Bali, Indonesia is a tropical paradise that leaves a lasting impact on many who are fortunate enough to spend time there. One corporate flight attendant who has experienced the magic of Bali first-hand is Simone Johnson. In fact, she developed such a connection with Bali that it is her favorite destination in the world. Let’s get to know more about Simone and her insight into Bali.
Not only does Simone have 15 years of experience as a cabin crew member, but she also works as a Cabin Safety/Emergency Procedures Instructor at FlightSafety International. She has had the unique experience to have flown on three trips that circumnavigated the globe. She takes great pride in all of her trips, but says, “I find it very cool that I can say I have literally flown around the world, and on more than one occasion at that!”
Simone has experience flying on numerous aircraft, including Gulfstream (G-200, GIV, G450, GV, G550), Falcon (900, 2000, 7X), Bombardier (Challenger 600 series, Global Express, Global 5000), and Boeing (BBJ). She is mainly based out of Teterboro Airport (TEB / KTEB), Westchester County Airport (HPN / KHPN) and Waterbury-Oxford Airport (OXC / KOXC). However, she does travel to work for companies not in those locations, as well.
Simone is an active member of the business aviation community, and you can find her attending events hosted by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). She has received the NBAA’s Aviation Support Services Safety Award in 2015 Award for 15 years of accident-free support for business aviation. Recently, Simone received a Bachelor of Science from State University of New York Empire State College in Business Management and Economics, with a concentration in marketing.
When it comes to traveling, Simone’s favorite destinations are Brazil, Turkey and Bali. In describing each of these locations, she says, “The culture is so vibrant in each place and, of course, I love the local food.” In addition to speaking English, Simone speaks some Brazilian Portuguese, which comes in handy during her trips to Brazil, and she knows basic phrases in a few languages. Simone says she tries to “learn a few phrases before going into foreign countries.”
Overall, Simone is a foodie. She counts Indian and Italian as her favorite cuisines, along with sushi as one of her favorite preparation styles. While NOBU is one of her favorite places to eat, Simone has “too many restaurants that I love to eat at to list, but I am a foodie, so that is expected”, she says.
Since Bali is her favorite destination, we spent some time discussing local cuisine. “My absolute favorite dish to eat is Nasi Goreng in Bali, Indonesia,” she said. “It is a very simple and common local cuisine that consists of stir-fried rice that is blended with the perfect mix of spices and served with an egg and chicken or meat.”
For corporate flight attendants visiting Bali for the first time, Simone says she definitely recommends “taking a trip to Ubud and visit the Monkey Forest! It is such a beautiful place to see, along with the historical artifacts. The beaches are fantastic, such as in Sanur. Seeing the sunset there can never be justified in a photo. If you ever get the chance to go there on your personal time, I would have to say that going to dive the USS Liberty Shipwreck is an exhilarating experience!”
While discussing business aviation and the career of a corporate flight attendant, Simone had detailed insight on what it takes to be a success. “Learning to be flexible and adapt are definitely important,” she said. “Things change, and knowing how to have a backup plan to deal with unforeseen circumstances is a must. Having some culinary training will also help to know how to handle food in a sanitary way, as well as ensuring that food is transported in a safe manner. It will help you to also put your best foot forward and create beautiful presentations that will wow your clients.”
“Perhaps the most important thing is to develop your emotional intelligence skills. As corporate flight attendants, we have to learn how to ‘read’ our passengers needs and wants, and then take it a step further to be able to anticipate their needs,” said Simone. “This also applies to how you may or may not need to adjust your mannerisms in the cabin. I believe it is our job to be ‘invisible but present’ in the cabin. We have to understand the delicate balance of not overwhelming our clients with being in the way, but also being available when needed.”
For Simone, professionalism doesn’t stop once a trip is over “I feel it is important to maintain a professional image at all times,” she said. “Even when you are not on the aircraft, your image and behavior is an extension of the clients and companies that you work with. Corporate aviation is very small niche, and you never want to be the flight attendant that people tell stories about!”
If you are currently considering a career as a corporate flight attendant, Simone has great insight into what you should be prepared for. “You will need to smile and be pleasant all of the time! It is important to be a person that people want to work with,” she said. “We work in dynamic and intimate environments, and it will always be important to understand who you are working for and with. I think that it is also important to know that while our clients are friendly, they are not friends you hang out with. It is important to know and respect boundaries.”
When looking for work, Simone says, “it is a competitive environment and having thick skin will help you with rejection. Most of the time, it isn’t personal and you should not let one ‘cabin door’ closure break your spirit. It is always nice to follow up, and if you keep a positive attitude and remain pleasant even in the face of rejection, you just might be surprised if you get a call later down the line. I also believe in taking care of your pilots. Make sure you communicate with them on an ongoing basis and build a positive rapport with each one you work with.”
The next time you are looking for an experienced corporate flight attendant, contact Simone Johnson at email@example.com.
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.