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Lanis Thate-Hembree & Lynnette McCoubrey – Corporate Flight Attendants

Today we are excited to bring you a first-of-its-kind interview on the blog: identical twin corporate flight attendants! Read along to learn more about Lanis and Lynnette (who is older by nine minutes), their experiences and tips they have to share with other corporate flight attendants.

Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?

Lanis & Lynnette: we are current on all commercial and business aircraft manufactured by Bombardier, The Q Series, CRJ 200/700/900/1000, C-Series 100/300, Globals and Challenger Business Aircraft.

Lanis: I have previous training and experience on Gulfstream and Boeing aircraft.

Lynnette: I have previous training and experience on various Airbus, Boeing and Gulfstream aircraft.

Where did you receive flight attendant training?

Lanis & Lynnette: We have our own in-house training department at Bombardier. Our firefighting and ditching training is provided by Aero-Formatech.

While we are trained on the usual Safety & Emergency Procedures, we must also learn every possible configuration and option available to our customers for every aircraft type we manufacture. This training is ongoing from our Chief Flight Attendant Julie Palmer as aircraft equipment and technology are constantly changing. The other thing which is very unique to our flight attendants is having everything you do filmed or photographed on a regular basis. We must be camera-ready at all times!

When was your last recurrent?

Lanis:  April 2015 (for Corporate Shuttle) and July 2015 (for Demo Aircraft).

Lynnette: May 2015 (Business Aircraft) and Aug 2015 (Commercial Aircraft).

What are your base locations?

Lanis & Lynnette: We support flight operations out of ICT (Wichita, Kansas), YZD (Downsview, Ontario), YUL (Montreal, Quebec) and YMX (Mirabel, Quebec)

How long have you been flight attendants?

Lanis & Lynnette: This will be our 20th year as flight attendants

We began our careers in 1996 with Bombardier. We support customer demonstration flights, international airshows, and “F and R” flying (function and reliability testing). We also had the incredible experience of participating in the 90-second evacuation test for the Transport Canada Certification of the Q400.

Lynnette: I also had the opportunity to evacuate the CRJ 900 during its test and assist our Chief Flight Attendant with training the team of flight attendants who participated in the CSeries evacuation test. As a Bombardier Flight Attendant Instructor (which is now my primary function), I have been involved with customer training and support for hundreds of airlines and business aircraft operators in more than 89 countries.

Have you received any awards / industry scholarships? Career highlights?

Lanis: I am a proud recipient of 3 NBAA scholarships; two were at Beyond and Above Corporate Flight Attendant Training and one was Aircare FACTS Advanced Service Training. Currently, I am working on my Universal Weather and Aviation Scholarship to become a Licensed Dispatcher; this scholarship was awarded through the Women in Aviation Scholarship Program. Big career highlight: We were selected to represent Bombardier as part of the “Flight Crew Team” on the Canadian T.V show, “Test the Nation.”

Lynnette: Boeing/Alteon Initial Business Jet Training in 2005; awarded through the NBAA. Career highlights?! Wow, there are so many, but I never forget my very first trip with Bombardier, I spent three weeks operating as the “Air Maldives” Flight Attendant while their own cabin crew were in training during the day. Needless to say, I was hooked.

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

Lanis: Aside from the scholarship training, I am the Head of Sales and Marketing for Bombardier’s In-Flight Magazine “Round Trip” for our Corporate Shuttles. I am a national member of Women in Aviation and was recently elected to the Board of the “Air Capital City” Chapter in Wichita. Elected Board Member of Bombardier/Learjet’s Employees Club. Bombardier Safety Stand-down Ambassador.

Lynnette: I have been a Red Cross First Aid Instructor since 2000. I continue to take courses and training workshops to enhance my teaching and in-flight service skills. I am also a member of Women in Aviation.

Which language(s) are you fluent in?

Lanis: English and “twin” (but Lynnette is the only one who understands it). Whenever possible, I take the time to learn the safety announcements for the country we are travelling to. I can manage French, Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese, this usually gets applause for the effort and then all of a sudden passengers want to speak to me in their language. To them I reply, “I only speak aircraft,” that always elicits smiles.

Lynnette: English and “twin.” While not completely fluent in French, I can manage basic conversation, safety demos and evacuate the aircraft if necessary. Thanks to Lanis, I was able to provide the announcements in Mandarin and Japanese; the pax loved it!

Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?

Lanis: NBAA, Farnborough, Paris, Australia, China, Singapore to name a few.

Lynnette: Farnborough, Paris, Australia, Dubai, Singapore, Chile, and numerous Cabin Safety Conferences in North America and Europe.

What has been your most memorable flight?

Lanis: When I get to fly with Lynnette and have fun with the “twin” thing! We were supporting demo flights in Europe and at the end of the day, the passengers were so happy to find out they had twins onboard because they couldn’t figure out how after seeing the “flight attendant” make announcements in the front of the cabin, 30 seconds later the “flight attendant” was back in the cabin with trays of fully-prepared food and drinks!

