No doubt the hottest private aviation market in the United States is the New York / New Jersey area, with Teterboro Airport being the focal point of activity. As individuals living in the area fly domestically and globally, there are high demands for corporate flight attendants in the area. Today we are spotlighting the experiences and expertise of Michele Van Der Linde, a corporate flight attendant in New Jersey. Read on to learn more about Michele, her training and travels.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
I have flown on the Falcon 2000, Falcon 50EX & Falcon 900B.
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
I received my training with Aircare International FACTS, Whippany, NJ.
When was your last recurrent?
My recurrent training was in May 2018.
What are your base locations and ICAOs?
My base locations are MMU Morristown, NJ; TEB Teterboro, NJ & ILG New Castle, DE.
How long have you been a flight attendant?
I have flown as a corporate flight attendant for 1 year.
Have you received any awards / industry scholarships? Career highlights?
Yes. I was most recently awarded the NBAA Air Culinaire Worldwide scholarship in 2017. I was awarded First Place Blue Ribbons in 4 different cooking competitions and one of my personal recipes was featured in a publication’s Food & Wine section. I also appeared in an episode of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives with Guy Fieri on Food Network in 2010.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
In addition to attending the Air Culinaire Worldwide Aviation-Specific Advanced Culinary Arts Course, I attended a one-on-one International Cooking Class while on a trip to Poland and I was a Master Hairstylist, Colorist & Make-up Artist for 38 years before making a career change to corporate aviation.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
I attended the NBAA Regional Forum in Morristown, NJ, September 2017.
What has been your most memorable flight?
My April 2018 trip to Krakow, Poland was my most memorable.
What type of cuisine to you prefer?
I both prepare and enjoy many different types of cuisine, but Italian is my absolute favorite.
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
My favorite destinations are tropical, for sure, but I enjoy being anywhere that there are lots I can do on foot: Krakow, Poland; San Diego, California; Nassau, Bahamas. No driving or Ubers required.
What are your favorite restaurants?
I have two favorite restaurants. BIGA, located in San Diego was an amazing Italian bistro located right across from my hotel. The second was the restaurant in the NOVOTEL where I stayed in Krakow, Poland.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting a destination for the first time?
I would suggest to anyone new to the above-mentioned destinations to bring your sneakers, an appetite and a smile. Go out and explore everything you can. You never know when or if you’ll be back.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting a new location for the first time?
For a trip to go smoothly in either of the above-mentioned destinations or any, for that matter is look out for yourself. Nobody has your back except you. I find beauty in every place I’ve been, so it’s hard to narrow down the actual nuances.
I love San Diego because anything goes, everyone fits in and people seem happy.
In Poland, they have a very sad part of their history. I strongly suggest not mentioning anything about it in public. However, everyone is nice, most speak English and the US dollar buys you twice as much. Chilled lobster appetizer, grilled duck breast and seared scallops (their version of Surf & Turf), pierogis, a side salad and one cocktail, $25 USD. Righteous bucks!
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced? How did you overcome them?
The in-flight challenges I’ve faced are probably the same as most flight attendants experienced: Unexpected extra passengers, catering order incomplete, catering order never arrived. The latter making me sweat the most. Luckily, it occurred in a city where the FBO had a place on the premises that had fresh sandwiches and salads available. Whew, that was a close one!
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
My neighbor is a commercial flight attendant and I was always fascinated with the stories of her travels and I met a lot of her flight attendant friends who were such great people. But when I first met her, I was expecting my second child. That child is now almost 20 years old. Also, through the magic of reconnecting through social media, I learned that one of my high school friends had become a corporate pilot. We spoke about it many times and he offered a lot of support and encouragement (thanks Danny). Then, I just went for it.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
I feel essential skills for success in corporate aviation are you have to be a people pleaser, you need to enjoy making others happy and willing to provide more than what someone may expect. You must have and show confidence in everyone’s presence. I’ve found what works best for me is to creatively provide five-star service infused with a down to earth sense of humor.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
I would tell anyone looking to become a corporate flight attendant to be prepared to push yourself further than you ever have, be patient, yet persistent, never give up hope and learn how to make yourself shine.
What email address should be used to contact you?
You can contact me 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.