The days of how flight attendants are portrayed on TV are long gone in business aviation. Corporate flight attendants in today’s world are much more than just a person in the back of the cabin to take care of passengers. These unique and highly-qualified individuals wear many hats and are highly-trained in many different aspects.
Even though one of the responsibilities of being a corporate flight attendant is to take care of passengers in the cabin with service, their main responsibility is ensuring your safety in the event of an emergency. Many of us forget this until a real emergency happens on-board. Additionally, some of us think an emergency is a crash, but in aviation many emergencies happen every day that we do not hear about in the news. Corporate flight attendants are there for your safety in any critical situation, from a medical emergency to an aircraft accident.
As you can see, these individuals are responsible for much more than just service. A qualified corporate flight attendant has gone through a few different flight attendant training programs that cover all aspects. This can include but is not limited to, specified aircraft emergency training, service, etiquette, culinary training, security, medical training and food safety. On top of all of this detailed training, corporate flight attendants usually specialize in another field. Corporate flight attendants usually are truly multi-talented individuals.
Many people think that being a corporate flight attendant is a glamorous job and that all they do is go to exotic destinations and relax on the beach. This perception is far from the truth, and in actuality these individuals work very long hours and have very little time for a personal life. Corporate flight attendants are constantly either on a trip or preparing for their next trip. Corporate flight attendants have to be ready 24 hours a day and be able to change location in an instant. For instance, once I had a trip that was only supposed to last three days in the United States. Instead, I was gone for two weeks jetting around the world from a cold weather climate to a sub-tropical climate.
A corporate flight attendant’s responsibilities do not come to a stop once the aircraft lands. Once they arrive at a destination, the flight attendant is not just waiting in the hotel. Instead, they are out finding unique items and crafting a culinary experience for the next flight.
Unlike airlines that have many regulations for crew members, in corporate aviation there are fewer regulations for crew and in particular for the flight attendant. As a result, many corporations are being proactive in putting regulations into their own standard operation procedures for safety of the crew and passengers.
These crew members work to meet and exceed the specific needs of individuals who are the top 1 percent of the world and are always on the go from vacations to business deals. To rise to the high level of expectation, getting ready for an average trip usually starts earlier than what most people think. Preparation sometimes even takes weeks in order to ensure everything is ready for a particular flight. Corporate flight attendants do not just show up to the aircraft before the passenger gets there. The trip could start just from a discussion from the main principle or company, and now the flight attendant has to review the trip to see if anything special is needed. This could include going over security for the destination, special permits that may be required, arranging hotels and transportation for the destination, as well as organizing the trip for cabin service.
This usually starts by making sure the aircraft is ready. He or she will go over the aircraft emergency equipment in detail to make sure everything is secure and ready in case there is an emergency. He or she will arrange all details needed for the trip. This could be as much as going over the aircraft and making sure everything is on-board, to procurement of individual items that were requested. I have seen a lot of different requests, from a movie that wasn’t even out yet, to a bowl of just yellow M&Ms. Trust me when I say these flight attendants will go above and beyond to get their passengers anything they need or request.
Once the trip has started, these individuals will go into great detail in service and presentation for your flight while always having safety on their mind. The flight attendant is your personal assistant in anything you need, as well as well the caretaker for the aircraft while you are on the trip. Once the plane has reached its destination, the process starts all over for the next voyage.
So, the next time you are flying or are looking for a flight attendant, remember they are there for your safety in any case of an emergency and that they are highly-trained in many fields. Many people think that anyone can be a corporate flight attendant, and this is not the case. When looking for a corporate flight attendant, make sure the individual is trained in aircraft emergencies and medical training. Additionally, some culinary training is also a big advantage. These flight attendants will give you the best service possible, and have many more unique skills that will make them a valuable asset throughout the entire life-cycle of any trip.
Written by John Detloff, Vice President of Flight Attendant Services for Air Culinaire Worldwide.
John has over 14 years in corporate aviation has flown on many different aircraft as a trained flight attendant, executive chef and emergency medical technician. He has been to over 80 countries and hundreds of cities throughout the world.