Many commercial flight attendants are facing the fear of furlough. It’s not even a fear for some, but inevitable. By October 2020, a mass number of airline flight attendants will need to find another option of employment. Due to this, the idea of becoming a corporate flight attendant is more appealing than ever for many commercial flight attendants. Unfortunately, the timing to break into private aviation is dismal, at best. For commercial flight attendants who hope to gather advice about how to become a corporate flight attendant after furlough, I’m sorry to say that the truth is, “Get in line.”
Many experienced corporate flight attendants, who have already paid their dues and are more qualified than you, are currently looking for jobs. A high number of experienced corporate flight attendants lost their jobs when economies were shutdown and people stopped traveling. Although general aviation won’t be impacted as deeply as commercial aviation has, I don’t think there has ever been a worse time to show your pretty little face in private aviation. It’s not the time to become a corporate flight attendant, but is it ever? The industry will always be competitive and saturated with overqualified professionals. This week, I had a little epiphany in regards to commercial flight attendants becoming corporate flight attendants, and it’s simply this: “Fuck what everyone else says about what you can and can’t do; will and won’t accomplish. If you are willing to do the work, know it’s tough, feel this career is for you, I won’t be the one to stop you. I’m simply here to inform you and share some insight into the transition to private aviation. I hope it gives you hope if you really do want to become a corporate flight attendant.”
For your transition to corporate aviation, you will first need a strong network and sound mentorship. I don’t know where and how you will find this as my mentors came as if by miracle-God-send. Be savvy in your research, picky in your “tribe,” and determined in your goal. I wouldn’t be surprised if your transition to corporate aviation, to the point where you have a fully sustainable and consistent career, takes you at LEAST 1 year. In the current environment, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took you up to 3 years to create this career for yourself. You will need a strong support system and guidance as you navigate the challenge of becoming a corporate flight attendant.
My general advice for commercial flight attendants is NOT to transition to corporate aviation, and this is because there is a complete lack of understanding to how different the roles are. When I initially transitioned from working for the airlines to flying on private jet flights, I couldn’t understand why my background as a commercial flight attendant felt like a liability. What I learned (quite quickly) was that commercial flight attendants have a negative stereotype in private aviation circles. Many hiring managers, pilots, and lead corporate flight attendants think that commercial flight attendants are lazy and don’t have the transferrable skills needed to succeed in corporate aviation. From my perspective, from someone who has worked in both commercial and corporate, I can understand this stereotype but I also think it’s bullshit, and frankly, it pisses me off. Some commercial flight attendants don’t have the motivation to push past the many roadblocks that will be faced when changing careers, but some do. Your success in life has more to do with what you really want for yourself and how hard you are willing to work for it than what a resume says.
So, who are you? Are you someone looking for a free ride or are you willing to take on a challenge? Who do you want to become? What is it about being a corporate flight attendant that appeals to you? Is it that you just need a job? Is that you want the income earning potential? Is it you have no fucking idea what else to do with your life and think that commercial to corporate is a natural career progression? Do you want to keep traveling? What are your motivations, strengths, loves, goals, vision for your life? The more clarity you have regarding who you are and who you want to become— the better prepared you will be for the next chapter of life.
The second important aspect that you will need to transition from being a commercial flight attendant to corporate flight attendant is the proper training. You will need a training from FlightSaftey or FACTs. These initial trainings cost around $5000. Every 1-2 years you are required, as a corporate flight attendant, to attend a recurrent training which is about $3000. If you have a full-time job, your company will cover this expense. If you are a contractor like myself, this is an expense you incur every single year, to two years, if you want to continue to be crewed on flights.
In addition to required safety trainings, I would recommend that you find culinary, butler, and service training courses to help you expand your knowledge in fine dining and hospitality. Granted, much is different at the moment due to how the pandemic has shifted the work environment, but regardless, training is important for your career.Flightess.com has many resources available, and her website will offer insight into a Corporate Flight Attendant’s ‘office life.’
Much regarding the corporate aviation industry is truly ‘influx’ at the moment. I feel like I can’t speak to what it would be like trying to break into the industry right now, as events have turned to virtual and the key of “networking,” which is often what a corporate flight attendant’s success is built upon, has changed. The economy is terrible, private aviation is more competitive than ever, timing is not the best, but I’m coming to the conclusion— “So what?” So what if everything and everyone stands in your way? You might as well stand up to the challenge while you are alive to do so. If the uncertainty and challenges of 2020 have taught you one thing, it’s that I hope you realize how precious life is and go for what you want while you have the breath, energy, health, and resources to make it happen.
The third important thing you need to remember as a commercial flight attendant transitioning into corporate aviation is that being a corporate flight attendant is absolutely not what you think it is. You can’t just roll up to the flight, as a corporate flight attendant, and all the details are taken care of for you. You don’t have a team around you, a team of other flight attendants. It’s just you. Often your layover isn’t “yours” because you have to run around prepping for the flight. I believe it is a natural thought process when you are a commercial flight attendant to be curious about private aviation, but you’re going to realize that there is very little that is the same between commercial cabin work and corporate cabin attending.
When I was a commercial flight attendant looking at leaving the company I was with for something new, I thought corporate aviation would be a natural transition. I didn’t have that right at all, and although I’ve succeeded, it didn’t come without a struggle. It won’t happen for your without a struggle, either. It’s easy to think that when the careers share the same title, “Flight Attendant,” the job duties and days will be similar. I believe that being a yacht stewardess is more transferrable to a corporate flight attendant role than that of a commercial flight attendant. I’m not saying go become a yacht stewardess. I’m just saying— please whatever you do, take some time to research what you are up against before thinking someone owes you a private jet job simply because you have ten years of commercial aviation experience.
I can only imagine how heartbreaking the space you are in as a commercial flight attendant, but I want to encourage you to evaluate all of your options. Those options could extend beyond the aviation industry entirely. I would not attempt to try to get into private aviation right now if I were you, but funny about that— I’m not you. As they say, “You do you, Boo.” So, look at your options and know it’s going to be tough if being a corporate flight attendant is truly what you want.
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.