In the past years, countless commercial cabin crews have asked the age-old question: How can I move into private aviation? They have lived the airline experience, moved up in the ranks as high as possible and are now eager to expand their horizons even further by transitioning to a VIP operator.
The perks offered by a VIP cabin crew role tempt even the most airline-loyal commercial crews and include:
- Up to 100% higher monthly income (most VIP cabin crew take home over $70,000 per year)
- Up to 50% more time off than commercial cabin crew (possibly up to 70% if working on rotation basis)
- More free tickets to the crew’s home country (for rotation-based contracts)
- The privilege of working for/with some of the world’s highest ranking individuals (celebrities, royal family members, etc.)
- Traveling to more remote, unique destinations with longer lay-overs (sometimes weeks-long)
The environment is different, the passenger load is less, the glamour factor is actually real and our aircrafts fly farther, faster and higher, literally.
When you consider the financial rewards alone, everybody wants in. It isn’t unheard of that crew take home not only their monthly income but also substantial signs of appreciation from their more generous VIPs. On the flip side, the employers’ expectations are high, the recruiters are extremely selective and the difficulty to break through these barriers is real.
So how do you get there? How do u break into the highly lucrative, very prestigious field of VIP aviation?
The general requirements are:
- Up to 35 years of age
- Minimum height 165 cm and weight in proportion with height
- Previous VIP experience
- Strong knowledge of official protocols when dealing with HNWI (heads of state, royal family members, celebrities, etc.)
- Impeccable portfolio (CV and photos)
- Impeccably groomed
- Very discreet person
- Complete flexibility
- Creativity and personal accountability
- Highly developed organizational skills
Some of the requirements are set in stone (e.g. personal presentation and demeanor, discretion, height/weight, etc.) however some might leave room for compromise between the recruiters and the applicants (yourself).
When it comes to experience however, if nobody hires you, how are you going to gain that experience?
First you have to remember that every VIP cabin crew was once a commercial airline cabin crew. The industry is open for anybody who’s ambitious enough to pursue it. Getting into the private aviation sector takes a whole lot of individual study, a good network to expose your portfolio through and a little bit of luck. According to statistics, 1 in 100 cabin crew applying for a role with a VIP operator actually end up getting the job. Staying updated with all the active job offers as well as knowing the exact requirements for each is essential to sending your application out and through the right channels.
Invest in your industry-relevant knowledge as much as possible so you can appear in front of recruiters with 100% confidence. This will not only show a great deal of initiative and determination on your side, but the recruiters will be happy to be presented with a ready-to-go candidate like yourself that needs little to no time dedicated to ground and on-the-job training.
Follow up with the current vacancies and apply consistently.
Expand your network and try getting in touch with cabin crew that are active in the field and might be willing to give you additional insight on how to present yourself at the interview.