Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel https://flightattendantlife.com A Flight Attendant blog inviting you to step into a world unlike any other Wed, 15 Sep 2021 23:06:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://flightattendantlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/cropped-flight_attendant_life-favicon-32x32.png Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel https://flightattendantlife.com 32 32 THE NAME GAME – Part 3: The Rise of Misinformation for Cabin Safety Training – CFR Part 142 and the G550EC https://flightattendantlife.com/part3privateaviationtrainingvendor/ Wed, 15 Sep 2021 23:04:52 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20922 Corporate Flight Attendant and consultant, Scott D. Arnold peels back the layers in cabin safety training.

The post THE NAME GAME – Part 3: The Rise of Misinformation for Cabin Safety Training – CFR Part 142 and the G550EC first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Part of the Name Game series on Corporate Flight Attendant Cabin Safety Training.

READ PART 1

READ PART 2

By Scott D. Arnold

My previous blog, The Name Game – Cabin Safety Training Branding, initiated a significant number of private messages and emails regarding the subject matter. Mainly, because there is way too much inconsistent and inaccurate information shared regarding cabin safety training. This misinformation affects all corporate flight attendants.  

Therefore, I’m “peeling back some of the layers in the cabin safety training onion.” In this blog, I’ll be providing some checks and balances and clarifications— based on FACTUAL documentation (FARs) and not my opinion.  I know, I know – yes, I am going to be reciting regulations and yes, you can insert a yawn right now. Even the best of the best trainers cannot make regulations exciting and enticing.  With that said, pour some java or a red bull and let’s get to it because this is important! 

The two layers I am revealing here are; the CFR Part 142 Training Center claim and the Gulfstream G550 Evacuation Crewmember (G550EC) certification.

The CFR PART 142 Ruse

Training vendors who are grandstanding this FAA approval as a testament as to why their cabin safety training should take precedence over the other vendors is in fact – a ruse. By stating CFR Part 142, they are insinuating if you attend their cabin safety program, you are being trained by an FAA-certified and approved program. That’s a stretch and they’re assuming cabin crew will view it as a ‘shiny diamond’ instead of knowing what this regulation actually means. It’s a strategic ploy to overshadow competitors, who cannot hold a CFR Part 142 certification. Guess what? THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CABIN SAFETY ACCREDITATION! 

I see all too often comments on social media, “You need to attend ________ (I’m sure you all can fill in this blank) because they are an approved Part 142 facility and ____________ (insert any other vendor here) are not.” 

The surprising thing to me, it’s not just the company sales and marketing representatives who state this ruse. It’s also instructors and students (because why would they doubt their instructors?). As a cabin safety “subject matter expert,” I made it a point to actually read the regulations before I taught them. I don’t know about you but if I’m being instructed by a trainer who is misinterpreting regulations… I’m going to raise my hand in class and call BS. 

So what exactly is CFR Part 142? Let’s quote the reg right from the FAA CFR/FAR Manual, shall we?  

“14 CFR/FAR Part 142 permits a certificated training center or flight center, to use approved flight simulation training devices (FSTD) and aircraft in conjunction with approved curricula, qualify instructors, and evaluators to accomplish airman training and testing.”  

Airman = Pilots!  Which means these vendors are conducting cabin safety training in a facility that is FAA approved HOWEVER, this Part 142 approval has NOTHING to do with cabin safety training and has everything to do with airman certifications – aka flight simulators (flying the plane) and not cabin trainer mockups. 

The reality check: The “two gold standards” actually are both CFR Part 142. You read that correctly – both.  Yet, many shout this claim for one vendor from the rafters. While the other does not. I’m assuming the other doesn’t because they read the regs. There is also a third vendor who also claims they are CFR Part 142. This reach is so far out there, I would literally dislocate my shoulder trying to obtain it. 

You shouldn’t be selecting training vendors because of their Part 142 claim, as it doesn’t apply to the validity of the cabin safety courseware. You should be selecting a vendor on quality of content, merit, recognition, and acceptance. 

The G550 EC

Are you Gulfstream G550 Evacuation Crewmember Trained (G550EC)? 

