Since London is such an important global city with an enormous amount of choice, we wanted to gather a variety of perspectives from members of the aviation community. Last week we gained an inside look from a corporate flight attendant. This week, we interviewed Andi Scott, a flight attendant with a commercial airline who is considering making the transition into private aviation. Andi is currently based out of London Heathrow (LHR) but is within reach of any of the several airports in London.
Seven years ago Andi completed his initial training with British Airways Flight Training at their dedicated training facility at London Heathrow. He has passed recurrent training each year, with his last recurrent in April 2014. He has experience flying on Airbus A319, A320, and A321, as well as Boeing 757-200, 767-300, 777-200, 777-300, 747-400, and 787-8. Additionally, he has completed a culinary course specific to private aviation catering to hone his preparation and presentation skills.
Reflecting on his experiences over the past seven years, Andi described one of his most memorable flights. He said he was working “a corporate charter flight, carrying 120 executives of a very large automotive company from London to a European city. We served drinks, a three-course lunch, tea, and coffee to all on a 1-hour-5-minute flight. I remember taking my seat for landing next to my colleague, and both of us looking at each other and letting out a big breath and saying, ‘What just happened?’ It was an unreal flight, but everyone got what they wanted, and we got them there safely.”
Being the foodies that we are, we asked Andi to share his favorite foods from his travels. He says he has “a very eclectic taste in food. I like many things, from curry to sushi. However, a region which is a particular favorite is Germany and Switzerland. I thoroughly enjoy a good hearty meal of Schnitzel, pan-fried potatoes, and a good helping of well-made apple strudel. Makes me feel cozy, content, and warm inside. Not good for the waistline. But, hey, is anything that tastes that good ever?” Last week Andi was in the United States, and the “highlight was a proper Chicago Deep Pan Pizza. I was in Chicago on a trip, and my colleague I was working with had never tried one, so I insisted we go and have one for lunch the next day. It was absolutely amazing!”
Before diving into the details of life in London, Andi described his favorite travel destination. Without a second thought, he said, “My favorite destination is San Francisco. It is a wonderful city, in which I lost my heart many, many years ago. When I see ‘SFO’ appear on my roster, I still get excited. I have had a love affair with the city of San Francisco since I first visited in 2003. If I spend a few days there with nothing planned, I feel so at home, comfortable, and safe. I can wander around for hours and just enjoy the lifestyle, the people, the shopping, and the wonderful Pacific coastline.”
For his favorite meal, Andi gave an amazing description of “Traditional English Deep-Fried Cod and Chips (fries). Our chips here in the U.K. are big, chunky chips that are soft and fluffy on the inside and crisp golden-brown on the outside. Paired with crispy, light batter surrounding a perfectly cooked fillet of beautiful white cod; it cannot get any better than that. Especially when eaten from a paper bag and sitting by the sea.” In London, he loves “Traditional English Afternoon Tea. There are a multitude of places in London to go for Afternoon Tea. However, my absolute favorite is The Langham Hotel on Portland Place. It is a wonderful experience set in stunning hotel.”
With the amazing amount of choice in London, it can be overwhelming to decide what to do on a first visit. Andi had a lot of suggestions for someone trying to whittle down their “must-see” list to something fun and manageable. “London is a big city. Of course, as you would when travelling to any new city, do your research about what you find of interest. However, one thing I highly recommend is to do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour. Obviously depending on how long you have in the city, you may have time to explore on your own, using the Tube and other public transport. However, the bus tour will show you so much of the city that you can then get a good idea of where you might want to target your possibly limited time. One thing I would encourage people to do is use the Tube. The Tube (London Underground) is one of the best mass transit rail systems in the world. Despite the map for The Tube looking quite scary at first, it is very easy to get used to and a brilliant way to explore the city. Make sure you get an Oyster Card to pay for your journeys, as it makes the task much cheaper and a lot less complicated. One of the brilliant things about London is The Royal Parks. Regents Park is one of the most beautiful open spaces in London. It has everything from big, green, open spaces to formal Italian gardens with fountains and sculpted topiary to one of the most stunning rose gardens and a waterfall.”
When asked about his favorite restaurant in London, Andi said, “10 Greek Street in the heart of Soho. It is not massive; it is not hip and happening. But, what it does, it does well. The menu is not extensive, but what they offer is excellent and very tasty. And, for central London, it is not overpriced either.”
For aspiring flight attendants, Andi’s advice as they start their training and career includes “getting experience with people. People are at the heart of what we do. And I don’t just mean your clients and customers. Get familiar with suppliers, ground staff, ramp staff, and flight crew as well. Knowing how to deal with people, no matter who they are and in what situations, is vitally important and will help you throughout your time flying.”
Andi continued, “There are wide arrays of skills which come into play as a flight attendant. Everything from organization and time keeping, to attention to detail and discretion of the highest order. You are going to be in close proximity to people, some of whom will be high-net-worth individuals or celebrities, for many hours at a time. Therefore, you must have the ability be discreet and make your clients and customers feel that they can be themselves around you without fearing what they say or do will end up on Twitter or Facebook.” Andi also had advice for commercial flight attendants considering making the switch to private aviation. Of utmost importance, he says, are “training and networking. I have been very lucky to have been introduced to, and have made contact with, some wonderful people in the industry who are exceedingly helpful and informative. In regards to training, you can never improve your skills too much, so take any opportunity you can to add another training notch to your post.”
Since Andi is the first male flight attendant we have had the honor of interviewing, we wanted to get his perspective on breaking into the realm of corporate aviation. He says that “for men, it is more difficult to get into the industry, but not impossible. And, it is the type of work where you need experience to get a job, but you can’t get experience because you can’t get a job. So, stick with it and take opportunities when the come up, but don’t sell yourself short.”
Andi will be attending EBACE 2014 in Geneva, as well as the European Corporate Flight Attendant Committee conference the day before EBACE. He speaks English and basic French and German with a few words of Russian, so be sure to introduce yourself in your favorite language. The next time you are looking for a skilled flight attendant out of London, contact Andi Scott at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.