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Redefining In-Flight Catering

Patricia Green, Former Corporate Flight Attendant, Head of Cabin Crew

Today we are excited to bring you the insights and experience of Patricia Green, a former corporate flight attendant who is now Head of Cabin Crew in Cyprus. Read on to learn more about Patricia, and her valuable tips for fellow corporate flight attendants.

Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?

  • Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777
  • Airbus 319, 320, 330, 340
  • Global 5000, Legacy 600, Hawker 900
  • Citation Sovereign, Citation X, Citation XLS
  • Challenger 300, 604/605, 850
  • Gulfstream G200, G550, G400

Where did you receive flight attendant training?

British Airways and Etihad for commercial flying and with private operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

When was your last recurrent?

My last recurrent was in April 2015. I have been working as a Head of Cabin Crew for a private jet company for almost 2 years. Now I am moving more into the training and development of cabin crew/corporate flight attendants as well as managing crew.

What is your base location?

I live on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, but am originally from the UK. I have been based all over Europe, Russia, Middle East and North Africa, so probably an ideal location!

How long have you been a corporate flight attendant?

I have been in business aviation now for 10 years and still love it as much as day one. Prior to that, I was in commercial aviation for 6 years.

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

I have a BA Honors Degree in psychology and this year I plan to start my Master’s Degree in Human Factors in Aviation. I also previously undertook training as a personal chef and sommelier, as well as being TEFL qualified.

Which languages are you fluent in?

English, although I also speak Cypriot Greek to an advanced level! Through work I know the basics (and food items!) in Arabic, Russian, Japanese and Malay. I can speak conversational French and German. I am also learning Mandarin.

Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?

EBAA Cabin Services Conference and any air shows I can fit into my hectic schedule.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Everything! I don’t regret anything – it is one long learning curve. In my last job, I looked after almost 50 crew and 12 aircraft, designed the interiors, created menus, wrote manuals, mentored and trained crew, and more – the change in 18 months was incredible. This project is something I worked very hard on and has just proven that this is what I do best.

What has been your most memorable flight?

My most memorable flights seem to occur with birds or animals! A few years ago, we went to collect a VIP from a hunting trip in Madrid – we filled the baggage compartment with guns but then they brought on 60 crates of birds! We had to do a lot of rearranging in the cabin, birds everywhere. Our captain got stuck in the baggage compartment and we had to pull him out! I recently did a flight on a 737 with 28 leashed falcons in the cabin and a bunch of very merry sheikhs. I have also had rabbits in the baggage compartment (for presidential family dinner), a pet tiger and a goat (a gift for a president)!

What types of cuisine do you prefer?

Asian food – Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malay – I challenge myself to cook these at home, so I am constantly learning about new flavors and styles. I also love food from the Middle East, especially Lebanese.

What are your favorite destinations?

I travel frequently to Dubai – I like the mix of the old souks on the creek-side with the modern malls and the fact you can do almost anything! The helicopter trip across the city and going on a 737 simulator were part of a recent break there, to get my aviation fix! The food is so diverse there too, most cuisines are in easy reach.

I would love to go back to Cape Town, Bangkok and Tokyo one day, they are totally unique and have amazing food and culture.

What is your favorite restaurant in Cyprus?

In Paphos, I like Argo for traditional Cypriot food, like Moussaka, and also seafood dishes. For a special occasion, I would go to Seven St. George – a traditional organic taverna with no menu but 21 courses of mezze to get through!

What are some things to do for someone visiting Cyprus for the first time?

The Troodos Mountains are an escape from the summer heat – in winter you can ski there in the morning and then go for a swim in the sea in the afternoon. A safari to the Akamas is worth taking to see the true beauty of the island – including the Sea Caves, Avakas Gorge, Akamas National Park and Lara Bay, where the turtles come in to hatch. Aphrodite’s Rock and Pissouri Bay are a must for sunset photo opportunities and the beach. To discover ancient history visit Paphos Fort, Mosaics and Archaeology Park which are a fascinating insight in to how we used to live.

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

Two North African trips spring to mind. One was 1-hour 10-minute flight, with 16 pax all wanting a three-course meal and drinks. I still don’t know how I did it! The second one, was finding catering in the middle of the Sahara – we were staying at the one hotel in the area; it was very basic and the staff spoke only Arabic. I had to go into the kitchen and point at things and offer them money – there were no meals or anything just very basic items. Once on-board, I had to be very creative with making something from nothing and fast. The passenger didn’t want to eat as it turned out, but the flight crew were very happy.

What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?

When I moved to Cyprus, I gave up my first flying job of 6 years. I missed it so much after just a few months, I decided I needed to return to flying but needed something more challenging and independent – so corporate flying it was!  Ironically, I had applied online in German to an Austrian operator and it so happened that they were looking for a native English flight attendant!

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

In my crew I look for:

Flexibility – as things change all the time, even en-route. You are often on standby and need to be ready to go flying at very short notice.
Patience – passengers being several hours late, running around looking for special request items with little notice, trying to store the catering just before takeoff.
Commitment – It’s not a job for everyone, you have to love this work 100% and give it everything to make it work.
Creativity – with catering, with serving, with dressing the cabin, thinking outside the box when things don’t go to plan – essential!
Calm – it speaks for itself, but when things go wrong you have to stay focused.
Professional manner – always take pride in what you do and how you do it.
Realism – Keep it real. No drama. Be yourself.
Learning – Know that we can all learn from each other; no matter how long we have been flying, there are always new things to discover.
Confidentiality – You have to be very discreet and also know when to be invisible. That includes social media coverage too.
Smile– A smile says everything!

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

Research well and understand what the job is really about. Talk to people in the industry already and be guided by them. Learn about relevant subjects such as service, culture, languages, wine and food trends. This will push you ahead of the game. Be passionate about your job and it will shine through to any recruiter.

What email address should be used to contact you?

Triciagreen16@hotmail.com

 

This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with corporate 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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