Are you aware the G550EC is a mandatory regulatory requirement if carrying more than 10 passengers on a G550, no matter what type of operation: private or charter?

  • Are you aware your standard cabin safety training is not sufficient for G550EC?  
  • Did your training vendor certify you as a G550EC?
  • Are you aware this is a recurrent required training?
  • Is your training vendor capable of certifying you as a G550EC? 

Even though a vendor offers G550EC, you most likely have to specifically request it as it’s often an add-on and not included in the standard course curriculum. If you are flying for a private owner on any other aircraft type, then of course this is not needed. If you are an independent contractor, you should be G550EC certified! If you fly on a G550, you definitely should be certified. Period.

The two “gold standard” vendors provide G550EC. There are several other training vendors who feature G550EC Training in their course curriculums. However, just because it’s listed on their website, doesn’t make it true. I will never name names or make any assumptions in a public forum.  The omission of naming names by no means implies they are incapable of providing the G550EC certification. This omission also doesn’t imply they are capable. 

I recently reviewed five of the “other” training vendor’s cabin safety course curriculums featured on their websites. This was quite interesting. 

The results below are in random order… and no, they are not listed in alphabetical order for the savvy:

  • Vendor 1: G550EC not listed
  • Vendor 2: G550EC listed  – but I know for a fact, they do not meet the training requirements because I have audited this vendor – twice.
  • Vendor 3: G550EC not listed
  • Vendor 4: G550EC listed – CONFIRMED based on a conducted site tour. 
  • Vendor 5: G550EC listed – along with this statement, “… training meets most of the recurrent FAA requirements for the G550 evacuation crew member…”

“Meets most”? What does that even mean? They may very well provide everything required along with some additional hands-on with a real G550 (which is acceptable), but this statement is very vague (so I have no idea).

Below is the excerpt of the training requirements for G550EC taken directly from Gulfstream’s OMS (Operating Manual Supplement) G550 Evacuation Crewmember Training Manual (56 total pages). All of these must be met by the training vendor in order to provide G550EC along with the 10 question exam, which is included the OMS. 

 – – – – – –

Each training program must provide emergency training for each aircraft configuration (i.e., training for directing passenger flow and illustrate the recommended method for evacuating through the elliptical exits for the various interior configurations. Passenger Flow and Passenger Briefing sections) and each kind of operation conducted.

Emergency training must provide the following:

A. Instruction in emergency assignments and procedures, including coordination among crewmembers;

B. Individual instruction in the location, function, and operation of emergency equipment used in evacuation; and

C. Instruction in the handling of emergency situations including evacuation.

For initial and recurrent training, each evacuation crewmember must perform at least the following emergency drills using a representative Gulfstream aircraft or cabin mockup training device which has the Gulfstream elliptical exits installed:

Specific interior configuration training that provides the recommended methods for evacuating through the Gulfstream elliptical exits for the specific interior configuration(s) for which operation is desired (see Passenger Briefing section) must be provided (i.e., divan, credenza and single/club seating configurations. Training for the specific interior configuration(s) may be provided through the use of a video-tape which would provide egress information similar to that provided in the Passenger Briefing section or by conducting an actual egress on an aircraft outfitted with that specific interior along with the other training required herein.

Operation and use of Gulfstream elliptical exits. Training must include personal experience in opening and egressing through an elliptical exit on either a representative Gulfstream aircraft or a cabin mockup training device that has the Gulfstream elliptical exits installed. (Note: The exit used for this egress exercise must latch the same, open the same, and be similar in weight to that of a G500 aircraft exit).

This must be conducted with a minimum of five (5) “passengers” other than the trainee (crewmember training classmates may be used for this activity). At least one of these individuals must simulate or represent a person who does not fit through, or is otherwise incapable of utilizing, the Gulfstream elliptical exit.

 – – – – 

G550EC SUMMARY:

  • “Exits” – plural – meaning more than one elliptical overwing exit for training.
  • Must be conducted with a minimum of five “passengers” – so if the class is small, do they rally up other people to portray the “passengers” so you are evacuating a minimum of five? 
  • The exit must become blocked during the scenario and a redirect of the remaining “passengers” is required.
  • Must be conducted on a Gulfstream aircraft or mock up configured with the various seating configurations – divan, credenza, conference table, etc.
  • Hands-on opening exits – No pretending.

