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Redefining In-Flight Catering

Lagos Corporate Flight Attendant – Katja Boethke

Today we are excited to bring you the insights and experience of Katja Boethke, a corporate flight attendant who is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Read on to learn more about Katja, and her valuable tips for fellow corporate flight attendants.

Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?

  • ATR 47/72
  • Challenger 605
  • Gulfstream 550 Global 5000/6000

Where did you receive flight attendant training?

I’ve done training all over the world from South Africa, America, the United Kingdom to even Switzerland. I believe knowledge is key. One has to keep up with new trends, new techniques to keep up improving one’s skills.

When was your last recurrent?

April 2015 At FlightSafety in Savannah, Georgia in the United States.

What is your base location?

I have been based in Lagos, Nigeria for the last six years.

How long have you been a flight attendant?

Eight and a half years. I flew commercially for one year; it wasn’t a long time but was fun. Since then I have been a corporate flight attendant for seven years.

Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?

At the moment, I am busy with a diamond cutting course.

Which languages are you fluent in?

In English, Afrikaans (South African language) German and Italian.

Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?

I have been to EBACE.

What has been your most memorable flight?

There are so many to be honest; I have been extremely privileged to fly so many incredible people who have a huge impact on the world. One flight that stands out the most was when I had a medical emergency on board the aircraft. I served my passenger his first course went back to my galley and started preparing the second course when, all of a sudden, I heard banging on the table. When I entered the cabin to see what was going on, the passenger was holding his throat gasping for air while starting to change color. I dropped everything rushed to him, got him out of his seat and started my first aid training. I had to perform the Heimlich; after a few attempts, the scallop popped out the passenger’s mouth allowing him to breathe again. He was a little in shock but was fine afterward.

What types of cuisine do you prefer?

In regards to service, I quite enjoy doing a lavish dining service. I am comfortable with all cuisines, as I do not have a preference to just one particular cuisine.

What are your favorite destinations, and why?

I would have to say Paris would be on the top of the list. Paris is rich in history and culture. Beautiful in summer and extremely romantic in the winter.

What is your favorite restaurant in Lagos?

That would definitely have to be Bottles. It is a great Mexican restaurant! It is extremely vibrant, and the food is fantastic. Makes you feel as if you are in Mexico, but with a twist of Africa.

What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting Lagos for the first time?

If you open-minded, willing to explore and have enough time, travel to Victoria Island. There are some fantastic restaurants, as well as some beautiful beaches. On your way there you will drive along the longest bridge in Africa. Lagos beats to its own drum, so enjoy the culture.

Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting Lagos for the first time?

The number one thing in Lagos is to have patience. Everything takes a bit longer and will get done eventually. When in Lagos you must try some of the local foods. Be prepared, as most of the dishes can be spicy.

A must-try is jollif rice; it is a really spicy rice that is rich in flavor. Jollif rice is always a hit with passengers. The people here are great, eager to help and always have big smile their face. When traveling around Lagos, I would suggest to either use a taxi driver from your hotel or catch an Uber.

What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?

I used to fly for a principal who disliked the smell of food in the cabin when it was being heated in the oven. I was only allowed to use the microwave. When it was Ramadan, I would only have three hours to serve 14 passengers before sunrise. Only being allowed to use a microwave can be rather challenging.

How did you overcome them?

I learnt to adapt. My catering order would have exact details to the catering companies of how catering should be packed and prepared. I had to become very creative with my menu.

What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?

I grew up with a love of aircraft, you could say. My father had his PPL (private pilot’s license) he had two aircraft, one a Tiger Moth and the other a Piper. He would partake in many airshows and cross-country races. When I was younger, I was a scared of flying. Every time the plane took off, I would see the ground disappear I would start to scream. My father would turn the plane back and land. He told me when I’m ready I must tell him.

One day, when I was five years old, I took my dad’s hand and said, “Come pops, let’s go fly!” He explained to me how an airplane works from the outside. He then sat me next to him, showed me all the instruments and we took off. And so did my love for flying!

Ever since then, I was hooked! If I was not next to him flying, I was sleeping in the back while he was flying. I wanted to be a flight attendant, but specifically a corporate flight attendant. My father always pushed and told me to reach for the for the stars; now I fly around them.

What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?

You have to be open-minded, easy going, able to adapt to change quickly, handle stress well and definitely be able think on your toes.

What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?

Network! Network as much as possible.

What email address should be used to contact you?

k.boethke@gmail.com
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with corporate cabin crew members. 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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