This week we are excited to bring you a spotlight on Isabel Clinard, a corporate flight attendant based in South Florida. Read on to learn more about Isabel, her experiences and her insights into one of her favorite destinations – Havana, Cuba.
Which aircraft have you flown on during your career?
Gulfstream IV and Gulfstream IV-SP.
Where did you receive flight attendant training?
Beyond and Above Corporate Flight Attendant Training.
When was your last recurrent?
I am new, so it will take place this year.
What is your base location) and ICAOs?
- Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE)
- Fort Lauderdale International Airport (KFLL)
- Miami Opa-Locka Executive Airport (KOPF)
- Miami International Airport (KMIA)
- West Palm Beach International Airport (KPBI)
- Boca Raton Airport (KBCT)
How long have you been a corporate flight attendant?
Have you received any awards / industry scholarships? Career highlights?
In a year, I have learned so much, been to so many beautiful places and met so many interesting individuals, that I feel very lucky to be a part of this industry. For me, those have been my career highlights, thus far.
Aside from your corporate flight attendant training, what other education do you have?
I am CPR and AED certified by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. I have completed the Air Culinaire Worldwide In-Flight Catering workshop, and I am certified in Catering and Presentation. I have also completed a Self-Defense Training and Awareness Course. I’m also a licensed and certified cosmetologist.
Which languages are you fluent in?
English and Spanish.
Which business aviation conventions and trade shows do you attend?
I am planning on attending my first NBAA convention this year
What has been your most memorable flight?
Going to Cuba for the first time.
What types of cuisine do you prefer?
I love Japanese, Greek and Thai cuisine.
What are your favorite destinations, and why?
Havana, Cuba because of the 1950s feel and history, the vibrancy of its people, the music playing all around the streets and people dancing.
Pescara, Italy for its laid back yet chic ambiance. Also, the beautiful beaches and beach-side restaurants.
Cannes, France was absolutely gorgeous. The endless amounts of yachts, incredible buildings and great food all around. Plus, lots of places to shop.
What are your favorite restaurant in Havana, Cuba?
When I visited Havana, I had a wonderful dinner at a place called La Torre. The food was great and the view was even better from the 36th floor.
What are some things to do that you would suggest for a corporate flight attendant visiting Havana, Cuba for the first time?
Get a ride in a vintage 1950s car, check out Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar for frozen daiquiris, walk over to La Bodeguita and have a delicious minty Mojito while smoking a Cuban cigar. Dance salsa just about anywhere you turn, or even in the streets, while listening to musicians play literally everywhere you turn. Go to El Morro and check out the old Spanish forts by the sea. Have a relaxing day at the beach and go snorkeling. I can go on with this list because there is so much to do and see, but my best advice is to brush up on a bit of Spanish before heading there and just get advice from the locals.
Any cultural tips for a corporate flight attendant visiting Havana, Cuba for the first time?
Make sure to take cash because there aren’t too many ATMs available. A lot of businesses still run on a cash-only policy, so it just makes things easier when exploring the island. Wi-Fi is also not available everywhere, and in some places it is very spotty. Plus, certain spots that do have Wi-Fi will charge you for the amount of data you want, so it can get expensive.
Cuban people are very friendly and get very excited when they meet tourists visiting their homeland. They will want to show you around and tell you about their country if you give them the opportunity to do so. They are very musical people and love to dance, so do not be taken back if they ask you to dance even if they don’t know you. Also, their food is fantastic!
What are some in-flight catering challenges you have experienced?
I was getting ready for a flight from London to New York for a group of musicians and part of the catering that was requested was a particular kind of spirit, and I needed two. It was a holiday in England, so a lot of places were closed or closing earlier than usual. I went on an extensive mission calling numerous stores, searching the web and driving around all over London for it. I couldn’t find it anywhere, and not too many people seemed to know what it was or had heard of it. It felt like I was in a movie searching for a hidden treasure that I was never going to find!
How did you overcome this situation?
Finally, I came across a store that carried the bottle and they informed me they only had two left. I asked them to please reserve them for me and that I would go pick them up as soon as possible. Then I hopped in a cab and drove for almost an hour before they closed. I felt a sense of accomplishment for finding these items under such challenging circumstances, and was very relieved to have found them for my upcoming flight.
What made you decide to become a corporate flight attendant?
For some time, I had given it some thought because I have always been a traveler and love learning about other cultures, as well as trying different cuisines. I never really pursued it because I was busy doing other things. Then the opportunity presented itself, and everything fell into place at the right time of my life.
What do you feel are essential skills for a successful corporate flight attendant?
Flexibility, being able to adapt, patience, perseverance, creativity and being able to think outside the box, professionalism, friendliness and loving what you do.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a corporate flight attendant?
This is a wonderful career for someone that absolutely loves to travel because you get to experience so much. If you have the right balance in place, you will have a very long-lasting, successful career.
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.