Maria Kalymnou – Corporate Flight Attendant in GreeceDecember 16, 2014 by Stacey Farooqui
Traveling to Athens and ready to immerse yourself in Greek culture? Maria Kalymnou is a corporate flight attendant who is native to Thessaloniki, Greece who has a lot of valuable information to share on her experiences in private aviation and about her country. Learn more about her aviation experiences below and check back tomorrow for her first article as a guest author.
Maria has been a corporate flight attendant for seven years and is based out of Eleftherios Venizelos Airport (LGAV). She completed training at Cyprus Airways Training Center and Swiss Aviation Academy, and her last recurrent training was in September 2014. Maria speaks Greek, English, French and basic German. Like many corporate flight attendants, Maria started off in commercial aviation before making the switch to private aviation. She has experience flying on a variety of aircraft including Gulfstream 200-450-550, Falcon 7X, Embraer Legacy 600, Cessna XLS, Boeing 757, Challenger and MD83.
During her career, Maria has flown a variety of passengers and says that every flight is memorable for her “whether if it’s a presidential, royal or celebrity flight – or even if the passenger’s list has only a dog. I love flying with families and children, it makes me feel like I am part of the family. During my career I have been very lucky to have many memorable flights with lovely families.”
When it comes to travel, Maria has many favorite destinations. “I love London for its all-in-a-city package, Beirut for the amazing food and the people and Roma for the feeling of getting lost in history, she said. “The whole world is my favorite destination!” Along with travel comes the opportunity to try new cuisine. “I love to taste the world! Local food is always the best challenge for me,” said Maria. “Of course Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorites, but I also love Thai cuisine and sushi. My absolute favorite dish is exotic mild Thai curry chicken with aromatic jasmine rice.”
Being a corporate flight attendant is very rewarding and Maria has advice for anyone considering it for their career. “If you want to enter the aviation world, especially private aviation, it is better to start with an airline first. This will allow you to learn the procedures, to work in a crew environment and adapt to the teamwork,” she said. “Handling different cultures and situations is the best way to train yourself for the private aviation. Languages, hospitality or customer service experience is always a good asset.”
To be a truly successful corporate flight attendant (CFA), Maria outlined the following four skills as being the most important:
- Flexibility: A CFA has to be a “Flexi-Bird.” This means being ready for long duties, solo performances, different nationalities, last-minute takeoffs and difficult overnights in non-common places.
- Diplomacy: This is the key to handle any situation in the cabin. Always be able to turn the “No, sorry” into a wonderful “Yes, sure.”
- Discretion: Discreetly performing the duties as a CFA is a must. No need to analyze this more, a business jet is like a home to the passengers.
- Common sense: This is necessary definitely necessary on either easy or difficult sectors.
If you are already a flight attendant for an airline and looking to make the move to private aviation, Maria says to “stay in the loop, make new aviation friends and check the market again and again. A lot of CFA job openings are somehow invisible and they mostly spread by word-of-mouth. Catering is a whole study in our world, so it helps a lot to learn how to prepare a catering order for a business jet. Also, you will benefit from having some knowledge about food-matching, wines and cheeses. Some companies even ask you to perform this food-matching during the interview stage. Lastly, remember that a CFA is usually a solo dancer in the cabin, so you must have a high confidence and experience level.” The next time you are looking for a corporate flight attendant in Greece, contact Maria Kalymnou at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract 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 email@example.com.