In private aviation there really is no such thing as a typical day due to the flexible and sometimes unpredictable nature of the industry. For the Corporate Flight Attendant the working day can be very busy and sometimes the hours can be exceptionally long.
In this series of articles I wanted to delve a little deeper into what a working day may resemble for anybody considering a move into the industry, or who is just curious. The first article focuses on the planning and pre-flight aspect.
A working day generally starts when you are notified of a trip, if you are lucky you will have some advanced notice, perhaps anything from a couple of days to 24 hours and have time to get organised.
For Flight Attendants working for a charter operator or who have rapid call-outs notification could be anything from 2-4 hours before a trip, it literally is a mad dash to get the airport and organise the catering. Sometimes the only option is to order whilst en route. Some passengers may request catering specifics, which can be helpful however these requests sometimes can be questionable. A recent example being a 40 minute flight with six passengers who had requested nothing short of a banquet feast. The Flight Attendant had to figure how best to organise the catering and serve it in that timescale, whilst still giving that 5 star service and have the cabin secured for landing.
When it comes to trip planning it is essentially like a jig saw puzzle, there are many aspects to consider: Where are you going, the flight time, time of departure, passenger load, aircraft type, passenger requests, is it a night flight, do you need beds making or loading on-board the aircraft? Do you have children on-board, what is available down route for catering, will you need to bring anything specific with you? Is there a time difference, going Eastbound from Europe with a short ground time may require planning for the return. Is it an under developed country where catering quality is questionable? Do you know your passengers; are there any religious considerations? (This list is not exhaustive there are many more points to consider)
There may be items to replace on-board, perhaps there’s a special request, laundry and flowers to collect. The trip could be lengthy and specific items the passengers like are not available down route and would need loading prior to departure.
Once in receipt of the details the Flight Attendant can plan their trip, menus and order their catering from an executive jet caterer, hotel, restaurant. They may make a dash to a high-end supermarket or food hall if the aircraft operator or owner has imposed a catering budget.
As you see there can be a lot of ‘running around’ on the day or the day before a flight before even getting to the airport. If then you factor in driving yourself it really does add to the fun. Here in the UK for example for the London based Flight Attendants have the pleasure of circumnavigating the M25 or M1 motorways, both can be a bit of an enigma at the best of times.
Part two of this article will be continued in the next issue of Estate & Manor Magazine