London is a busy city to which almost any international traveler will operate in his or her lifetime. Knowing how important London, and the entire United Kingdom, is to travel, we turned to Jane Roberts, a contract flight attendant from Birmingham based in London, to learn more about this location.
Jane has over ten years of combined experience in commercial and private corporate aviation, and currently holds visas for the United States, India, Russia, and China. She trained and graduated from Flight Safety International (FSI), in Savannah, Georgia, in the United States, which she says “was a great place to train. I have had training with other providers, but FSI was by far my favorite.” Her last Medaire training was in April of 2013, and her Standard Emergency Procedures (SEP) training was the year before that. In addition to her cabin crew training, Jane has an accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Food Safety for Catering, and a coaching accreditation from the Institute of Occupational Learning. She adds that, “Just prior to my Corporate Aviation life, I was working in a very busy government hospital, working and studying towards multidisciplinary modules for a Diploma in Adult Nursing.” Her passion for helping others is very evident.
Since she is based out of London, Jane had a lot of insight into this unique, global city. “London is such a vibrant multicultural city,” she said. “There are so many great restaurant choices here, but a few of my favorite places to dine are The Ledbury in Notting Hill for lunches (for its modern European style with flair), or in Camden, where I am spoilt between restaurants Shaka Zulu (for authentic South African food) or its Pan-Asian neighbor, Gilgamesh. Both venues have jaw-droppingly beautiful carved wooden interiors and delicious menus. There’s also an array of street food vendors in London to satisfy all taste buds.”
Food is always a hot topic in the private aviation industry, so we asked Jane to give her opinion on the subject. She told us that her “favorite food is anything spicy! I personally love Thai, Cajun, Indian, and Mexican foods mostly. I’m also a real meat lover, so I’m equally happy tucking into a juicy steak.” When narrowing the topic down to choosing just one meal, she replied, “My favorite would have to be traditional English Sunday roast dinner, with crispy roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings! Being on the road a lot, I tend to miss a lot of weekends at home and often come back craving this dish.”
When discussing in-flight catering challenges, Jane shared that in her experience “being a freelancer, I often don’t know what equipment or space I will have to work with on a new aircraft. I have to be able to adapt to these new environments quickly. Another challenge is not knowing my clients’ preferences and trying to cater sensibly for them while keeping my options flexible.”
Jane, like other private aviation flight attendants, has had many interesting experiences around the world. She speaks English, Spanish, some Arabic, and “a little bit of a lot of other languages, too, just enough basic words to politely get by in foreign places.” When asked to talk about her career highlights, she said, “While I worked for a commercial airline, I was also on their PR promotions team.This role gave me the opportunity to represent the company at many international events that the company sponsored; this was a lot of fun to be a part of. Some of my other highlights have been working with the private companies which I have been fortunate enough to work with; they’re some of the best names in the industry. I feel very lucky to have had an opportunity to be a part of their teams over the years, and I will cherish many great memories!” Part of these memories include trips to the United States. Jane explained, “My favorite location to visit is anywhere in the USA. I’ve only seen a handful of cities in the States, but I always thoroughly enjoy being there and find Americans are always very warm and welcoming.”
For aspiring flight attendants in private aviation, Jane shared her personal insight into the important skills necessary to be successful, including “the ability to be creative, self-reliant, and impeccably organized; an eye for detail, confidence, discretion, quick thinking, and resourcefulness. Additionally, being the usual chef, waitress, firefighter, nurse, babysitter, mother, negotiator, teacher, barista, bartender, sommelier, PR rep, personal assistant, personal shopper, cleaner, robot, and beauty queen! It can be hard work at times, but I love what I do and I think it’s a great industry to work in.” The next time you are operating to or from London or need an experienced contract flight attendant, contact Jane Roberts at email@example.com.
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with contract cabin crew members; 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.