As part of our blog series on the World Cup in Russia, what better way to learn more about the country than an inside look from the point-of-view of a corporate flight attendant. Teresa Grzywocz graciously has given us an insightful interview to share with the business aviation community that gives details into her expertise and experiences. Teresa has been a flight attendant for 11 years, with three years in commercial aviation and almost eight in private aviation.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
- Challenger 650, 300, 604
- Global 5000, 6000
- Legacy 600
- Falcon 7x
- Boeing 727, 737, 777
- Airbus 330, 340
- And some military aircrafts
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
I started flying in UAE with Etihad Airways.
When was your last recurrent?
What is your base location and ICAO?
Warsaw, Poland – EPWA.
Have you received any awards / industry scholarships? Career highlights?
In my first airline, I was promoted to premium class after only 6 months of flying. Two of my last companies chose me to represent them during international shows.
Do you have a military background?
I have flown in a military operation, but I was employed as a civilian flight attendant.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I have a Master’s Degree in Oriental Studies from Polish University.
Which languages are you fluent in?
Polish (native) and English. I studied Arabic, so I can speak some and presently I am studying French.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
NBAA, EBACE, MillionaireAsia Private Aviation and Luxury Lifestyle Show.
What has been your most memorable flight?
I had the pleasure to fly with lots of famous people. Unfortunately, I cannot give any names. My recent most memorable flight was the last flight I did for a company that is not existing anymore. It was our goodbye trip.
What type of cuisine do you prefer?
I really like Eastern European cuisine. The way my grandma used to cook.
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
There are so many: Such as New Zealand, Maldives, Laos, Singapore, San Francisco and Russia.
I love visiting new places, but I feel at home in Europe. Especially, I love flying to France. I am studying the language and I am a big fan of the South France atmosphere.
What is your favorite restaurant in Moscow?
I won’t be original in saying Café Pushkin, but I love their food – they serve traditional Russian cuisine. They do catering for private jets as well. It is worth visiting them, as the place is beautiful, and the food presentation and service are very high standard.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting Moscow for the first time?
Red Square – especially in winter. Shopping in GUM, seeing ballet in Bolshoi Theater and, if possible, try to use their underground system. The stations are amazing.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting Moscow for the first time?
More and more people speak English now in Moscow, but you might still find it difficult to move around if you cannot read Cyrillic letters. Russians are very friendly and helpful, but they do not smile much. Smiling to the strangers on the street is weird for them. You need to remember as well that the Russian language has its own rules, and when translating from Russian to English the sentence might sound impolite.
Another tip that might be very useful for pilots and male flight attendants: Russian ladies do not like to shake hands with unknown men. If they want to greet them this way, they will extend their hands first.
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
How did you overcome them?
Flying to far Russia, the biggest challenge is the communication. In many places in Siberia, they do not accept orders via email and they speak only Russian. It is worth having your own bags and boxes for picking up the order from local restaurants, as their packing is not the best. If you fly with your own passengers, try to stock the plane before arriving in Russia. You cannot get all the brands outside Moscow. In winter, it can get really cold there, so you might need to remove all the liquids from the plane.
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
I started in a commercial airline and I fell in love with flying. After leaving the Middle East and trying an office job in Poland, I was desperate to fly again. I got into a charter company and one day I saw a private jet with such an elegant flight attendant boarding two pax, while I was waiting for my 300 tourists. After that, I started doing research and reading blogs of private flight attendants. I knew what my next step would be.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
You need to be very flexible, working hard and all the time learning new things. If you are responsible as well for catering and restocking your plane, think ahead and plan for every scenario. Creativity and a warm personality will help you out in case of any unplanned events.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
First of all, it won’t be easy, but you cannot give up. Try to do research about the job, cuisine, wine, service and other related topics. If you can afford it, go for professional training. From my perspective, for those with first-class experience, the easiest place to get a corporate job is in the Middle East. After few years in the desert, it is much easier to get hired in Europe.
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.
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