India is home to a growing economy, the second largest population in the world and a projected 12.5 percent increase in business aviation flights. Today we bring you a one-on-one interview with Komal Kumar, a corporate flight attendant from New Delhi, India (VIDF). Komal has had the honor of flying the top corporate and diplomat officials of various countries, as well as the top ruling political figures of the Republic of India.
Komal got her start as a commercial flight attendant in 2004. She received her initial training for Airbus and Boeing from Gulf Air Training School in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She has also worked for Etihad and Emirates, and trained at Emirates Aviation College in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. After seven years in commercial aviation, she decided to take the next step in her career and become a corporate flight attendant. Throughout her career she has flown on A330, A340 (all ratings), B763, B777 (all ratings), Falcon 2000, Hawker 800xp, Challenger 604, Legacy, and is presently flying on Gulfstream 500 and Gulfstream 200. Komal received her last recurrent training in September 2014.
In addition to her training as a corporate flight attendant, Komal takes pride in additional medical training she has received. This training has enabled her to “efficiently treat many onboard medical emergencies and liaison with Medlink on ground.” Komal is multilingual and speaks fluent English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, which enables her to work with a variety of clients from India and around the world. When she has time between trips, you can find Komal attending airshows such as the Singapore Airshow, Dubai Airshow and the Qatar Airshow.
One Komal’s most memorable flights was when she was a flight attendant with Etihad. “A member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi flew with us to Cairo for the Women’s Boxing Championship,” she recalled. “He took time to speak with all of the crew in the galley and was extremely humble. At the end of the flight, he handed a heritage coin to me as a good luck charm which I still have and cherish.”
Komal’s favorite restaurants are Bo.Lan in Bangkok, Thailand; Secret Recipe in Malaysia; EAT in Madison Square, New York; and Al Nafoorah in Emirates Towers, Dubai. Her favorite destination is New York City “because of its incredibly beautiful skyline, which is so iconic that people refer to it upon seeing the high-rise buildings in Dubai. It has a sense of freedom, health and great positivity to it.
While at home in New Delhi, Komal prefers pan-Asian cuisine, like that found at the Spice Route Restaurant in Hotel Imperial. Definitely a place to admire the intricate décor and enjoy dishes inspired from a variety of Southeast Asian countries. However, before it is time for wheels up to New Delhi, Komal suggests reading up on the city and culture. “New Delhi is very rich in its heritage,” she said. “I recommend paying a visit the beautiful forts, the Lodhi Gardens and the local shopping markets like Janpath are not to be missed. Dilli Haat is a handicraft paradise where you can buy handicrafts made by local artisans from all over the country.”
“I suggest taking prepaid radio taxis, like OlaCabs and Meru, for all travels within the city,” she said. “If you have a good two or three days, then a trip to the Taj Mahal, Agra and Jaipur is not to be missed. They can be visited by road by booking hotel cabs, and it is best to leave for Agra in the early morning hours.” Komal added that Indian “culture is very straightforward. Do not be surprised to see local food joints mushroomed in the city. Food chains, like Gopala Haldiram’s, and local food shops are safe to try. It is always good to experiment with local cuisine when visiting a new destination.”
It takes a lot of work to be a successful corporate flight attendant. Komal shared her thoughts on which qualities are most important for ensuring success. “You have to be an excellent listener, well-groomed and aware of international cuisines. You should be well-informed about all flight details and extremely coordinated, since you can make or break the trip in terms of travel for your guests.”
For someone considering a career as a corporate flight attendant, Komal says it is important to understand “we travel with the who’s who of the world. From international stars to wellness gurus, everyone is our guest, not only the top officials of the world. A corporate flight attendant should be calm and very patient instead of being too excited upon seeing a celebrity guest. Always keep in mind that these people travel in private jets to avoid all attention and to have a peaceful time, so please ensure you give them plenty of space.” The next time you are in need of a corporate flight attendant in New Delhi, contact Komal Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.