G550EC Exam (10 questions)

Did your training vendor conduct these scenarios and have the proper training mock up equipment and/or audio visual in order to meet the FAA and Gulfstream mandatory training requirements to provide G550EC? Did you have G550 specific questions on your final exam? Or did you take the G550 10 question exam? Do they even provide a final exam? 

If a vendor is truly invested in providing quality cabin safety training, why wouldn’t they provide the only FAA mandated certification that applies to corporate flight attendants?  The G550 is a very popular and heavily used business jet, as there are over 500 actively flying. If they say anything to the contrary as to why it’s not necessary, I already stated the fact of why it is very important training AND REQUIRED. 

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU: The CFA Connection

If you are unfamiliar with why G550EC is required and the training criteria. We have provided an AIN article from 2008 when it rolled out. It doesn’t explain all of the why’s but you’ll get the gist of it. There is also an excerpt from the G550 OMS Manual stating all of the training mandates and requirements. Both documents are available to download and featured in the G550 EC section of this resource page.

YES, VET YOUR CABIN SAFETY TRAINING VENDORS!

All cabin safety training vendors should be complying with established best practices and training guidelines set by FAR135 rules and regulations. Hopefully, the curriculum they provide matches the criteria (since there is no governing oversight). 

If they are not providing or incapable of providing the G550EC, which is required training you either: Cannot fly on this popular aircraft (and as an independent contractor, it’s difficult to avoid) -or- you now have to spend even more of your hard-earned money to acquire this certification because of the vendor’s shortcomings— something to consider. Actually, not should – you need to consider. 

SUMMARY

As I stated, do they or don’t they? I don’t know because I haven’t audited or attended most of these vendors. I am fairly confident I won’t be receiving any invitations to audit their programs any time soon.  

  • Without oversight and accountability  >  liberties are taken
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  interpretations vary
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  cabin safety training is more like “cabin safety lite”
  • Without oversight and accountability  >  CFA’s will never receive the accreditation we deserve

Therefore, it’s up to you (us), not only as professional corporate crew but also as savvy consumers willing to challenge them in the Name Game. If we want to maintain the importance of cabin safety standards and the justification of the third crew member, then WE need to align for the betterment of our career recognition. We should demand that these training vendors do better. Be better. Because they need to up their game – all of them!

Business Aviation is one of the safest modes of transportation, without question. Are some of these vendors betting on this stellar statistic?  No accidents = No accountability?

I certainly don’t wish for a G550 accident to prove my point.  Are you willing to take that risk of proving my point?

The post THE NAME GAME – Part 3: The Rise of Misinformation for Cabin Safety Training – CFR Part 142 and the G550EC first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
The Name Game: CABIN SAFETY TRAINING BRANDING IN BUSINESS AVIATION https://flightattendantlife.com/corporateflightattendanttraining/ Fri, 10 Sep 2021 23:37:11 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20915 The stigmas from over-branding yourself with a training vendor’s identity and stating you are “certified” By Scott D. Arnold; Sājet Solutions In my previous blog, The Name Game for Business Aviation Cabin Crew, I discussed what we are titled and why. To quickly summarize, it really doesn’t matter what you are called or how you […]

The post The Name Game: CABIN SAFETY TRAINING BRANDING IN BUSINESS AVIATION first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
The stigmas from over-branding yourself with a training vendor’s identity and stating you are “certified”

By Scott D. Arnold; Sājet Solutions

In my previous blog, The Name Game for Business Aviation Cabin Crew, I discussed what we are titled and why. To quickly summarize, it really doesn’t matter what you are called or how you title yourself. What matters is; are you featuring your title in a productive or counterproductive manner while representing your brand as a Corporate Flight Attendant, on your resume and social media?

Over the years, I have seen many discussions on forums regarding training vendors and “certification.”  These threads typically become contentious and never produce any proactive or accurate outcomes. These “missteps” by cabin crew are becoming more prevalent therefore, I am diving deep and bringing these points of contention to the surface, and discussing them in a non-biased manner.

