This week we are putting Stefany Di Manno Ceccato, a San Francisco Bay area corporate flight attendant, in the spotlight. Read her insightful interview below to learn more about her experiences and helpful tips for travel and catering.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
- Gulfstream 650, 550, IV, V, II
- Global Express 6000, 5000
- Falcon 50, 900
- Falcon 2000
- Challenger 601, 604
- Boeing 767
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
Aircare FACTS the first couple of trainings. Now I have been going to FlightSafety.
When was your last recurrent?
I just did recurrent in October 2015.
What is your base location?
My base location is the Bay area, California.
How long have you been a flight attendant?
I started as a corporate flight attendant and have been in this career for six years.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Science in Communications, with Broadcasting and English as my double majors. I also have retail real estate experience.
Which languages are you fluent in?
English and Italian. I am practicing to become more fluent in Italian with my husband, who is from Italy, who I met in this business!
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
I have attended the NBAA convention in San Jose a few years back.
What has been your most memorable flight?
My most memorable flight was flying a rock star legend. I got to witness him singing a song about being happy with his little daughter. It was absolutely beautiful.
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
I love Italian food. I eat a lot of salad and sautéed vegetables with different types of protein, on a regular basis. I also love steak!
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
I do not have any favorites as I enjoy seeing all different cities, cultures and landscapes, but I do love going to islands in general since I love the beach and being on the water. I have greatly enjoyed my sailing excursions in Turks and Caicos, Vanuatu and Fiji where I was able to snorkel, see bright colored coral and fish and different surrounding islands. I recently went to Zimbabwe and enjoyed seeing zebras, giraffes and rhinos in their own natural habitat. It was a pretty magical experience.
What are your favorite restaurants?
One that stands out in my mind is Grotta Palazzese in Puglia. The restaurant was in a cave overlooking the ocean, one of the most romantic places I have visited. The food was great there, as well. I love the JW Steakhouse at Grosvenor’s House in London, Tao in NYC, among many others in this city like Bar Piti, Da Silvano, Serafina, Bobo and Del Posto! Bucatino, Vineria Chianti and Vineria e Taverna in Rome, Swann et Vincent and Havanita’s in Paris, just to name a few! There are so many great places to eat, especially in the big cities.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting a new location for the first time?
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if wandering about alone be alert. Language barriers can be huge, for example, pepperoni pizza in Italy means pizza with peppers on it. Use Google Translate when you are not able to communicate an order, it can be very helpful!
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting a destination for the first time?
If you are going to a country you may not be familiar with, do some research on the state of the country. Some companies have a security/safety department that will give you a heads up on what to expect before you go there, but if you do not have access to this, use a search engine to get some information that may help you prepare for the trip better. Knowledge is power! For currency conversion, I usually use Oanda. When going on an international trip, I’ve found it is helpful to contact all the hotels and FBO to see if they can recommend restaurants and or catering and if they can refrigerate food, as we do a lot of the food preparation and some cooking where I am at now. Also, when going to different countries, I’ve also found it helpful to at least try to speak their language or ask first if they speak English, to be respectful of their culture and to not rub them the wrong way. For example, when I went to Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, I wore a scarf around my head to blend in a bit more and be more respectful of their culture.
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced? How did you overcome them?
I think the biggest is flying overseas and receiving catering with horrible packaging that doesn’t stay together and is too bulky for the galley storage compartment. I would advise bringing your own tins/microwaveable containers and, if you order from a restaurant, a lot of the time they are happy to use what you brought. Have them label the food so you know what is what. This will help you organize your food in the galley for when you need it. If you order from catering and run into this problem, bring your own so you can transfer the food into your tins/containers to avoid any big messes on the jet!
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
Traveling the world was always a dream of mine. I wanted to find a job that allowed me to travel the world and make money at the same time, since I needed to do that, too! I am happy to say I have done and have been doing just that!
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
I think multi-tasking is a must. There are so many things for us to do, remember and consider before and during each flight! I think to get a job, persistence and a positive attitude takes you a long way.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
If this is what you want to do, go after it! Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your dreams. Don’t listen to people who may tell you will not be able to find work. You can defy the odds. This business is hard work and sometimes can be very grueling, so prepare yourself for that, but also know the rewards is tremendous and priceless!
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.