Nothing is consistent but change..

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If you are a corporate flight attendant you may have fallen victim to the following work scenario:
It’s last day of your trip, and you have a departure ( ETD) of 1400. You have just checked out of your hotel, and about to go pick up your catering. Your PIC calls to inform you that the departure is now 2200, or possibly 0900 the next day. So, you re-check in for an extra half day, and try to figure out if you should cancel the catering or have it stored..
If this, or any version of this scenario has happened to –please you raise your hand. OK, since I can’t see any of you, I am taking an educated guess that almost all of you would have hands raised. This is the part of the job we may despise, but have grown accustom to. The constant change of departure date and times, catering order changes at the 12th hour, and the over all inconsistency in our lives! What’s the pay off for all of this? Free travel, great money, and the crazy thrill of it all! Those of us who get an adrenaline rush from all of it -know intuitively that we were born to do this job!

My true intent for writing this blog is to give some helpful hints to those who are new at dealing with last minute changes of this job. Here are the most common inconsistencies:

1.The waiting game of trip confirmation–
Example-
you get a call on April 10th that there is a trip April 17th “ that may, or may not go”. It’s a 8 day trip so that means great money (if you fly contract). The dilemma is- do you accept the trip and give your commitment in hope that it confirms, OR , do you not accept because it may not go and something else may come up in that time frame that is a sure thing.. Unfortunately we can NOT give the following answer : “well, I will take the trip if it goes, but if something better comes up I will let you know, I cant commit at this point “..
So what should you do?
My suggestion: think about the odds with this particular client/ operator. Is it common for trips with this client to cancel, or is he/she pretty consistent? Do you have a lot of work consistently coming in so it won’t financially hurt you to say no? Are you trying to fly more consistently with this particular operation and therefore saying NO will work against you? Weigh out all the facts then make a decision you will feel good about and stick with. From a moral and good work ethic standpoint, once you accept a trip, only “Ebola “ should keep you from fulfilling that commitment.

2. The last minute catering change-
Example:
ETD is 1800 pm. You arrange catering to be ready at 15:30 for pickup. Of course you have put this order in the day before or in the am so whomever the catering vendor is,- you know they will have already made the food by 1500 ( usually). Now, at 1300 , your principal pax ( passenger) has changed his mind and has requested a whole new order.(let me add that you are in a foreign country). How do you handle this?
My suggestions: Prior to your trip, do some research and figure out the different cuisine catering choices in that area so if you have to choose a completely different vender, you already know your options and where they are located, have their contact info , and also their menus!
Once you have chosen a specific vender for the first order, ask them how difficult it may be to change orders “if needed”. (Catering companies have grown accustom to this happening so they will be a bit ore flexible). Find out if delivery is an option with all the venders you may use, and how long it takes them to get to your airport. If you do your homework and prepare for this scenario, it will be a lot easier to deal with instead of letting it catch you off guard.
Always put every order and re-order ,in writing. Copy in your PIC or anyone else that needs to know you have taken care of it. Rush the new order and tip well if it is a complete change at the same vender.
Final note: always be extremely polite when dealing with any catering vendor, you never know when you will need special favors from them!

3. Earlier Departure change –
Example:
you have been assigned a trip for the next day. Your ETD is set for 1200 so you plan a lunch service and order your catering. At 1900 the night before, you are told that the pax now want to leave at 0600 ! “And breakfast was requested”. OMG! You know that you will have to be at the airport at 0400 and nothing will be open to pick up that early. What do you do?
My suggestions: I hope you can cook ☺. Really. If your clients have now asked for eggs, bacon etc.- find out if there is a skillet onboard and plan on a grocery store run to pick up everything you will need to cook breakfast the next morning on the plane. If the request is simple, IE. yogurt, fruit, granola, etc. -Run to the store. Of course, cancel your other order so hopefully you wont be billed.