Let’s get to it! …

USING “CERTIFIED” IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE

Are Corporate Flight Attendants (or whatever you are titled) “certified” after being cabin safety trained? In the USA, if you are referring to being “FAA certified” by attending a training vendor program, such as Aircare FACTS Training or FlightSafety International, to become a corporate flight attendant – then no, you are not “FAA Certified.”

There are a few training vendors who use the certified terminology, stating you are “certified by <insert company name>.”  In this case, the use of “certified” is per their program, product, and is basically a stamp of their own self-accredited approval, which is fine. However, this type of training vendor accreditation means nothing in the regulatory world.  It only means you have been certified to the company’s program and standards. In short, you are certified by the training vendor – not by the FAA, or any other governing rule.

Side Note: there are some private aviation companies that actually have certified cabin crew because they took the tedious steps to accomplish this.  I have actually assisted a few operations with being FAA certified and successfully passing their proving runs.  These types of operations are very rare but they do exist and are just another hidden layer within our diversified industry. The same goes for the FAA Certification card some of us CFA’s carry. CFA’s have these cards because they are/were with a commercial airline, or were part of a certification process like previously mentioned.  

I plan on discussing all of the global regulatory standards for business aviation cabin safety training per FAA, CAR’s, ICAO, EU/EU OPs, EASA, Attestation, etc. in future blogs. All of this information for cabin crew (globally) gets very muddled and there is too much inaccurate information out there being shared or misinterpreted. Ok, back to the blog …

CFA’s using “certified” in their title, such as; “certified corporate flight attendant,” is usually flagged by hiring managers and recruiters. To be blunt, using “certified’ incorrectly as part of your title will backfire on your credibility as it displays naivety in this industry.  Instead, you should be accrediting yourself as a “trained corporate flight attendant or cabin attendant.” Trained is a more accurate statement since in fact, you are trained.  

Is there a double-standard when it comes to naming vendors by name in your accredited title? Yes. 

OVER-BRANDING YOURSELF WITH A VENDOR IDENTITY

If you are branding yourself with the vendors name on your resume and social media – I have news for you – you are severely restricting your marketability.  Yes, you were trained by them, maybe mentored, and/or referred to potential clients. Ok, that’s great! Be grateful and say thank you. Once you are trained, you are now the owner of your corporate flight attendant branding – not the vendor.

You attended a training vendor who provided a service. They are not a cult, culture, or a lifestyle for CFA’s. If you graduated from an Ivy league school, you are not titling yourself as the school, you are titling yourself with the degree you achieved – aka “trained corporate flight attendant.”  If this vendor is not recognized or accepted by a flight operation (for whatever reason, and there are many) and you have their name bannered so it’s the first thing a hiring manager or recruiter sees, they will stop reading. Again, they WILL stop reading. Period.  I’m not telling you to omit or hide the vendor’s name from your resume, you should list them under the TRAINING section. The reader needs to know where and when you were trained however, you don’t need to have them credited as a marquis.  

TAKE YOUR PICK BUT CHOOSE WISELY

In the USA, there are several cabin safety training vendors to choose from. If you ask 10 corporate flight attendants who they recommend, you will receive a variety of opinions.  STRONG OPINIONS! Again, let me be crystal clear – there are NO FAA certifications associated with corporate-specific cabin safety training. If a company promotes, they are “FAA certified” and this is influencing your decision, take immediate pause, and move on to the next option as this is a false claim.  There are no exceptions.

You may be swayed or encouraged to brand yourself because the training vendor also provides job leads and/or placement services once you have completed the training, or they are shameless enough to just flat out tell you to do this. Although they may provide these additional services, as an industry “expert,” I can assure you there are still no guarantees you will find success, even with their support.  Completing your training is similar to achieving a degree from a technical school. After graduation, it’s up to you to self-network and market yourself as a trained professional.  Any reputable training vendor will provide guidance, direction, and possibly mentorships – but they won’t insist on tattooing their name on your forehead.

