This week we are spotlighting Marie-Helene Desjardins, a multi-talented, multi-lingual corporate flight attendant based out of the Palm Beach. Get to know more about her and her experiences in the interview below.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
- Gulfstream IV, V
- Global Express
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
I have trained at Beyond & Above in South Florida.
When was your last recurrent?
What is your base location and ICAOs?
I am based out of Palm Beach and I serve all corporate airports nearby, including KPBI, KMIA, KBCT, KFLL, KOPF, KMCO and KTPA.
How long have you been a corporate flight attendance?
I have been a corporate flight attendant for 7 years.
What types of training have you had?
- Safety and evacuation procedures (Land and Sea. Fire.)
- Medical CPR/AED
- Culinary Degree with Chef Wayne Whital
- Sommelier Degree
- Self Defense training
- Emergency training
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
- Certified Simultaneous Interpreter. Translated simultaneously a variety of topics, including Presidential conferences.
- Licensed in Real Estate in Florida.
I see you mentioned you are a translator. Which languages are you fluent in?
French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch/French. Semi-fluent in Hebrew.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
I attend NBAA’s annual convention and all events related to aviation that I can, based on my schedule.
What has been your most memorable flight?
Rio de Janeiro was there for the World Soccer Cup. Incredible atmosphere. Hoping to fly back many times to Brazil during the 2016 Games!
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
Asian and French. I love sushi and bouillabaisse. Being a native of the South of France, Bouillabaisse is one of my favorite French dishes.
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
I have many throughout South America and Europe. France, always, since I have friends and family there. I love Austria, Italy, Corsica, Greece, Spain, France, Brazil, England and Ireland. All amazing countries!
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting France for the first time?
Paris is an amazing city! I love all the museums, art and restaurants. Les bateaux mouches de la seine, quaint restaurants, Montmartre and the list goes on. The city is so rich in culture and has an amazing atmosphere. I also love Les Champs Elysees, les boutiques, Les Halles with their onion soup. Also, the bakeries are great, croissants au chocolat are delicious in France.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting a new location for the first time?
A smile goes a long away anywhere. Show some interest and curiosity. Be enthusiastic, polite and happy! Do in Rome as the Romans do, regardless of where you are visiting.
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
No food on board on takeoff is the worst challenge that I had to overcome by running with to nearest supermarket in a taxi with my co-pilot in a foreign country. I’ve also had the wrong food delivered with no time to rectify the order.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Improvisation of cooking on board is n active a duty and is a must. Also, attitude is very important; you’ve got to stay upbeat, determined, quick-thinking, autonomous, alert and, as always, keep a smile on your face.
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
When the crash of the Real Estate market in 2008 happened, I had to refocus. My foreign languages are an asset and I love going places and interacting with people.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
To be organized is a priority. You also need to be responsible, knowledgeable, take initiative, be flexible and creative and have endurance.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
Be prepared for long hours. No two flights are alike. Get to know your plane prior to departure. Duties, such as laundry and dishes to be back on-board at departure time, is the flight attendant’s responsibility solely. Be ready for anything at any time: changes are frequent in the private industry. Be flexible and versatile. A corporate flight attendant works the cabin alone. You will be in charge of all duties. Treat your passengers as if you were their private host. Be attentive to everyone and everything.
Always attend your passengers with a smile, always leave them with a smile. Be kind and attentive to their pets on-board. Have a backup plan when you fly contract only, until you secure a permanent position on a jet. Do not forget your crew in-flight and thank your PIC and SIC for a safe flying!
Enjoy your career as much as I am enjoying mine! I love those skies!!
Thank you for a great interview. What email address should be used to contact you?
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.