This week we are highlighting a seasoned corporate flight attendant with an extensive background in aviation. Read along to learn more about Rucsandra Magdalena Mihai, her experiences and tips for fellow corporate flight attendants.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
First, I started with Russian aircraft: AN-24, IL-18, IL-62, TU-154, and B -707, BAC1-11. Then I gained experience on: B-737 300/500/700/800, A-310, A-318, BBJ B-737 and ACJ A-310.
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
I was trained in Romania, at the Superior School of Civil Aviation.
When was your last recurrent?
What is your base location and ICAO?
At the moment, I am based in Bucharest, Romania at Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP / LROP).
How long have you been a flight attendant?
I’ve been a flight attendant for 28 years now. 26 in commercial aviation and the last two years in corporate aviation.
What do you consider to be your career highlights?
Flying with the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Romania and the President of Rwanda.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I have a Marketing Degree and a Masters Degree in Marketing and Business Communication. Also, I am a flight instructor and inflight auditor, as well as a trainer for commercial and business aviation.
Which languages are you fluent in?
I am fluent in English and French.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
I attend EBACE and EBAA conventions.
What has been your most memorable flight?
Back in 2002, I had a presidential flight with the former President of Romania. We visited five countries in 11 days: UAE, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines and Singapore. I had the opportunity to discover amazing places together with amazing people!
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
Italian and Asian.
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
New York is my all time favorite city! I like everything here, from the madness of streets, people, restaurants, bars, and of course Broadway.
Also, I like Portugal, Lisbon especially for the the language, food, music and history.
I love Bali, too! It is an exotic place, with such different culture, vegetation and everything.
What are your favorite restaurants in New York?
Tao Uptown and Zuma.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting New York for the first time?
In New York, I would recommend first of all a sightseeing city tour, then Greenwich Village with all that fancy boutiques and live music bars, Central Park for a nice walk, Soho area and Broadway Blvd. for shopping, and of course, a visit to the Statue of Liberty by boat.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting New York for the first time?
Don’t miss the opportunity to see a musical on Broadway, then hit all the museums you can, such as the Metropolitan, Guggenheim and MOMA.
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
How did you overcome them?
Africa was a big challenge for me back in 2003, when I was flying on a BBJ for the former President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. The catering was delivered from a five-star hotel, Mille Collines. However, it took a lot of time for me to explain to the people I was working with what our needs were, how exactly the food should be prepared and packaged, and so on.
I had an excellent relationship with the manager of the hotel, a Portuguese guy, who helped us all the time with everything, with all the problems that we encountered with the handlers, even with some impossible requests from our passengers. I become friends even with the chef from the hotel’s restaurant, because we were staying in that hotel all the time. Building relationships is key.
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
I had the chance to improve my skills in all the years of commercial aviation, and I was privileged to be chosen to fly together with all the former Romanian presidents and prime ministers. That means that I have developed the personal skills needed for this job, I am very well trained, and I have the experience requested.
I have been driven all the time by this passion for aviation, for excellent service and customer satisfaction. Corporate flying is a big challenge for everyone who wants to do something different, is a chance to deliver exceptional customer service for special passengers from different cultures, in a special environment.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
- Flexibility and patience
- Flair and personality
- Initiative and drive
- Grace, attention to details and professionalism
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
First of all, to be sure that all his/her skills, qualifications and experience meet the requirements of this job. Then to be daring, because is a very challenging and rewarding job. To keep educating herself/himself, to be well informed with the new trends in business aviation, from the culinary techniques to the last trends in drinks or cabin arrangements.
Be empathetic; empathy is much more valuable than intelligence. Empathy can help you build friendships, move up in your career, build stronger communities, find better opportunities and even score you amazing resources.
Do your best to give first without any expectations of getting anything back in return.
If you keep going above and beyond for your customers, they may decide to stay loyal to you instead of your competitors.
Do things with the intention of helping others.
The more you give, the more you will eventually receive.
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 email@example.com.