4. Last minute passenger additions-
Example:
your trip departs in 2 hours. You are already at the plane getting organized. Your PIC tells you that there will be 3 extra pax coming. You already have your catering. What do you do?
My Suggestions: First, ALWAYS plan on having a little extra food (especially if it’s a long flight_. You never want to run out of food! In this specific case scenario, lets hope there are big portions that you can split up. You will also need to run to a grocery store and buy items that can fill in your original order. For instance, if they ordered chicken, buy extra at the store and cook it in the oven, using sauce that came with the catering order. Or if available, buy premade cutlets. Also buy extra staples like salad ingredients, deli meat for sandwiches, and extra desert. You will have to ask your pilots to pitch in and help set the plane while you run to the store! Worst case0 no store near by, well, maybe last minute delivery is an option.. Again, if you prepare for this scenario, it will never beat you!

In this career we live by the “Murphy’s Laws” and plan on change happening in one way or another. All we can do is be as prepared as possible and go with the flow.. It may be tougher for the A type personalities out there but sooner or later every FA (flight attendant) learns to go with it or give it all up.
If you love it as much as I do, it will just become the norm, and you will see your way through anything that comes up!

If you have some crazy stories to tell on his topic, or additional advice, I would all love to hear it , so please feel free to comment!

With love and patience,
Cobblestones and Heels

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About cobblestonesandheels1

Corporate flight attendant / travel coordinator Southern, CA. Originally from NY. but since home is where the heart is, mine is truly in the whole world. My favorite song and one i would dedicate to all my readers is: "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts"

Posted on January 21, 2015, in Corporate flight attendant. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Belinda Govatos

    Great article. Thank you!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Belinda! Welcome to the crazy ( and wonderful)
    world of corporate aviation!! 🙂

  3. Great tips! You are so right that a little preparation goes a long way!
    As always, thanks for sharing! Nina

  4. Thank you so much for your tips! I am hoping to become a corporate flight attendant and am looking to take my Cabin Attendant training with Flight Safety in New York City. Where are you based out of? Do you think the fact that I am not an american citizen (I am Canadian) would rate work obstacles for me to work for private jets in the states?

    • Hi Heather!! So nice to hear from you and I am glad you have found my blogs useful!
      I am based out of Los Angeles but I flew out of NY for a while too.
      I think it will actually benefit you being a Canadian citizen! As long as you have a work visa for the US.. There are many times where FAs that are US citizens can not fly into and out of Canada but you will be able to! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have 🙂
      kathryn

  5. Kathryn thanks for the quick reply! Once I have all of my qualifications and everything in order, how difficult is it to find a company willing to sponsor me for a work visa so that I can work for US based Corporate Jet Companies? 🙂 Your advice is greatly appreciated
    Hannah

  6. I am so sorry! not sure why I wrote Heather!! I don’t know a lot about the sponsorship but I am sure you can find out.. maybe contact Jet Professionals in TEB and they may have some answers with that.. Pilots also usually know more about that. Use Linkedin as a networking Source. Maybe you can do a search on that site for Canadian pilots or crew to ask that particular question.. Corporate cabin safety training is definitely your first step! Also, Susan Friedenberg may have the answer to this. she offers a business course in corporate aviation. email: scffatraining@aol.com.

    kathryn

  7. amazing:) thank you. Looking forward to reading upcoming blogs from you!

  8. Cobblestones&Heels,

    My name is Amanda, I have my first flight tomorrow, June 5th. I live in the U.S. Oklahoma to be exact and I recently accepted a position with a growing aviation company here in the city. I will be working on a Cessna Soverign + so a much smaller plane I’m sure than what most FAs work on. I have no experience in attending however my previous experience definitely qualifies me for this career. Like I said my first flight is tomorrow and it is with the owner and his wife. Not sure if there are any other passengers, but considering I have no formal experience they really are not expecting much from me tomorrow it’s really a get to know you better type of thing. But I really want to do something to wow them. Just something that lets them know I am proud to be here and that they don’t want to fly again without me. I am open to all suggestions. I am also an artist, I mostly work with ink so I was trying to think of maybe a greeting card I could draw up. I really am at a loss I just want something that will speak loudly. I have been reading tons of your posts and have favorited your site within my browser. I have learned so much already and I can’t thank you enough for that!

