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Redefining In-Flight Catering

San Francisco Corporate Flight Attendant – Amber Vidal

Amber Vidal - Corporate Flight Attendant

While everyone has seen images of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or heard stories about Alcatraz, Amber Vidal volunteered to provide an inside look at San Francisco. Amber is an Aircare FACTS trained corporate flight attendant based in the San Francisco Bay Area (KSJC, KOAK and KSFO). Amber started her career a year and a half ago and has been busy gaining valuable experience on missions throughout the world.

After graduating from FACTS, Amber has flown on Global Express, G550, G-IV SP, Challenger 604, 601, 300, and Citation X. Since graduating she has not only kept busy flying, but also with keeping her training current and being an active member of the business aviation community. She attends NBAA’s annual convention and NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers convention. In addition, she was awarded an NBAA scholarship earlier this year.

Amber has visited some fabulous locations as a corporate flight attendant, including a trip that included South America, Central America and a roadshow in United States. “The international cities included Lima and Cusco in Peru and Antigua, Guatemala. We had 12-13 passengers the entire trip. Cusco is at an altitude of approximately 11,000 feet and upon stepping onto the tarmac I instantly felt lightheaded due to receiving less oxygen. Walking around town, I earned the nickname “Altitude Amber.” Of the three crew members, I apparently was not acclimating very well to less oxygen. As a result, I was mixing up my words, and my crew got a good laugh out of it,” she said.

Despite her bout of altitude sickness, Amber was able to provide her passengers with details of the area due to her natural curiosity for the local history. “Departing Cusco the guests were excited for the possibility to see Machu Picchu. The night before the pilots and I looked up the history of the Incas. Unfortunately, we were unable to see the site, but the research we did paid off unexpectedly. Even though I didn’t anticipate it, the passengers were taking pictures of the incredible Andes mountain ranges below and asked me all kinds of questions. I was able to give them a brief history of Machu Picchu and the Incas, which they enjoyed.”

Since Amber has traveled to areas with distinct cuisine, we wanted to get an idea of her favorite foods. “Italian food is at the top of my list since the dishes are very comforting. I also enjoy a variety of Latin American foods such as Peruvian, Mexican and Puerto Rican. Any dish with seafood typically wins me over,” said Amber. “While it is hard to decide which dish is my favorite, I would have to say ceviche. It is light, full of flavor and is healthy.”

Some of her favorite destinations so far include Geneva, Switzerland and Lima, Peru. “Geneva will always have a place in my heart since it was the first European city I visited. I loved wandering around old city and enjoying lunch lakeside. It amazed me to learn how many international organizations are located in Geneva,” said Amber. “Peru is another favorite of mine. In Lima, I was lucky enough to visit the San Francisco Church to see the catacombs. I learned that Lima is the gastronomic capital of Latin America, and I even tried Amazonian cuisine. When we were in Antigua, the town was celebrating its world renowned Santa Semana Celebration. Although beautiful, Guatemala can be a very dangerous place. It reminded me to be appreciative for the small things at home we take for granted, such as our safety.”

Home, for Amber, is San Francisco. If you are planning your first trip to San Francisco, Amber has some helpful tips for making the most out of your time on the ground. “I would suggest Union Square for shopping and Twin Peaks for a breathtaking view of the city. BART, Uber and classic cable cars are great options for getting around town. Pier 39 is a good place to stop due to its lively atmosphere.” she said. “After all of that, stop by the Golden Gate Bridge for a great photo opportunity.”

For dining in the city, Amber had equally great advice for newcomers. “San Francisco is known for its many distinct neighborhoods. One of my favorite ways to take in the city is to stop by each neighborhood and try its signature dish. For example, while in Little Italy enjoy a patio seat at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana to nosh on award-winning pizzas and people watch. Stop by the Empress of China in Chinatown and enjoy the spectacular view of the neighborhoods below while trying authentic Chinese food,” she said. “The Embarcadero is known for fantastic restaurants such as The Boulevard, La Mar, and The Waterfront. Great lounges and rooftops with more city views include the Marriott Marquis, the Top of the Mark and El Techo De Lolinda.”

Becoming a corporate flight attendant is an involved process requiring a lot of focus and dedication. Amber says that for anyone considering this as a career it is important to “first and foremost: get your safety certifications. These are crucial for any flight department to consider you. It was difficult for people to take me on at first when I had limited aviation experience. Ensure you exude confidence in your abilities as a professional. Business Aviation is a small industry, getting into the field through networking, and establishing relationships through conventions and events, is critical to gaining exposure and finding flight departments.”

For corporate flight attendants, Amber says, “As always, safety and excellent service is vital. Catering can be challenging at times. When possible, I partner with chefs from high-quality restaurants. This way I can verify everything is prepared and packaged correctly prior to arriving on the aircraft. I feel being flexible is a very important skill. As corporate flight attendants, we encounter various personalities, and we need to tailor our service accordingly. In addition, flexibility is important due to itineraries constantly changing. Organizational and time management skills are pertinent because we don’t have a lot of space within the aircraft with limited time to prepare. Also, we have to ensure our catering, linens, dishes and supplies are on time, clean, stocked and accounted for.” The next time you need a flight attendant in San Francisco, or one that speaks English and Spanish, contact Amber Vidal at skyisnotmylimit@rocketmail.com.

This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract cabin crew members; individuals 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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