Monthly Archives: May 2013
Recently I commented on a posting on a social/ professional site that was advertising a new flight attendant for hire. Part of the head line was ” she is a model”.. there was also a head shot of her- which is not what i had the problem with. The only issue I had was that in spite of the fact that there was already a picture there, the person posting it still felt the need to “advertise” her LOOKS as a selling point for employment.
Now I am not in denial of the world we live in. I understand that looks MAY assist with a first interview, but there are SO many women and men out there competing for work in this industry. Ultimately, you could be a supermodel and that is not going to secure you a job or even an interview if you lack skill, proper training, as well as something other than looks- that makes you stand out. Not to mention, once you get yourself on a plane for an assignment, looks will NOT do your job for you. Your face will not accomplish creating and serving 5 star meals. It will not help you meet the needs of your passengers and supply them with outstanding customer service they are expecting. The attributes you need in order to be successful in the career (of a corporate flight attendant), honestly have nothing to do with how you look..
I was not trying to ruffle any feathers with my comment on the site, I simply felt the need to point this out because I have respect for what I do and I want new flight attendants to understand that if you want a job that is based on how you look, then be a “model”, or “something else”, don’t pursue a position in this industry by leading with a sexy picture or a resume full of jobs that have nothing to do with service. If your true goal IS to become a model or actress and think that you will have an opportunity to meet high profile people and be “discovered” through this avenue, think again. These passengers on board want their meals, drinks, and space. Nothing will piss them off faster than to have some cabin server trying to push a portfolio on them..I mention this because I have heard the stories and know how they ended!
In addition, If you are seeking employment help for a true corporate flight attendant position, do your research into professional “aviation crew” recruiting companies or people that have a great reputation and can lend some educational/helpful guidance.
My personal advice: If you see someone advertising flight attendants by their looks, or asking you for multiple photos of yourself for employment consideration, stay clear!!
What SHOULD you have on your resume?
1. approved professional safety trainings
2. culinary trainings and skills
3. lots of customer service experience
4. additional skills and knowledge that will make your resume pop out from the pile!
AND- references and recommendations from people that can a test to your professionalism, skills, and hardworking personality!! I actually attach this list to my resume to save people time from asking!
Cobblestones and Heels
Recently someone had asked me what my “favorite” trip has ever been working in private aviation.. For a minute, a million trips flashed before my eyes and I didn’t even know how to answer that! But then, I smiled at the thought of one in particular that I have always cherished ☺ . At this point I can say it was a blast, but At the time, it was also hard as hell.
It was a 4 week Tour: Lots of hours flying from city to city, state to state across the US. Sometimes flying in the middle of the night or even twice in one day.. And, the catering requests each day was more challenging than I had yet to experience…If you haven’t guessed already- yes, it was a Rock and Roll band. 80s band to be exact (without naming names). I happen to absolutely LOVE that era of music and was a fan of this band already, so I was super excited to get the call for this trip…
The trip was scheduled to start a couple of days after it was first assigned to me- Not a lot of time to prepare for this sort of trip- mostly due to the fact that the request list was like a kids wish list to Santa! It went on and on, and I was laughing to myself at some of the things I had to pick up.. I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt on a candid camera show! Now I don’t want to stereotype rock stars, However, there has been a common theme to all of the ones I have worked with.. No offense to them at all. They just “want what they want” and every member of the band wants completely different and unique things. (So there is that)..
After a couple of days of heavy shopping, it was finally the night before we were suppose to depart. I was in the middle of my own packing when I received a call informing me that the trip was postponed a few days because one of the members of the band was not feeling well..” He had a cold…and needed rest… and needed a massage… etc. etc”. . Yes they told me all of this so I could be aware and pick up extra “cold remedy” items for when we resumed the trip schedule.
I threw out about a quarter of my shopping, and began preparation again a few days later.
On departure day, I drove to the FBO with a car full of groceries and luggage.
It took about 4 hours to prep the plane and get organized before their arrival, but once the caravan of cars pulled up to the plane, the adrenaline rush took away the exhaustion and I couldn’t wait for them to board!
Now I don’t want to give too many details about the individuals (due to confidentiality) but I will say they are a very unique group(As a whole, and singly). Generally speaking, all rock stars or musicians have specific images they are trying to portray, but with some, its not even an act.. They just seemed to be “eccentric “ and have extremely interesting idiosyncrasies (as my mom would say). Which, I guess, makes them the artists they are -right?! Having said all that, their individual demeanor’s were entertaining to me from the start ☺
The passengers included all the band members and the manager. One of which, was a female :). This i was happy to see because it was my first trip with a large group of men, let alone rock stars. I was not sure what to expect.
