This week we are spotlighting Hannah Madigan, a corporate flight attendant based out of the United States’ West Coast. Read on to learn more about Hannah, her skills and experiences, and tips for fellow flight attendants in business aviation.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
A GIII with 18 PAX capacity; I can handle anything!
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
My first flight attendant training was at Aircare FACTS in Long Beach, in September 2015.
When was your last recurrent?
I went back to FACTS for recurrent training in September 2016, but this time in VNY.
What are your base locations and ICAOs?
I currently live in LAS, but I will work out of LAX, LGB, VNY, BUR, and any location that needs me; provided I have enough time to get there!
How long have you been a flight attendant?
I have been a corporate flight attendant for one year and one month, and I plan to continue for many more years.
Any career highlights you would like to share?
My chief pilot wrote me a lovely letter of recommendation so I could have one on file, and it was glowing. I was quite touched, and I consider it a career highlight, thus far.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I have a BA in English Literature from UCLA, a TAM card (alcohol awareness training specific to NV), a health certification card (food prep standards), and a PhD in the school of life!
Which languages are you fluent in?
I speak fluent English and conversational Japanese – after college, I took off to live in Tokyo for three years where I formed a rock band, so I had to learn the language.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
So far, I have attended the NBAA convention when it came to Las Vegas in 2015. I really enjoyed it!
What has been your most memorable flight?
I once had to execute an entire bridal shower party on a LAS – VNY – LAS run. It was the most champagne I’ve ever served in 35 minutes!
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
I love all kinds of cuisine, but you can never go wrong with Mediterranean fare. Hummus, dates, dolmas, pita bread – yum! (I eat a vegan diet, so tend to go for more healthy options in any case.)
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
Traveling makes me happy no matter where we go, but I love touching down almost anywhere in Tokyo for the history, culture, food and shopping.
What are your favorite restaurants in Tokyo?
I adore Beige in the Chanel Building in Ginza – named after Coco Chanel’s favorite color. Also Dazzle, in the Mikimoto building in Ginza. Delicious veggies!
Momonoki House in Harajuku; a little tucked-away wooden hamlet where the owner will show you photos of his mountain where he sources his produce.
Nataraj in Ogikubo; a little Indian restaurant with seaweed naan and macrobiotic curry.
New York Grill in the Park Hyatt in Shinjuku; amazing food and the best view in the city. (Also Lost in Translation was filmed in this hotel, so it may look a bit familiar.)
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting Tokyo for the first time?
There is so much to do and see it would take you a lifetime to explore everything, but some highlights I would suggest seeing:
- The New York Bar in the Park Hyatt – Shinjuku.
- Yoyogi Park – Tokyo’s answer to Central Park in NYC – a sprawling park with gorgeous scenery.
- Harajuku – Go to Takeshita Dori for a shopping experience like no other! (Tucked away in the side streets are Vivienne Westwood consignment shops – FIND THEM. They are amazing!)
- Ginza – Stroll around Ginza for glitz and glam; it’s the Beverly Hills of Tokyo.
- Daikanyama – a quieter area, but all the latest indie fashions are here along and tucked away cafes and restaurants with delicious food.
- Omotesando and Shibuya – Shibuya has the famous street crossing that you may remember from a few films. It also has giant shopping malls with the latest Japanese brands. Omotesando is its fancier counterpart, with the beautifully designed Omotesando Hills. Check out this architectural wonder of a shopping center for sure, and have some chocolate fondue while you are there.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting Tokyo for the first time?
- Don’t stick your chopsticks straight up in any food – that is actually a funeral custom.
- Don’t pass food from chopsticks to another set of chopsticks – also a funeral custom.
- Don’t make direct eye contact for too long – it makes people uncomfortable.
- Don’t put any sauce directly on your rice – it is a slight to the chef.
- Speak softly, if you can!
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced? How did you overcome them?
Last-minute requests are always a bit of a challenge. Hopping in a car and running off to source a particular type of juice was a fun time in the snow in Philadelphia!
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
I wanted a career that would be rewarding and challenging. I am never bored and I love everything about this job.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
Adaptability! The gift of anticipation, being able to read a situation, having high standards, and patience.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
No one gets into this job the same way. Don’t get discouraged by other flight attendants’ successes if it seems like you can’t rise up in the beginning. If you are persistent, you’ll get there! And always support your fellow flight attendants. We are all in this together!
What email address should be used to contact you?
Also, I have a vegan travel blog: http://www.instagram.com/theplantbasedjetsetter
This article is part of a series of interviews we are conducting with corporate 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.