All training providers basically follow the required guidelines for cabin safety training and some do this better than others. Much better. However, you’re still not certified even if you attend one of the ‘much better.’ The quality of training you receive and the all-important industry recognition of the vendor are what differ vastly. So, which training vendors are the best? It’s no secret FlightSafety International (FSI) and Aircare FACTS Training (FACTS) are the top two recognized training vendors. It is also heavily debated within our CFA peer group which of these two is the best. These opinions are purely subjective as they are both considered the “gold standard” of cabin safety training. Why? Because they have been in operation for many years and basically created the standards for business aviation cabin safety. FACTS launched in 1981 when it was still the acronym F.A.C.T.S. (Flight Attendant Cockpit Training Seminars) and held twice a year. FACTS is now Aircare FACTS Training under the parent company Aircare International.  FSI was established in 1951 and launched cabin safety training in 1994. Therefore, they are both well-branded and well-established companies, with solid and respected programs, and are considered equals in the recognition branding game by the majority of flight operations.

Will you face additional hurdles if you choose to attend another training vendor other than Aircare FACTS or FlightSafety? Maybe. The main reason flight departments only accept FACTS and FSI is because for many years, they were the only “game in town.” Therefore, operators structured their ops and procedures manuals stating these two vendors by name as required training. Revising ops manuals to include other training vendors is a tedious step many operators are not willing to take. So, it all comes down to the “name game” due to long-term branding.

The lessor known training vendors tend to be more boutique in design and may offer a new to industry individual more of a one-on-one focused relationship, the much-needed soft skills training bundled with cabin safety, and career support. Is this a perk? Maybe (yes, another maybe). The reality check is: it’s not the quality of the curriculum or training you receive. It’s the recognition and acceptance of the training vendor. This is the caveat. Some of the newer vendors are building momentum and actually have solid curriculums.  Recognition takes time … a long time, especially when competing against the two gold-standards in business aviation.

The double standard I referred to earlier is: If you write, “Aircare FACTS Certified” or “FlightSafety Certified” you most likely will not receive any pushback. If you write any other vendor name along with “certified,” it will likely cause contention. The Name Game is real and because FACTS and FSI have been in business for over 30 years – they get a pass.

The other training vendors may have been able to carve out a small piece of the training pie but the slices for FACTS and FSI will always be gluttonous. This debate can be endless and one thing I have learned in this industry; it doesn’t matter the size of the slice the other vendors serve themselves. It doesn’t matter if the slice tastes sweet or sour. If you are expecting these vendors to equal FACTS and FSI in the Name Game, you have a very long time to wait. “It just is, what it is” because these two gold-standard companies are holding the pie knife, and they always will.

SUMMARY

No matter which training vendor you attend, well-branded or lesser known, there are no guarantees you will find or sustain your success.  As a corporate flight attendant seeking full-time or an independent contractor seeking additional clients, YOU are your best networking and self-marketing asset. Therefore, allow your qualifications, skills, training, professionalism, personality, and experience to showcase your eligibility.

I admit, branding yourself with the training vendor on your resume and social media is very savvy – savvy for the vendor, not for you. You should focus on the most proactive ways to self-market yourself as a professional corporate flight attendant, and let the training, you financed, speak for itself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott began his aviation career in 1988 as a commercial flight attendant, transitioned into business aviation in 2001, is the Founder of The CFA Connection resource platform and Sajet Solutions, former director of a major crew staffing company, and the past Chair NBAA Flight Attendants Committee, and is the Chief Flight Attendant for a private owner.

The post The Name Game: CABIN SAFETY TRAINING BRANDING IN BUSINESS AVIATION first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Shunvaccinated https://flightattendantlife.com/shunvaccinated/ Wed, 28 Jul 2021 15:37:05 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20911 I sit at dinner with acquaintances. For over an hour, a person at the table went on and on about how stupid people are who won’t get vaccinated and, ‘What are they thinking?’ The person continues that, of course, these stupid people are not thinking. They must not have brains. I sip my sparkling water, […]

The post Shunvaccinated first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
I sit at dinner with acquaintances. For over an hour, a person at the table went on and on about how stupid people are who won’t get vaccinated and, ‘What are they thinking?’ The person continues that, of course, these stupid people are not thinking. They must not have brains. I sip my sparkling water, nod, and smile demurely. I’m thankful for my career as a corporate flight attendant that has taught me to hold my tongue and pretend all is perfect. My smile is more of pursed lips and a jaw-clenched grin, but this goes unnoticed in the face science.