They were also older, which means a couple of things in the Rock and Roll world- One, they do not party too hard anymore, because, well, they physically cant! (That I found comforting). Two, these guys are also somewhat of nostalgia to themselves ☺. They want to be treated like they were years ago- pretty much like Rock and Roll royalty!
And remember the sick band member that had delayed the start of the trip?! Well he was just plain entertaining. The other guys teased him about being a “sissy”, but he could care less. He totally wanted to be babied from day one. He was actually hoping there was a nurse on board- yes for his “cold.” Ha Ha
On the Road Again
I have to say, They were all super nice and respectful to me.. “Prima donnas”.. but nice.
Each day on the road was an adventure. The scavenger hunts for their crazy catering and snack requests never ended, the hours long, and sleep was seldom, but each day the guys made me laugh so hard that the trip started to feel more like fun than work. The pilots and I were even blessed with concert tickets for a couple of the gigs.
The best part of it all, every day that they boarded the plane, they would have the same line for me: “ lets Rock and Roll Kathryn!” I got so use to hearing that I began to look forward to the words.. it seemed to set the tone for a fun flight each day ☺
The end of the Road
4 weeks later, it was time fly them to their last show and part ways.
On the last day, the lead singer handed me a Band T-shirt, which each one of them had signed for me. And of course, they instructed me to wear it to the final show ☺.
That trip was years ago and I can still remember every detail, and each time I hear them on the radio, the memory makes me smile ☺
Cobblestones and Heels
In the last few years I have devoted many hours of personal time to mentoring people who have the strong desire to become a corporate flight attendant. I do this for a few reasons. For one, I love helping people and feel its great karma to give back to the universe in any way I am able. Two, I love the industry that I have spent so many years working in and want to do my part to keep it held to the high standards it deserves. And finally, I know what it is like to start at the bottom and slowly work my way to becoming a professional in my field. It can be a long hard road if you have limited guidance, so I am doing what I can to help potential VIP flight attendants ease their way into the industry. And Essentially, what I aim to do is give out the most vital and truthful information I can about the job, and the industry ( from my personal experience), and then send you on to the next step.
So besides my assistance, How will you be able to get on the path to success in this field?
This is my answer: Start with Real professional training. Beyond crucial safety training, Your next step is learning everything else. And trust me, there is a lot. There are also many programs out there so its a “buyers beware” situation, but if you are reading this blog right now, you are ahead of the game and in safe hands 🙂 It is my opinion, and the opinion of many successful private aviation colleagues, A course called “Corporate Flight Attendant Training & Global Consulting“, is your best bet for success!
Every industry has their icons, and for Corporate Aviation- Susan Friedenberg ( CEO of Flight Attendant Training & Global Consulting) is definitely one of the biggest. She has spent half her life dedicating herself to this profession and to the people who want to succeed in it. I felt it was in the best interest of all of the wonderful people I have (and will) spend time mentoring, to pass on her program details. Susan has given me permission to quote her insight and share the highlights of what this amazing course is all about.
Susan Friedenberg and Corporate Flight Attendant Training & Global Consulting::
“Who is the corporate flight attendant? Simply put, the corporate flight attendant (also called a “business aviation flight attendant”) is just that, a flight attendant who works on private, non-commercial aircraft (generally referred to as “business aircraft”).
How the need for corporate flight attendants arose
The presence of business aviation came into being shortly after World War II. The end of the war made available to the civilian market a large supply of military transport aircraft and veteran pilots. As private air travel increased, so did the demand for a more business-oriented environment. This environment required interiors that would support the business person by providing total comfort and office-like amenities.
In the early days of business aviation, the trend seemed to be that aviation managers and chief pilots used flight mechanics/techs in the back of the aircraft as a third crew member. There was no emphasis on specialized or elaborate food service. As interiors became increasingly detail-oriented in order to support the client’s requirements, the need arose for a third crew member in the back of the aircraft who could expeditiously accommodate specialized requests. The galley equipment became more elaborate and extensive, as did the high-tech electronic communication and in-flight entertainment systems.
