Lidia is one of our trainees. A beautiful woman, discreet, with a finesse that you can observe from the first time when you interact with her. We talked to her about the corporate flight attendant job, a job that she loves and represent with grace and professionalism.
- Why did you decide to become a Corporate Flight Attendant, Lidia?
After 5 years of flying commercial, I decided that the next step to take in order to grow and reach another level of commitment is private aviation.
2. What was your career before corporate aviation and how does that experience help you as a CFA?
Before corporate aviation, I was working for 5 years in commercial aviation, for one of the biggest airlines in the world, Etihad Airways. My extended experience with Etihad helped me to face the new challenges of corporate aviation: knowing already what means excellent customer service and cultural awareness, learning about the food, the time zones, and what aviation is all about. Just because I was flying before was a very important step in adapting myself to the world of corporate aviation.
3. What are the main differences between commercial and corporate flight attendant jobs?
On one side, working as a flight attendant in the commercial aviation industry is challenging: you have colleagues from different countries, different nationalities, and religions, and you are flying wide-body aircraft( in my case, most of the time I was flying on the Airbus A380), which means a lot of people and a lot of work. Regarding this, you need to be very disciplined, organized and always respect the procedures, to be in a good relationship with your colleagues, otherwise, the flight can be very difficult. Commercial aviation means a lot of teamwork and divided responsibility.
On the other side, corporate aviation comes with other challenges: you are flying solo, and you are in charge of everything on board the private jet: catering, cleaning, organizing everything, and delivering perfect service to the guests and an unforgettable flying experience.
4. Could you please give us a CFA job description?
The CFA job is beautiful and challenging at the same time. As I mentioned, you are on your own and you are in charge of everything. Your job is to make everything look perfect and to deliver the best experience for your guests. Starting with the order for catering and ending after landing with cleaning the aircraft, everything should be perfect. It is your responsibility to make each and every flight a unique experience for your guests. It is a rewarding and challenging job.
5. What is it like to be a CFA? What are the key responsibilities of corporate flight attendants?
Being a CFA comes with big responsibilities: you need to be very organized, find the best way to make things work, and be really open to changes because you don’t have a roster as in commercial aviation. You need to learn to bring something new on each flight and to leave a remarkable experience for your guests. The golden rule is discretion and flexibility.
6. How did the passenger profile differ?
If in commercial aviation your passengers are normal people with normal expectations. In corporate aviation, your passengers are businessmen, millionaires, actors, heads of State or government, and people with different personalities and different needs, who want to be treated the best way possible.
The products available for them are unique: starting with the flowers, the hand soap, and ending with the finest drinks, everything is tailored to their profile. Their in-flight experience should be unique, that’s why you have to bring something new all the time.
7. What was your favorite in-air experience?
I don’t have a favorite in-air experience. I think each and every flight is unique and I feel very happy and accomplished when, at the end of the flight, I receive thanks and smiles. It makes me feel that I did a good job and they enjoyed all my work.
8. Do you have a routine for your layovers? How do you create consistency in an ever-changing job environment(schedule, timezones, etc)?
On my layovers, I never skip breakfast and the workout. It’s very important for me to keep a routine: if I have time, I walk to discover places and to feel the culture of the city. Sleep is very important as well, and in all these years, I learned one very important thing: to listen to my body. In my opinion, being an organized person, you maintain a level of consistency in such a challenging industry.
9. Tips on how to become a CFA
If I will look back at my career I would say that you have to know what you want and follow your dreams. If you work on your dreams, you will achieve them. I know it is a cliche, but it’s true. Working on your dreams means investing in yourself: take some private aviation courses, wine courses, and even cooking or plating courses. More information will bring you closer to achieving what you want.
10. How did the training for private jets differ from airline training?
The training is totally different. We are talking about working with 200-300 guests and working with less than 15. It’s quite challenging.
In order to be prepared for private aviation, I took part in a private aviation course which helped me a lot: to see the big picture, to understand what to expect and what they want from you. To be professional, get professional training. Is what I did.
I took the VIP Corporate Flight Attendant training in Bucharest, Romania, and I learned from the best in the industry.
I learned so much during this course, from how to deliver the best customer service to the clients, the WOW experience, culinary techniques, tips and tricks on how to be efficient, and quick, all about gourmet foods, all about wine, and champagne, and the pairing with food, to safety food and pet-etiquette.
It is a very complete and complex course. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to become a corporate flight attendant.
11. What you should know about the interview?
For the interview, you have to be prepared to impress the recruiter. You must be aware of all your knowledge and on the interview day, you just have to show that you know what is all about in private aviation: from service, catering, fine foods, fine drinks, guest expectations, and your commitment regarding all of these.
12. What is one of your favorite sayings or quotes that guides your life?
“Travel the world outside to find the world inside”.
13. Which would you recommend to others? Airline or private jets?
It is the first job, I would recommend starting with an airline for some experience of flying and after that switching to private jets.
I will recommend them to get an EASA Attestation, in order to land easily a job as a cabin crew and to attend this VIP course if they want to land a job as a corporate flight attendant.