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Redefining In-Flight Catering

Cristina Tung – Corporate Flight Attendant

Cristina Tung - Corporate Flight Attendant

The Caribbean is a magnificent location to visit any time of the year. But, like visiting any region for the first time, it may take a bit of navigating to find the best dining spots, local cuisine, and activities to try out. Cristina Tung is a corporate flight attendant with over 13 years of experience who has frequented The Bahamas throughout her career. She has tips for new flight attendants, plus some insight into visiting The Bahamas.

Cristina started her career in commercial aviation, and her initial training was with a civil aviation-approved academy. Her first aid training was with the Red Cross and with Samaritans in Geneva, Switzerland. Her last recurrent was in April 2013. Cristina spent her first five years as a cabin crew member with Cityflyer Express, BMI, Japan Airlines, and some charter operators. She then spent four years in Saudi Arabia flying on private jets. For the past four years, she has worked as a contract cabin attendant.

Cristina is fluent in English and Spanish, and is based out of Bilbao Airport (LEBB), Biarritz – Anglet – Bayonne Airport (LFBZ), and Madrid–Barajas Airport (LEMD). Through her varying experiences, she has experienced flying on numerous aircraft, including BBJ, G200/450/550, Falcon7X/900EX, Sovereign Citation, A-310/319/320/321, MD-11, B-737/747/767, RJ-100, and ATR42/72. Clearly, she is comfortable working in a variety of in-flight environments.

While spending time in The Bahamas, Christine has a favorite meal, which consists of conch fritters and chicken wings with French fries. She recommends dining at a restaurant called “‘Da Junkanoo Shack,’ for a taste of real local food.” The restaurant is named after “Junkanoo,” a parade that occurs in The Bahamas. When it comes to ideas for having fun while visiting the islands, she enjoys spending time “snorkeling (you get to see real fluorescent fish!), sunbathing, having long walks, and taking pictures.”

Aside from The Bahamas, Cristina has a wide range of favorite locations to visit. Top on her list are “St. Petersburg, Russia for the Hermitage; Bali for the unique atmosphere; Austin, Texas for the live music and the people; and of course London, England, for the bookshops, art galleries, and architecture of the city.” Just as varied are her selections for favorite cuisine. Christine shared that, “Italian food is always my first choice, but of course being half Basque and half Chinese myself, I have to say both Basque and Chinese cuisines are great!” Her favorite meals include “Argentine Steaks, and any pasta dish.” When asked about a memorable meal she had recently, she responded that last week she dined on “Steak Tartare and Torrijas Caramelizadas (caramelized bread fritters) for dessert.”

Specific to in-flight catering for private aviation, Cristina discussed her top challenges as “the times when catering comes from restaurants, hotels, or any source other than a catering company. It is always tricky to get the right packaging, the right size of containers for the oven onboard, and for the limited storage space on the plane. Finding well prepared and packaged food can be challenging in certain places.”

For new flight attendants, Cristina says the top skills in order to have a successful career are the abilities to “be organized, plan ahead, and remain calm under pressure.” Since she has experience in both commercial and private aviation, she has some expert advice for someone who would like to be a flight attendant in either area. “For commercial crew, it is important to have some previous customer service experience. Conversational skills in a couple of languages besides your own are definitely useful, and first aid training always comes in handy. If you want to go into private aviation, culinary knowledge is key, so consider investing in a cooking course or workshop. Wine knowledge is also very important. Additionally, keep current on world affairs, and expand your network as much as possible.” If you have any questions on this article, or are looking for a flight attendant in the Basque region of Spain and France, please contact Cristina Tung at cristinatung@hotmail.com.

This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract cabin crew members; individuals who are not employed by Air Culinaire Worldwide. If you would like to be considered for an interview, which is posted on our blog and all of our social media accounts, please contact socialmedia@airculinaire.com.

 

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