Category Archives: Private aviation
Corporate travel etiquette.
As we all know, there are certain rules (written and unwritten) that accompany commercial airline travel. Things such as standing in Long security lines and TSA procedures, Checking in for a
flight at least an hour prior to the scheduled departure, Boarding priority for the plane, and Adapting your plans and schedule around the airline schedule including delays and cancellations..
I call such things rules and etiquette of travel.
Flying on corporate jets is vastly different, but there are still procedures to follow and a right vs wrong way of “behaving”… Which I refer to as corporate travel etiquette.
Let’s start with the obvious ones. First, although a paying client may have anyone onboard he or she wants, all the names of passengers still need to be recorded and sent through screening prior to plane taking off. Another words, if you decide to have 5 new friends show up to accompany you on your trip at the last minute, understand there will be a slight delay to your travels until everyone is cleared from a security stand point..
Another more obvious rule, when traveling out of the country, make sure your passport and or visa are up to date… private jet customers is not excused from immigration laws. And no body wants to be detained in foreign countries…including the crew.. What you may not know is that Some foreign nationals require a visa for entry into the United States and some airlines and charter companies are able bring these passengers without a visa into the United States as they
participate in the “Visa Waiver Program” allowing the carrier to transport passengers from certain counties into the US.
One of my favorite etiquette rules to pass on to private flyers is this..Although you do control the time of departure, please do not show up 5+hours late. (without notification). For one reason, the expensive catering you ordered is probably now ruined and will have to be reordered and
re-billed. ( to you). Reason two, pilots have to file departure slots at some airports, this can be a major issue if you miss your slot window and then have to request another departure and or arrival slot. Crews also have Duty-Time restrictions which may be impacted by a delay in your departure. And finally, Some may say-it’s also a little rude..
Adding to my travel etiquette list, i would like mention that Once onboard the jet, please be conscious of the fact that you are on a multimillion dollar plane. Treat it like so, especially if you do not own it yourself… Unfortunately This is not obvious etiquette to everyone..
Recently, I was told that a huge celebrity figure, and their entourage, physically destroyed a Gulfstream 300. Needless to say, they are now banned from flying without supervision.. Meaning a flight attendant always needs to be present to keep them in check when flying with this particular charter company.
Smoking onboard, while sometimes allowed, is more often discouraged and sometimes forbidden by some aircraft owners chartering their aircraft to others. Not only is it unhealthy for passengers and crew to inhale, it also ruins the interior of these beautiful planes.. it seeps into the carpet, the walls, etc. Need I say more?
Then, there is the topic of luggage. (Yes, there is luggage etiquette as well.). While traveling on a private jet, the only real formal “rule” is the obvious – NO drugs or unauthorized weapons in your luggage! Other than that, passengers are generally allowed to bring everything and anything with them.. In large quantities . And they do! There are times when luggage gets out of hand and seating becomes limited on the aircraft . I have seen people attempt to pile luggage in my kitchen galley! So, read carefully- first, Large pieces of luggage go in the ” luggage compartment” not the main seating area.( cabin). Second, your smaller bags( computer bags, purses, gift bags, etc) can be stowed behind seats and in safe areas of the cabin so they don’t take flight when we do! And no, you can’t put them in the cockpit either. Your cabin attendant will carefully take care of all your belongings if you let her/him. So release a little control and allow them to make the cabin a safe and comfortable place for you, your guests, and your luggage.
And last but not least , Another one of my favorite etiquette rules once in flight, is the idea of actually sitting during take off and landing, without being told to do so..
The corporate flight attendants are not there to harass you or treat you like you’re flying coach on a commercial airliner, however, it’s safety 101 that should tell you it’s not a good idea to be in the lavatory or walking around during these two crucial times of flight. These planes can have mechanical problems or accidents just like any other plane.. so, act
responsible and safe on your own.. And dare I say, it might be a good idea to take off and land with a seat belt on! Eeek!
So, now you know the etiquette rules before booking your next charter jet.
I look forward to serving you 🙂
Sorry There has been in lapse in my blogging lately. It’s not due to lack of material, but just the opposite. I have had two days at home the last month.. One week spent on a campaign trail, one week spent in China, etc.etc.. Which brings me exactly to my topic of discussion…
My personal life vs my job… I need to start by saying I LOVE MY JOB. There is nothing better in the world to me than packing my suitcase knowing iam off for another adventure… Both on and off the plane… Knowing I will be somewhere in the world that maybe I have not yet been and will have the great fortune of experiencing different culture, food, people. Plus being paid for it.. 12 years now this has been my life And there is not one day that I contemplate giving it up.
Then, there is my life at home. A sweet , loving dog, great friends and family, and now a new boyfriend whom I adore..and love spending my free time with. People always ask me if I get home sick or lonely on the road. The answer is yes .. And I do miss my pup and my boyfriend very much, but since we spend the majority of our lives working, I feel blessed that I can have a career that I love so much, even If it means leaving loved ones at home for extended periods of time.
Recently, the topic of ” the future” came up in conversation between my boyfriend and I. It was not an easy topic for either of us to discuss.. But it was an important one. We talked about the idea of marriage, kids, and my job..