Lynnette: This flight makes me smile every time I think of it. I was on delivery of a brand new Global, the young boys requested nuts for a snack and, although I gave them bowls for the shells, they started tossing the shells onto the carpet. Their mother noticed and she marched over and scolded them with “Don’t you make a mess of this airplane, or I’ll make you fly on the Gulfstream!”

Which types of cuisine do you prefer?

Lanis: I do not discriminate; I love all varieties. Sometimes, as crew, we like to tempt fate and try the local “street meat” or bizarre foods ala Andrew Zimmern. I have had my share of bugs and odd-looking seafood… eyeballs included.

Lynnette: While I do not tempt fate like Lanis, I like to try most everything. However, nothing beats a great beef steak. In case you are wondering, not everything tastes like chicken; not even monkey.

What are your favorite destinations, and why?

Lanis: Copenhagen, Demark. I spent a couple months supporting a Q operator and was there during New Year’s Millennium 2000. What an awesome place and people! It was also my first trip with my now husband. I also love Australia; beautiful people, beaches and amazing food!

Lynnette: Northern Pakistan is absolutely beautiful; reminds me of home (Alberta Rockies). I could see myself living in Iceland or New Zealand, as well as my new favorite place – Uruguay.

What are your favorite restaurants in your town?

Lanis: In Wichita, when passengers ask for specifics, Two Brothers BBQ and Freddy’s Frozen Custard (a local Kansas chain). For fine dining, Sienna Tuscan Steakhouse or Harvest Bar, both use locally-grown produce and meat. For aviation enthusiasts, check out Hanger 1 Steakhouse, their Control Tower Bar is a cool place for aviation club meetings and boasts a great view of the airport area.

Lynnette: Toronto was beautifully detailed by Susan Sharpe in a previous blog, so I will add for fine dining I enjoy going to the Beaches area of Toronto to Brussels Bistro and we all love Forget Me Not Café right by our factory.

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

Lanis: In Wichita, most of my aviation colleagues like to go see the Kansas Aviation Museum or the Cosmosphere. Wichita is known as the “Aviation Capital of the World,” so there are a lot of aviation-related places to visit.

Lynnette:  In Toronto, there is so much to do in so little time! The obvious being the CN tower and a trip to Niagara Falls. Almost every customer who comes to Toronto or Montreal will go to a NHL game or attend a Blue Jays game! Everyone loves how vibrant and multi-cultural Toronto is; you are welcome here!

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

Lanis: Right now, if you are lucky to fly to Canada, the U.S. Dollar is worth a lot, so happy shopping! I would also advise; whatever country you are in, stay informed of any local issues if you are able to. Myself and a colleague had time off in Delhi; wanting to see the Taj Mahal so badly we rented a driver to take us to Agra. About 20 minutes out of the hotel, our car drove into a mob scene. People were banging on our vehicle with rocks and sticks. I thought that was it. The trip ended up taking 7 hours to get to Agra (should have been a 3-hour drive). This was before everyone had cell phones and internet to get updated news and alerts.

Lynnette: With unlimited information at your fingertips, do your research ahead of time for any country you are travelling to. Canada is so welcoming; you won’t have any issues. People will go out of their way to help you.

What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
How did you overcome them?

Lanis: Think ahead and always have a back-up plan. Many times you prep for breakfast and your departure moves to late afternoon or the flight plan/destination changes. So, I always make sure I can adjust my menu and service time.

Lynnette: We arrived to our aircraft (with catering for 70 pax) and noticed the aircraft was crawling with employees of the airline we were scheduled to take on a series of demo flights. The customer flight attendants decided to off load all of our galley supplies, and load all of their own equipment and catering on board (they were excited and thought they were operating the flights). We had to take control immediately without offending the customer and get everything reorganized and ready in less than 45 minutes. Grace under pressure!

What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?

Lanis: Travel! I have always been customer service person, so this a great fit. This career has afforded me so many blessings, meeting my husband, circling the globe, making friends all over the world and travelling to over 45 different countries.

Lynnette: To be honest it was the idea of travelling everywhere, and along the way I discovered my passion for aviation and training. This is not a job; it’s a lifestyle. I am so fortunate to work for a great company!

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

Lanis: Flexibility, if you are a black-and-white type planner, with no grey area, this will be a challenge. Poise and loyalty; aviation is a small world.

Lynnette: I’ll add confidentiality to that, be kind and respectful to everyone you come into contact with. Watch what you put out there on social media, and remember you are an ambassador for your country, your company and your profession!

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

Lanis: Proper safety and emergency training is number one! Language skills and any extra service training you can take. Never stop upgrading your skills. Take advantage of the scholarships and resources offered by NBAA and Women in Aviation (which I must add is for men, as well). Attend Safety Stand-down (from Bombardier), it is free for anyone in aviation, and offers fantastic education and networking opportunities.

Lynnette: The Internet is such a great resource. Groups like Corporate Flyer Dot Net (from Ann Meili) or Global Fly Guys & Gals (from Sara Culver-Truby) have members who are respectful, knowledgeable are pleased to share tips and advice. Do your own research too, no one is going to hand you a job.

What email address should be used to contact you?

Lanis: ljthate@gmail.com

Lynnette: lynnette.mccoubrey@aero.bombardier.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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