Working in the VIP or corporate sector and particularly in private jets is an exciting and rewarding career. Private jets are sometimes owned by VIPs or owned by a corporate operator. The owner may be a high flying tycoon, a celebrity or a politician or a VIP family. You may work on a state of the art Global Express or Gulfstream G650, or something like a Boeing Business Jet fitted out to a VIP configuration with just a handful of VIPs. It is an unusual job as you are the chef/personal assistant/safety specialist/waitress and cleaner – so there is never a dull moment.
Standby to Boarding
You start on standby and await the call, then it is all systems go – you have to arrange your catering for the flight and get to the aircraft at least 2 hours before take-off, to prepare it. Once there and you have checked the safety equipment and you have packed all your catering on to the aircraft, you must prepare the cabin and dress it with flowers as well as providing canapés, a welcome drink and newspapers and magazines. Only the finest glassware, linens and tableware are used and everything must be immaculately cleaned and presented.
Once the VIPs arrive, a cabin check is done for safety and reported to the flight crew – time to take your seat for take off! As soon as it is safe and we are in the cruise level, we provide a personalised menu and find out what the VIPs would like to eat and drink and if there are any other requirements - they may want a bed made up or to watch a particular film. Protocol and cultural rules must be followed as appropriate. In the galley, we cook meals to 5 star restaurant standard and they must be presented beautifully. Once ready, we commence silver service and serve up to 6 courses, as requested, this could include things like caviar service but a fine dining experience is a must.
Before and After Landing
Then it is time to make sure the flight crew are happy and prepare meals for them and start to clean the dishes and galley – time management is of the essence! We also need to be conscious of safety at all times and know what to do in an emergency situation or if someone requires medical assistance. We prepare the cabin again, this time for landing and inform our flight crew. Once landed, we say goodbye to our VIPs and then start to clean the cabin and prepare for the next trip – it must be ready to leave again as soon as possible.
After the Flight
The VIP flight attendant’s work is never done and once we are back at the hotel, it is time to take in the aircraft laundry, prepare the next menu and catering order and possibly speak with the chef. On the ground, we still have other duties to do including restocking the aircraft amenities and buying special items like fine wines or luxury toiletries, before our time is our own.
All in all, it is a very challenging and interesting job and great for cabin crew who want to still fly but change their role. It is very demanding work being mostly on standby and very long hours – if a VIP is not on time you wait until they are ready to leave whether they are 2 hours late or 20! You may also see rare corners of the earth you never knew existed, everywhere from Timbuktu to Tajikistan. If you ever get the chance it is hard work but well worth the experience.
So what do you think of this career option? Would you like to pursue it? If so, what are your reasons? Please comment.