Today we have Rachel Diamont, a corporate flight attendant based in Los Angeles, in the spotlight. Read on to learn more about her experiences, insights and valuable tips for traveling the world and providing excellent service to business aviation clients.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
- G II, GIV, GV, G650
- Citation X
- Challenger 601, 604
- Falcon 2000
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
I did my training at Aircare FACTS Training in Long Beach, California.
When was your last recurrent?
What is your base location?
I am based in Los Angeles, California and serve all the nearby corporate airports.
How long have you been a corporate flight attendant?
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I have a college degree in languages. I am a certified translator and language teacher at Berlitz. I am certified in emergency CPR/AED and I am ANSI certified. I also have a culinary degree and a real estate license.
Which languages are you fluent in?
French, Spanish, Italian and English.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
The big NBAA convention and all other aviation-related shows and events, depending on my schedule.
What has been your most memorable flight?
I had a six-hour flight last summer with two exhausted parents, four children under the age of eight and two huge dogs. The parents boarded the flight, put on their headphones and fell asleep. I was now in “babysitter” mode and I was elated that I now had four girls to take care of (I have four sons); being grateful that I already had the experience with my own children! The flight consisted of making baby waffles topped with strawberries and Nutella, having the girls roll out the cinnamon buns and ice them, French braiding four gorgeous blonde long manes, playing games and giggling taking selfies with the dogs. Probably too much sugar, but it was so much fun! The parents woke up 30 minutes before landing to happy, quiet daughters with pretty French braids. We became best friends; I still keep in touch with the family to this day. The parents said, “We don’t know how or what you did to make them so happy and fulfilled,” and thanked me to no end. So grateful to have had those precious moments; the simple things in life are so meaningful.
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
Everything Italian, French, Vietnamese, Asian fusion and everything else! I LOVE food!
What are your favorite destinations?
Antibes French Riviera, Cambodia, London and Paris bien sur.
What is your favorite restaurant in Antibes?
There is nothing like going to the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, having cocktails on the rooftop and watching the sunset, followed by a fabulous dinner at their five-star restaurant.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting Antibes for the first time?
Anytime I visit any new country I make sure to get to know how the locals live. I always do my research before I go, the first thing I do is visit the local fresh food outdoor markets, then I eat a meal at a local favorite and get to know the people. Of course, then the tourist “musts.”
Antibes is a gorgeous quaint resort town with so much to do: The summer offers the best music festival in all of France, the “Juan Music Festival.” Walk around the Port Vauban Marina and see the biggest super yachts you’ll ever see, don’t miss Promenade Amiral-de-Grasse, the walkway along Vauban’s walls to take in the beautiful views of the French Alps. The Picasso Museum is something to not miss; a lot of his paintings were inspired by the colors of Antibes. Try to have a meal at Le Vauban or La Taille de Guepe, both five-stars. There really isn’t anywhere you can go and have a bad meal! After all we are in France.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting Antibes for the first time?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn a few words in the language of where you are travelling to; it changes how people see you and impresses them that you have taken the time to learn and be part of their world. We have all heard how the “French dislike Americans.” When a “thank you” or “please” is said in their language, the mood becomes fun and light; they will giggle at your accent and then help you with the correct pronunciation. It’s so easy and it goes such a long way. I have tested this many times with people I take to France.
Have patience; different cultures often go through life at a different speed that we do in the United States. This always makes me realize how we rush through life and don’t take time to breathe and enjoy life as we should. The French take three-hour lunches, we take 15 minute lunches and do so standing or in the car! Travelling always makes us learn and grow from being in a different milieu. “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” I guess that is the best tip I can give.
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
How did you overcome them?
I had a passenger bring me a whole 21-pound tuna that had been caught one hour before boarding! His words: “Here you go. We’d like some tuna sashimi for lunch please!” I took a deep breath, smiled and said, “Of course!” My mind was drowning with thoughts… “Are my knives sharp enough?” “How do I gut and filet a fish in a small galley and avoid the plane smelling like fish and not end up making a mess of the kitchen?” All this without having the pilots know, so they could concentrate on flying and not the disaster that could have been. After a moment of panic, my expertise and training kicked in. I was so happy that I had my own knives in my flight attendant kit. I managed to filet thin slices of tuna; I had bought fresh jalapeños for the Mexican food I had planned to cook and, by the grace of God, found some soy sauce onboard and made a fabulous ponzu sauce. This all resulted in very happy pax, and a very long clean up and disinfecting job afterwards.
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
I was at a time in my life where my sons were out of the nest I was getting bored with Real Estate. I was wanting to do something that would make me feel alive again. With my culinary and language background, and my love of travel, becoming a corporate flight attendant was a perfect match
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
Being able to multitask and work under pressure. Flexibility, creativity, discretion, effective time management, taking initiative, being impeccably organized, having the ability to take on last-minute changes and being creative with what is on hand and available to you. Always smile when things go wrong so nobody ever notices your stress.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
Research your training options, always get to know your passengers’ backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and give them personal attention. Sell yourself and accept rejection, keep knocking on doors, networking, taking care of your pilots (feed them well!). Always be very discrete on social media; owners read your comments.
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.