As soon as my boyfriend and I get back in the car, my perfect presentation crumbles like a sudden and jolting California earthquake. “I just sat for an hour feeling like a complete idiot because I don’t know what to do!’ Tears stream down my face. It’s just a vaccine, I think to myself. It feels like losing the freedom to choose.

There is so much shame associated with waiting to get a vaccine. Everyone has their opinion and beliefs, founded in science and The New York Times. I’m not a doctor, scientist, or conspiracist. I’m a flight attendant. The year before the pandemic, I made closer to $200,000 in my career— better than most doctors, scientists or conspiracists. After the pandemic, the implications that vaccination has on an aviation career are broad. Financially, it’s crushing. Emotionally, I am torn. Physically, I wonder what would happen if I want children someday. There’s no history to this. No one is liable. 

“It’s like what charter operators did before the pandemic,” my boyfriend reminds me. “Just replace vaccination with: ‘We want a male flight attendant. We want someone young, pretty, etc. etc. Now, it’s ‘We want someone vaccinated.’ I thought I would beat this industry in some way, maybe change it for the better. That was naivety. I’m coming to the realization that, maybe, I’ll always be a pawn in someone else’s chess game in private aviation. It’s 2021, and I’m genuinely tired of playing. I’m looking for full-time, remote writing jobs outside of aviation (if you hear of any, let me know). I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I am not ready to make a decision about my body like this yet. 

I wonder how all of this is constitutional, but what feels more invasive than someone asking about your medical choices, is being told by someone who is like a mom to you, like family, that, “You don’t really have a choice now do you.” I haven’t called her recently or gone see her because I am not accepted or welcomed until I make the choice that is what the majority believes to be right. I wish I knew what was right. I wish I didn’t feel secretly shunned, stupid, or was so stubborn. 

I loved being a flight attendant because it allowed me freedom. There is no freedom in my profession now. I felt a little freedom last week. It was magic, and I was grateful for the reminders of how beautiful being a flight attendant can be. I’ve debated for weeks on writing anything at all. I’d rather just hide and pretend my life makes sense, and I’m making the best decisions. I don’t know if I’m making good decisions. I fucking don’t know. I wish I could just make the decision that was popular, because it sucks to be shunvaccinated.

I think soon, I won’t have a choice anymore. I’m not afraid of the vaccine. I’m also not afraid of illness. I simply don’t care to be forced into anything. If there is one thing I have learned throughout the past year it is that I took freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and freedom to hold a different opinion than the crowd for granted.

Maybe this post will be censored. Maybe you will think differently of me. To both, I’m sorry. I never started a blog to be popular. I started it to be me. I don’t want to travel the world, be a corporate flight attendant, or work on multimillion-dollar planes. I want to be free. I’m still not sure that it’s vaccination and masking up that will get us there. 

The post Shunvaccinated first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
The Expectation [of a flight attendant] https://flightattendantlife.com/flightattendantexpectations/ Mon, 05 Apr 2021 00:03:19 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20891 Expectations are a part of life and a significant part of private aviation. What expectations do you have of 'Flight Attendant Life'

The post The Expectation [of a flight attendant] first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Expectations are a part of life and a significant part of private aviation. Being me comes after being ‘the flight attendant.’ There is an expectation to look a certain way and be a certain thing. Forefront in my mind is that I am hired as a cabin attendant, on this private jet, to deliver a particular experience. Sometimes, that experience has nothing to do with who I am and everything to do with a character I play. We all hold expectations. When a guest books a private jet charter, there is an expectation. When I accept a trip from a private jet operator, I have a set of expectations. When a flight department hires me to look after guests, there is an expectation.

