wear.
The flight attendants , unless otherwise instructed, are expected to assume the more professional dress because they are the front line.. They aren’t hidden behind a door all day, they are out in the cabin serving and socializing. Particularly on part 135 trips, the impression that they make on the clients will reflect upon the company directly.
Client Expectations
And lastly, The clients are paying for the whole package when they board these amazing planes. The presentation and quality of everything and everyone that goes along with their trip is extremely important to them. They want their catering to be the best it can be at 40,000 feet, they want the interior of the planes to be plush, comfortable, and impeccably clean, and they want the flight attendants to look the part as well. If they are entertaining guests, this standard goes up one more notch to complete perfection expectation..
In my opinion, it is also very important to keep up these expectations of professional and classy dressed flight crew because when you let one thing slide, other things may follow “suit”..

I welcome the feelings and thoughts of my fellow flight crew on this topic, or anyone else that wants to share their opinion!

With Love,
Cobblestones and Heels


Out of Africa

Into Africa..

On a recent work trip, I was given the opportunity to experience an African Safari..
Something I have always wanted to do!
It was a wonderful surprise for the pilots and I during a recent 10 day trip overseas.. Of course we knew we were going to Africa.. but did not know til we got there that we were going to skip the usual hotel stay and spend some time living among and observing the wildlife- “National Geographic” style!
We arrived in Arusha, Tanzania after an 8 hour flight from Rome. The first night, we spent at a hotel outside the city.. – Jet lag, lack of sleep, and long work hours had made us all a little out of it and a bit cranky.. as you can imagine! So we all took this first night to catch up on some much needed sleep.
The next day, the fun began!

The adventure begins

A jeep arrived at our hotel bright and early to take us 4 hours into the Bush of Tanzania (specifically the Tarangire National park). On the way there, the pilots ( lets call them Maverick and Goose), filled me in on the accommodations we would be staying in. (This was their second time going there).
I was first told by “ Goose”, that I would be in a “tent” living/sleeping among the animals with no technology and only a walkie-talkie to use if I needed “help”.. I was thinking to myself.. “ hmmm, I am not so sure about this.. maybe I should have stayed at the hotel and gone to the spa?!!” I was imagining being alone in the middle of nowhere with lions and tigers sniffing around my tent all night..
( I am convinced Goose was trying to get a reaction out of me with his initial description of the place).. Not that I don’t love the great outdoors or animals,, but the sound of total solitude and not much protection from the very WILD “wildlife”, was spooking me a bit! Goose and Maverick did clear things up a bit and tell me- it was VIP style accommodations( even the tent), with Great food, and amazing customer service.
During the drive, we passed through small villages of typical African society. Grass huts, large fields of grazing animals and farmers harvesting their small crops of produce. As I watched these people living and working, I was thinking how simple their lives seemed. They walked more than they drove, and didn’t even have some of what Americans would call “basic necessities”. All of a sudden I felt like I had too much at home.. I almost felt bad for what I had . It was truly culture shock. But also very eye opening for me.. in many ways..

After a very long drive, we finally arrived at a camp location called Sanctuary Swala. Our beautiful temporary home while on safari..

True to its name, this place was a real Sanctuary! It was beautifully designed to be peaceful and luxuriously simple. The individual sleeping quarters were a tent/ bungalow combination. There was 12 of these strategically placed on the grounds of the “camp” and spread out to give a everyone a sense of complete privacy. The amenities at camp consisted of : a main dining area, a pool area ( also apparently used by the grazing antelope), a bar/ lounge area, gift shop, and a computer room- so you can keep in touch with the rest of the world when necessary.. honestly I was amazed that there would even be internet of any kind in the middle of the African bush!
3 meals were served daily in the community dining space. The food was abundant and the preparation & quality was outstanding, not to mention the customer service.. (One would only hope to experience this level of service in some of our hotels in America!)
At night, after an amazing meal, we were all escorted to our quarters by a person carrying a large sphere… protection just in case a predator was out hunting…
It was awesome to see the sky filled with stars, and the only noise you could hear was the sound of “nature” rustling around. Falling asleep that first night was beyond peaceful..
In the morning, I was awoken by a personal wakeup “call”- An actual person gently calling from outside my door with a tray of coffee and fresh juice.
If the monkeys on my roof had not woken me up first, this was how I started each morning! Outside on my porch, the animals were walking around, grazing, and playing. It was so serile to just stand there watching them.
After a pleasant outdoor/indoor shower, I dressed for my exciting first day out on safari, and hurried to breakfast to meet my team!

And off we go
covered in bug spray and hats; Maverick, goose, and I climbed into the back of our large convertible green jeep and set out with our guide to see the animals!
Throughout the day we must have driven close to 400 hundred miles. It was amazing. Elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, antelope, etc etc etc.. the only thing not seen was the “cats”.. Apparently, during the wet season- which we were in, this is normal due to their hiding capability in the tall grass.. ☹ But none the less, it was so much fun! A little fear factor was thrown in when we aggravated a teenage elephant and instigated him into chasing us for about a quarter of a mile.. We blamed this on Maverick who apparently was repelling wildlife on this trip .. ☺ ( I know he will be reading this and laughing)..
Halfway through our day, we stopped for a delicious picnic lunch that Sanctuary had prepared for us. The monkeys stealing our food enjoyed it as well..
After another couple hundred miles of driving and observing nature, we arrived back at our “home” to relax and enjoy another scrumptious meal.
Each day of Safari was laid out this way and each day I was so grateful for the opportunity to see the things I saw, and time I got to spend in this part of the world .
Three days later, we left camp.. it was time to regroup and head back to work…

On this trip we had a couple more days of travel, including an interesting stay in Nairobi ( another blog story in itself), then it was time to fly home to the US and back to the land of over abundance and technology.

Once again, I find myself being eternally grateful for this amazing career that continues to give me all of these opportunities.
* With this trip in particular : I was also honored to fly with a wonderful client, and cockpit crew that made even the long flight hours and days with little sleep- still somehow enjoyable and entertaining!!
With Love,
Cobblestones and Heels