Redefining In-Flight Catering

San Jose Corporate Flight Attendant – Carol Martin

San Jose Flight Attendant Carol Martin

Carol Martin is a VIP cabin attendant with over 30 years of experience with Gulfstreams, Challengers, Globals, Falcons, and BBJs. Her last recurrent training was in January 2014, and she has received training at Flight Safety International (FSI), Aircare Flight Attendant and Cockpit Crew Training Seminars (FACTS), and the Corporate School of Etiquette. She was awarded a National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Scholarship in 2013 and has been a Civil Reserve Air Fleet Crew Member. Not only is she a highly trained VIP cabin attendant, but also she is a skilled in-flight chef, and specializes in flying with clients who travel with their pets.

As an active member of the business aviation community, Carol often attends the annual NBAA Flight Attendant and Flight Tech Conference. In addition to her career in private aviation, Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing, completed post-graduate studies in accounting, and is a CPA. Based out of Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) and Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), Carol not only brings a wealth of private aviation knowledge to the table, but also she has a lot to share about San Jose and the surrounding areas.

Carol has studied the Italian language extensively, as well as Italian cuisine and wine, so it was no surprise when we asked about her favorite destinations, and she responded, “Italy, for the food, history, and beauty!” She added, “I’m also passionate about Montana for the beautiful scenery and friendly people and Alaska for the same reasons. The South Pacific is my favorite beach destination and offers great diving.”

When asked to describe her favorite foods, she said “creative vegetarian.” She elaborated that her favorite meal consists of “fresh local vegetables prepared in local tradition with fabulous wine.” Last week, she dined on a sublime “gnocchi with truffle glaze.” Continuing the discussion about food, Carol explained that, locally, there are “incredibly fresh vegetable options available everywhere since we live in the middle of the ‘salad bowl’ of our country. This is an amazing agricultural region, and the freshest produce is available every month of the year. Add some of the most talented chefs in the world, and we are blessed with creative entrees on almost every menu in the area.” This sounded great so we asked her to tell us some of her favorite places to eat. She resides in Pebble Beach, and her favorites nearby are “a tie between Little Napoli in Carmel (truly fresh Italian food that transports me back to Italy and an atmosphere exactly like a trattoria I discovered down a side street in Rome) and The Bench at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. It overlooks the 18th green and the Monterey Bay, has wonderful fire pits for warmth and ambiance, always welcomes my dog – Maxx – with a bowl of water, and serves him anything we order. On top of all of that, they serve some of the most creative and freshest fare around. Did I mention a killer cocktail menu and wine list? This is a great way to spend an afternoon into sunset!”

Switching gears to discuss in-flight catering, we asked Carol to share some challenges she has faced in this part of her role. She said such challenges include “learning to speak a universal catering language, so that what I order and what I desire is what actually shows up on the aircraft. So much can get lost in translation, and I have learned a lot over the years, but the learning curve never seems to end with this one. Also: onboard storage for a long-range flight with multiple meals (is difficult), and cooling/refrigeration is a challenge. I’m big on food safety, and finding efficient ways to store and chill multiple meals can be quite a task.”

Carol also shared her opinion on some of the most important skills for a successful flight attendant: “Organizing, multitasking, flexibility, and discretion are all huge. If you aren’t organized, and you get behind the ball, it is very hard to catch up. You have to be able to do two or three things at once without getting flustered or shutting down because everything always happens at once. You are going to work with a lot of different crews and clients, so you have to be flexible and flow with how others want things done. And the big lesson to learn? They call it a ‘private jet’ for a reason: It’s private! You don’t ‘hear’ or ‘see’ anything onboard. You are a guest in someone’s home or office. Respect their privacy at all times.”

Out of all of the flights she has worked on, we asked her to discuss one of the most memorable. Her example truly highlights how flexible a VIP cabin attendant must be on the job. Carol has “one client in particular that travels on extended missions with her own goat on the plane so she always has access to fresh goat milk. She has her own pen in the aft of their BBJ, and, yes, it is my duty to secure the fresh goat milk. Needless to say, the goat and I have bonded. The bonus? Having a goat onboard solves two critical catering problems on an extended mission: She is her own storage facility for an unlimited supply of fresh goat milk, and I need not worry about refrigeration. Unfortunately, I have to say I can’t recommend this solution for most flights.”

For anyone looking to become a corporate flight attendant, Carol suggests, “You get as much training as you can afford. It does not matter how much experience you have that you think will make you a great corporate flight attendant. This is a different world, and you need very specific training to work effectively and safely. If you can only afford one thing, start with safety training at FSI or FACTS. Most reputable employers won’t even look twice at your resume or think you are serious if you haven’t taken your safety training. If you can afford more training, it is great to prepare yourself for how to actually do the job and do it with finesse by acquiring cabin training. Learning cabin skills and culinary skills can really set you apart from the rest of the field when applying for positions. Join NBAA, establish yourself on LinkedIn, and begin networking within the industry. Learn what is available in your area and which local aviation organizations operate near you, and join them. Stay in touch with people you meet in all of the classes you take and that you meet at industry events. Follow social media pages and accounts on private aviation.”

Next time you are looking for a flight attendant in the San Jose or Pebble Beach areas, or are traveling with pets and need a skilled hand, contact Carol Martin at

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

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