Interview with Vera: The life of a Corporate Flight Attendant
After having several jobs in diverse domains during the period she attended the Law University, Vera did not settle only with a Law degree, so she oriented her career towards the National Institute of Magistracy. However, her first flight decided her further career in aviation.
When you had your first flight, was it as a passenger or as Cabin Crew?
At the end of my faculty I rewarded myself with a gift: a trip to Madrid. That was the moment when all my goals had changed. As I was in the airplane for the first time and as I kept on seeing the Crew, I knew immediately that my decision of becoming a Flight Attendant was already made. I didn’t wish to be a Cabin Crew from a young age, this first flight experience also made me see and appreciate the beautiful part of the Aviation Industry. My vacation was not just a vacation anymore, and my days were not peaceful anymore till I hadn’t returned to Romania. So, in just a month after my return back home I was already registered for a cabin crew course.
How did you feel when you participated for the first time at an interview, what tasks did you have to pass?
Although I was working as an Assistant Manager at a gas and oil company, I announced my superiors that I intend to resign for the job of Cabin Crew, but they made me an offer to fly on the private jet of the company I was working for. In my case I can say that it was 90% luck because I had the position of VIP private jet flight attendant at the age of 26 without any prior experience in private aviation. However, I, of course, had to pass a series of procedures and tests, including equipment and aeronautic medicine.
What kind of training did you follow in order to become VIP Cabin Crew, where and how long it took?
I followed specialized courses in Customer service domain, a course for the type of airplane I was going to fly on – Cessna Citation Sovereign 680- at Anvers, Belgium, and both I and the pilots had an instructor that was a former Commander on Air Force One for six months. My first flight on a private jet was a mix of emotions, incredible joy, fear and a big challenge.
How many years did you work for the private company and where did you have the base?
I worked 2 years for Flying Group Luxemburg and I had the base in Bucharest, my hometown.
How is the atmosphere in a private jet company, comparing with what you know from your colleagues in the commercial airlines?
The atmosphere in a private jet company is very unique, demanding, but full of advantages. The role of a Corporate Flight Attendant is somehow different, you have different responsibilities, here you have to put a greater accent on the service on board, presentation, product personalization, creativity and be extremely careful to details.
Having almost the same passengers, they made us feel like we were part of their family, they invited the entire crew to dinner in the destination we had, and we participated at their birthdays also. With the occasion of Christmas or Easter holidays we were waiting for them with a basket full of goodies at the airplane stairs and little presents for all the passengers. I was lucky and I worked hard to keep this “luck” with me.
What were your duties on private flights?
The responsibilities of a Corporate Flight Attendant are similar with the ones on a commercial line, but, due to the fact that there is only one Cabin Crew in the airplane, we have to replenish the airplane, to make the menus and a list with each passenger preferences, to go shopping for the passengers in the cities we landed or to order catering. The cleaning team wasn’t allowed to enter the jet, so this responsibility was also ours.
Having the same guests, it was wonderful for us, Flight Attendants, because you arrived at a point where you knew all the culinary preferences, I knew when is the moment to offer a glass of water and step by step we arrived at a point where it was only necessary to look in the eyes and we already knew what they wanted. In private aviation you must know when to appear and when to stay out of sight. I had the immense honour to have as guests state presidents, ambassadors and business men from all over the world, all of them with an exceptional character. I lived unforgettable experiences and I gathered so many beautiful memories. The responsibility I and the whole crew had was to offer them a 5* safe and comfort experience, 5* service and, especially, 5* discretion.
Do you think that a VIP crew is paid more than one at a commercial line?
The satisfactions of a VIP Cabin Crew depend on the level of your devotement, responsibilities and services offered, so I had the joy of seeing the most beautiful cities in the world, to be accommodated at 5* hotels with a chauffeur and a car at the disposal of the Crew any minute we were in another city other than the home base. The financial satisfaction is a very important aspect, is at least 2 times higher than the one at a commercial line (in my case). The biggest satisfaction is that I had the opportunity to meet so many great humans that have all gained my admiration and respect, and with some of them I even became very good friends.
Is a VIP Flight Attendant career only for women?
I consider that the job of a VIP Flight Attendant it suits not only women, but also men who desire a career in this world of luxury and full of satisfaction: the aviation world. I can say this from my experience because I often met with a colleague of mine that was VIP Flight Attendant for a private jet with whom I always made the joke that the airplane is not parked well due to the fact that the red carpet wasn’t long enough to arrive ‘till the boarding gate! I know that he worked before as a waiter for a cruise ship. After he entered the world of aviation, the passengers were asking for him as a flight attendant on their flights, alongside with two other girls, because he had such a delicacy and beautiful attitude in his service that was very appreciated by the passengers.
What are your future plans?
I didn’t make any plan, yet. I always trust my intuition. Sure, I desire to continue my career in aviation and at the same time I think about my personal life alongside my family. My experience was so wonderful and I dare to say a little unusual for aviation. There can be exceptions anytime, the most important thing is to wish for them and to wait, because they will come sooner or later.