Being the blunt honest person iam, I did pronounce my reluctant attitude concerning children. I explained my position in my career, including the fact that you rarely see VIP flight attendants running around pregnant. ” I do not fly for delta” I told him.. Meaning, no one really wants to see a pregnant flight attendant on a private jet. I can’t even think of a comparison to that but iam sure I don’t need to.. It’s pretty self explanatory. I also don’t want to take a year off from my job or even be a mom that takes off across the world for weeks on end, leaving her child at home with a nanny…
I do feel like that is the position I am in.. Making a choice between my life now ( which I love) or a life without travel/ my career…
I don’t know if there are other corporate VIP flight attendants that feel this way, but I do know my job has been known to cause divorce.. The thing is, I have never really wanted children. I have wanted adventure. I have wanted to see the world and experience all the wonderful things that travel brings.
My boyfriend on the other hand wants other things. He wants a family to come home to at the end of his day. He wants a child to pass on his genes and name. And I get that.
So here we are…though I have made my decision concerning my life and my future.. I made it the first time I packed a suitcase and boarded a plane.. The first time I smelled jet fuel and took off into the sunset and above the clouds..
Yea, I love my man, my dog, my family and Friends. But my future, as long as I have one, has to include an airplane..
911… 10 years Later….
The impact 9/11. had on my entire life ; As a flight attendant, a native New Yorker, and an American citizen.
This past year i began writing a blog to journal and share my work experiences as a corporate flight attendant. If you have never read my blogs, i write on a variety of topics concerning private aviation and my travels , usually adding humor as I tell my stories. But today, as I write this blog entry, i reflect on the impact 9/11 had on my entire life..starting with my career as a flight attendant.
I began my career in aviation a year and a half prior to 9/11/2001 as a commercial flight attendant. My first year on the job was a huge lifestyle adjustment but also it was also exciting and full of new adventures . My only ” fears” I had on the job were that of long delays, bad weather, and cranky passengers. I never even gave much thought to the idea of a plane crash let alone hijacking! ( Those who know me well , know that iam somewhat of a fearless person in all aspects of my life.)
A typical day At work consisted of on-loading and off-loading passengers, quick meal services, and Flight attendant ” chitchat” on the jumpseat. When we needed a break from service, we would hideout in the cockpit chatting with the pilots. The the cockpit door was never locked and sometimes not even closed. Easy breezy days for the most part.
Then, on September 11th, 2001 .. Just 15 months into my career, EVERYTHING changed. Fear on the job meant different things.. We all had Fear of the middle eastern- looking passengers, fear of flying certain flight routes, and the general fear of that day happening again …
The cockpit doors became locked and enforced with steel, codes and passwords were changed, and our flight attendant trainings now included self defense maneuvers and additional hijack training. There were also government officials staged as passengers aboard every other flight. These measures were suppose to instill the feeling of safety to our passengers and crew members. But I don’t think it ever did..
A few years later I made a small career change and became a corporate flight attendant. Instead of a Boeing 737s with 120 passengers and 3 flight attendants, I now work on luxurious Corporate jets holding the maximum of 16 pax and only “little me” working in the back cabin. I honestly admit that I find my self getting a little nervous when i see names on my passenger manifest that are of certain nationality decent. and I often imagine different hijacking scenarios, and what I would do alone in the back of the cabin…all of these unpleasant thoughts that I would never have had if the tragedy 9/11 had not occurred . And unfortunately, those thoughts may never go away…
The Native New Yorker
New yorkers have always had the stereotype of being harsh, blunt, opinionated, and unfriendly. As well as tough, honest, and success driven … Depending on what part of the country you live in, seems to govern what your opinion is . In Los Angeles, CA, where i now reside, i often find myself defending My native state and its people. Sometimes, 9/11 will come up in conversation and when it does, I will always say…” Well thank God New Yorkers are tough and driven, because that city managed to rise up through the ashes, dust itself off, and move on,( holding on to the memory but not letting it hold them down.). ” What I didn’t say, is that I had my doubts if CA (especially southern) could have rebounded as fast and with as much pride and strength.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the whole country felt the pain of 9/11, but I do believe that New York residents felt it on a whole different level.. It was OUR back yard that was blown up, and OUR neighbors that were killed.. We didnt just read about it in the paper or watch it on the news..some of us saw the towers fall In front of us as our lungs inhaled the smoke from the fires…And 10 years later, the fear and threats of a repeat attack are still present everyday, especially on every anniversary of that day.
The American citizen
Prior to 9/11/2001, the only war I had ever experienced in my life time was the gulf war. And at the age of 14, when it was going on, I really didn’t understand it or pay much attention.. I was too busy being a kid. Playing with my friends and riding my horses.. And while I was aware of the stressed relationships between the USA and some other countries, I was still in a delusional fantasy land ( as my father called it), of thinking there was world peace. It really took 9/11 to change that for me. For the first time, my eyes were opened to the hatred and evilness in the world. I saw my country under attack and my sense of peace diminished. I began to doubt the future and even decided I didn’t Want to bring children into a world that was so destructive and unstable. Even after the day Osama Bin Laden was captured, I didn’t feel relief and I didn’t feel hopeful for the future of the world.. Because I knew there are more to take HIS place…
But I am sure of one thing.. wars do not create safety and can not undo the past.. They only create more hatred and fear. As an American citizen, I hope and pray now that somehow peace can someday be regained in the hearts of every human ..in every country, state,and city in this world…and MAYBE if I do my part with positive energy, loving prayers, and sharing the words in my blogs, it will catch on.
Today, On September 11, 2011, just remember the LOVE you felt for the lives lost, and the powerful structures that fell… But let go of the anger towards those who caused it.. Because you cant change the past…you only change the present and the future ..
Maybe we can all do that together….