Establishment of the corporate flight attendant profession
By the end of the 1980s, it was apparent that the third crew member needed to be an emergency/first-aid, culinary, and food safety trained flight attendant. Now the passengers of business aircraft had privacy, anonymity, a safe space, and the ultimate in comfort and in-flight amenities. Business aviation provides the ability to create a non-structured time schedule that is changeable at any moment and on any whim. In our environment, there is always a degree of stressful events that go along with the position of corporate flight attendant, whether flying full-time or contract. There are always last-minute schedule changes and passenger count changes, cancellations, or extensions of the trip. Unless you are working on a corporate airliner, like a BBJ, which typically requires more than one corporate flight attendant onboard, you are usually alone in the back and have to work it all out alone. In these times, there is no room for mistakes and errors. It has to be done correctly.
Some of the topics that we cover in great detail throughout our four day training are:
* Defining The Corporate Aviation Flight Attendant
* The Differences Between The FAR’S Where Applicable
* Managing Yourself As A Business Person In Corporate Aviation
* Marketing YOU In The Business Aviation Community Globally
* Resumes/Cover Letters
* Salary Negotiations for Full Time & Contract Flying
* Developing a Professional Image & Dressing For Success
* Corporate Culture
* Food Safety Awareness
* The Language Of Business Aviation Catering
* Catering Communication Skills* Catering, Food Presentation & Packaging
* Trip Prep From Assignment To The Trip’s Completion
* Sequence Of In-Flight Service, Duties & Aircraft Responsibilities
* Remain Over Night Responsibilities For The Aircraft
* Aviation Department Communication Skills
* International – Remote Trip Planning/Safe Global Catering
* Trip Prep For Emerging Market Country Destinations
* Augmented Crew Changes & Applications
* International Customs/Safety & Cultural Awareness
* Crew Fatigue Management
What it takes to be a corporate flight attendant today
In the world of business aviation, nothing is ever written in stone. It is a world and environment of total flexibility. It is a very exciting and ever-changing work place. If there is any one character trait that is most important in this industry called business aviation, it is being “FLEXIBLE.” I want to emphasize that, first and foremost, safety of the passengers and the aircraft environment is paramount.
So what are the qualities that a corporate flight attendant needs to be successful? You must have impeccable organization and resolution skills. In no particular order, additional qualities are as follows:
Being multi-task oriented
Ability to compartmentalize
Being a contract corporate flight attendant
As for me, in all the years that I have flown, contract flying is the most difficult, challenging, and rewarding type of flying that I have ever done. On a daily basis, you find yourself interacting with the many different cultures and personalities of a corporation. You continually find yourself interfacing with the CEO, his/her corporate and personal family, the aviation manager, the chief pilot, the dispatcher/scheduler, the chief flight attendant, and the maintenance staff. Corporations, recognized by the law as “people,” have personalities as different and unique as humans.
Add the fact that, in any given month, you find yourself operating on various aircraft of different manufacture. Each aircraft has its own separate and unique features. Each plane has its own distinct set-up, different amenities, aircraft-specific emergency exits and emergency equipment, and configurations. Some of the galleys may or may not be “flight attendant friendly”. While the full-time flight attendant finds him or herself in the same environment each time he or she flies, the contract flight attendant is always acclimating and adjusting to a new work environment.
Each flight department has different standard operating procedures (SOPs) and philosophies to which you must adhere, and subtly different roles for their third crew member — the contract corporate flight attendant.
Skills needed to be a contract corporate flight attendant
In addition to those necessary skills listed above for being a successful corporate flight attendant, contract corporate flight attendants must also:
Effectively manage their time
Book trips, keep and maintain schedules
Manage themselves as a business
Interface with several flight departments
Adapt to various flight departments’ SOPs
Remain open-minded at all times
Be impeccably organized
Perform safe and creative menu planning and food execution
Maintain their recurrent egress training annually
Contract corporate flight attendants must also strive to maintain the new philosophy used in the flight departments of many Fortune 500 companies, also known as the Standards of Excellence in Business Aviation (SEBA). In addition, they must never lose sight of the fact that they are “a paid guest on someone else’s aircraft.” Last, it is useful to keep in mind these rules of thumb:
You are routinely challenged in a career that has absolutely no routine.
PERCEPTION IS REALITY!
Susan C. Friedenberg – President & CEO
Corporate Flight Attendant Training & Global Consulting
241 South 6th Street – Suite 1806
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106 USA http://www.corporateflightattendanttraining.com
Telephone – 215.625.4811 – FAX 215.413.9013
SKYPE – susan.friedenberg
Thanks Susan 🙂
Cobblestones and Heels