    Cheers,
    Amanda

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you for the compliment and glad to hear you have learned some things from my blog! Congrats on your job too.. I am currently on a trip but have some free time if you want any specific advice for tomorrow! I will email you my cell no.
      Also, for everyones sake- some of the best ways to “wow” clients is: 1. having a welcome table consisting of a printed menu or use an iPad, flowers and/ or a decorated fruit basket, small welcome snack, and the requested periodicals. Also, when plating your food, always use a nice garnish ( i like fresh herbs), to pretty up the plates and i use flowers on the table area ( not on food).. even garnish their cocktails. If there are children, maybe bring along a coloring book, or some other little special item for them..
      hope that helps!
      love, kathryn

  9. Kathryn,
    I LOVE your blog. It is so informative and has become one of my favorites. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    All the best in 2016, Lauren

  10. Although I’ve never been a flight attendant I can relate to EVERYTHING.
    I was a personal assistant for about 4 years for a business man who had a private jet. He flew international most of the times. I was on charged with arranging everything related to the fly. Catering, transportation, accommodation (for passengers and crew), APIS, calling the FBO to make sure everything was ready for arrival and departure in every airport, negotiating fuel prices nationally and internationally, billing, maintenance, insurance, etc. I really want to get in the fly attendant department. What kind of training should I get ?. Also, some companies that I can apply to. I live in Miami, FL. Thank you!

    • Hi! thanks so much for your comment !. The first training you NEED is cabin safety training for corporate aviation.. FlightSafety International in SAV GA may be the closest to you.. But its the best training you can get and the highest regarded in the industry. there is a training agency in FL but it is NOT recommended.. after you get this training completed, then its time to create a great resume and start networking like crazy! some times its luck for people and they land something right away.. for others it takes some time!! and will find a lot of great information in my blogs and feel free to email me as well! good luck!

      • I also, wanted to ask you a few more things. I’ve seen a few flight attendant resumes that have a picture…I never liked the idea but maybe for this position is something I should do…Also, in my research, a blogger said that it would be a good thing to highlight a particular line in the Objective paragraph. She said how the HR people read hundreds of resumes and that you need to call their attention some how. And that was making it easy for them to see what is also important to them, not just for the applicant. Not only why do I want to the job but why do they need me. Something like this: Objective: To continue developing my career in the aviation industry and also to help you make flying a great experience for the customer”

        Do you think is a good idea? To highlight it? I tried it and when I printed it, it didn’t look very clean, but if it works, it works.

        One last thing…I will fill out some applications online… my complete name is Maria Florencia Fontanella. I never use “Maria” and I think “Florencia” will work better if I want to call someone’s attention since Maria is so common. Do you think is a good idea just use Florencia Fontanella for the application and then, if they call me, to let them know?

        I want to apologize for my horrible grammar in my first post. Not that my english is perfect, but that was horrible!

        Thank you so much

        Flo

        Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2016 20:55:18 +0000 To: mariaf.f@live.com

      • Hi Maria,
        First, you have a beautiful name! Its not common and I don’t think that the name you have on your resume will make a difference.. Just be true to yourself and who you are, always. I think there are other ways to make your resume stand out. Maybe a color outline/ borders, an objective, or write a few profile lines that depicts what you are looking for and what makes you special. (I would be happy to send you mine). If you have any specialties, awards, gratifying volunteer work- All those things make you stand out. Each job and client is different so each job is looking for someone that will best match. If you stay true to who YOU are, the right job will come up and the right employer will contact you 🙂 Hope that helps! Also, in regards to the photo option- I am on the fence. While a nice professional headshot may be great, I have heard mixed reviews from employers about having it or not. My advice is- maybe don’t put it on the resume but attach separately a list of references and a statement that says : ” will submit professional headshot by request”…
        good luck. Write me any time..
        kathryn xx

      • Thank you so much for your (fast) response. It has helped me a lot. I would love to see your resume and I would definitely want to send you mine. What email address should I use?

    • I re-read the post today, my grammar is horrible!!!

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