More than pilots, mechanics, and ticket agents, the job of an Airline Flight Attendant can get your travelling the world for free and an interesting career in aviation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Have you considered a career as a corporate flight attendant?

Have you considered a career as a corporate flight attendant?

One of the fastest growing sectors in the aviation industry, has been the recent upswing in Corporate Jets. While once available only to the rich and famous, the advent of the innovative "fractional jet ownership" has brought executive jets closer to non-executives as well. And growing along with the jets is the need for trained and qualified crews, including corporate flight attendants.
In the early days of business aviation, aviation managers and the chief pilots usually used a male flight technician/mechanic in the back of the airplane as the acting third crewmember. There was no emphasis on specialized or quality food service. As interiors became increasingly detail oriented in order to support the client's needs, so did the need to have a third crewmember in the back of the aircraft that could accommodate specialized culinary and amenity requests. The galley and cabin equipment became more elaborate and extensive as did the high tech electronic communication and in-flight entertainments systems.
Fractional jet ownership came into existence in the late 1990's. Simply put, a corporate jet is shared by a few companies or individuals- each owning a time-share, or fraction of the aircraft use per month. This opens up the corporate jet option to a larger group of people, and has been the catalyst to make this the fastest growth sector in the industry.
It is important to emphasize that first and foremost, the safety of the passengers and the aircraft environment is paramount. When you consider your corporate client is paying anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 per hour for the use of the corporate jet, excluding fuel burn ($30 per minute!) and food/catering costs you come to understand why a corporate flight attendant must excel in their work.
So what are the qualities that a good corporate flight attendant needs to be successful in this industry? In no particular order those qualities are:

Organizational Skills
Detail Oriented
Personal Accountability
High Interpersonal Skills
No Ego
Taking Direction
Listening Skills
Resolution Skills

In addition to those skills mentioned above, the "contract/freelance" corporate flight attendant must possess the following abilities:

Effective time management skills
Book trips & keep a cohesive monthly schedule
Manage yourself as a business
Interface with several flight departments
Adaptability to several flight departments' standard operational procedures
Stay open-minded at all times

You must always be aware of, and remain on the leading edge of business aviation industry news and trends. You will do extensive research on the corporations you are flying for, including: the corporate structure, the products or services they produce, as well as the companies they own. If you are flying the CEO of Coca-Cola on your jet, you surely don't want to order Pepsi products from your caterer, or even Frito's, which is a Pepsi-owned company. As with commercial aviation, the sources of this information can be found at your local library, on the Internet, and from such publications as Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and The Financial Times- to mention a few. It is recommended that you maintain this information in a database of your own design, so that you can review it in the event you fly the same client more than once. Client privacy and discretion are foremost, not only as a good business practice, but also for the security of your client and flight. You can't blab to your friends that you are flying Donald Trump or Madonna around the country.

Like commercial aviation, a corporate flight attendant needs to be trained in safety, emergency and first-aid training. However, some private corporate flight departments do not yet require it. These operations will place a flight attendant onboard an aircraft as a food server, and does not consider them as part of the working crew. Advocates within the business aviation industry are working hard to require that ALL flight attendants in corporate aviation receive corporate specific training as part of the career. Until that time, it is in your best interest to procure training on your own if a corporate flight department does not offer it. This will make you much more marketable to those companies who only utilize corporate specific trained flight attendants. You should have as much "current" business aviation and industry training as possible. This would include the following:

Corporate specific emergency and first aid training.
General corporate aviation training classes
Service training classes
Culinary training classes

Having as much industry training as possible will allow you to act professionally within this specialized venue of aviation should an emergency arise as well as creating an industry respect from the professionals in corporate /business aviation. Some of the training companies include:

Susan Friedenberg Corporate Flight Attendant Training
FlightSafety International
MedAire, Inc.
Survival Systems Training, Inc.
FACTS Training

You will find an extensive listing of training sources in the Appendix of The Flight Attendant Job Finder & Career Guide by Tim Kirkwood, available from

Contract flying is some of the hardest flying you will ever do. It is without a doubt the most difficult area of flying for many reasons and the most rewarding for the same reasons! On a daily basis you find yourself interfacing within many diversified corporate cultures and the various personalities of many corporate flight departments. You must work with, and keep happy on every trip that you fly: The CEO, their corporate and personal family, the aviation manager, chief pilot, chief flight attendant, dispatcher, chief scheduler, chief of maintenance, the FBO staff and caterers. In Corporate flying, even more so than Commercial flying, you are a vital part of the team. It is in the best interest of your company and clients for you to be highly trained and prepared as possible. In Mr. Kirkwood's book you will also find listings of various training and fraternal organizations to assist you in pursuing this growing and exciting facet of the Flight Attendant Career.

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