Not all expectations are negative. Some are helpful, wonderful even. Working as cabin crew includes the expectation to ‘see the world’ and travel to beautiful places. Being a flight attendant is a promise to escape the monotony of routine and regular life. Flight Attendant is freedom, glamour, revelry, intrigue, beauty, wonder, magic. At least that’s what the dream sold us…

Beyond the dream is the other side— a career and industry built on sexism, sexuality, and objectification. Defunct PanAm Airways lives on as Emirates, a company that doesn’t hire old or ugly cabin crew. Less than seven years ago a pilot at the private jet company, Vista Jet, told me in very clear terms that I was not pretty enough to be a cabin attendant at that company. Obviously, that comment made an impression on me. It didn’t matter how intelligent, driven, organized, or creative I was. It didn’t matter that I had a great personality or was already an accomplished international cabin crew member with an EASA certification. Not much mattered but my beauty— or lack thereof. 

The word hate is strong, but I hate this industry for this attitude. For its discrimination, sexual harassment, and inequality. I hate it for the superficial, one-sided way it loves you when you are ‘everything right.’ It’s harsh and unforgiving and yet, it’s gorgeous and generous. It gave me the world, and I also choose to be here and play its game. I’ve accepted jobs and then threatened when I asked to be paid what I’m worth. I’ve been told I’ll be blacklisted from trips when I point out questionable treatment. I’ve been hired and not hired based on pictures. It is so incredibly demeaning to realize your value as a person is only as deep as your face. Is flight Attendant a ticket to see the world or am I a marketing tool, a commodity, for someone else’s agenda? (This is not every company or experience in aviation. I only believe that if we talk about being a flight attendant as a dream we must also share its nightmare.)

Nails, skin, hair, makeup. Do I look professional, polished, poised? Will I be a muted version of myself or will I need to be engaged in conversation? And then, only speaking at just the right moments? Will they be kind or cruel? Will this be a trip from straight from hell or one gifted from heaven? Will I ‘get it right?’

Will I ‘get it right?’ may be the most important question, because does it matter how they act if I can act gracefully, artfully, and skillfully? Does it matter if all doesn’t go to plan if I am able to deflect their stress, frustration, or tests of my character into a flight that surpasses their expectation? We all have our expectations — some just higher than others. Working on private jets includes ‘expectation.’ I start thinking about what experience I’ll need to create, what my guests like, and who I’ll need to transform myself into to surpass any and all expectations. The investment required to travel privately, in luxury, adds to the amount that must be delivered. Because I have constantly been told, “I am the face. I am the delivery point of luxury.” 

The term ‘flight attendant’ is laden with meaning and loaded with notions. As a flight attendant, I feel expected to be smiley, congenial, demur. I feel the need to be pretty, polished, young, vibrant; both muted and magical. On a private jet, I chameleonize myself to be exactly who I think I am expected to be for someone I have never met and may never see again. Private jets are pricey, and I need to be worth the cost. I am the face of the experience and the marketing touchpoint of luxury. I need to create a memorable experience but be ok with being forgotten. There is so much I need to be. I’m exhausted by all the years of trying to be perfect.

I have many insecurities that rise front and center when working in an industry where beauty and perfection are prized (yet disguised because that’s not HR friendly). I’ve wondered where the expectations of ‘flight attendant’ came from and if my views of my job are truth or fiction. I’ve hoped that mask-wearing would change the way we view flight attendants — that no longer will a particular look or color or size or race or beauty standard matter in the way it has for practically one hundred years. That when we see a female aviation professional we will think first that she is the pilot. I wonder if I would feel differently if I was a professional pilot? Maybe, but maybe not. Female pilots face their own battles of discrimination. They have their own set of expectations to manage and stereotypes to shatter.

Maybe this is only me and I missed the plane everyone else’s on — the one that still believes being a flight attendant is the best job in the world. I wish I could find the girl who thinks that there is nothing better to life than being in the cabin of the airplane. The one who feels more like herself when she puts on the uniform than when she is without it. The one who believes that the upsides of private or commercial aviation outweighed the downsides and that the ugly sides are just part of the expectation of a flight attendant. I wish I still expected being a flight attendant to be the greatest adventure of my future like it has been for my past. ‘Flight attendant’ is a great adventure. It also is a very-image-sensitive job.

The post The Expectation [of a flight attendant] first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Is it “Corporate Flight Attendant, Cabin Attendant, Cabin Server or…??”: The ‘Name Game’ for Business Aviation Cabin Crew https://flightattendantlife.com/titleflightattendantjob/ Mon, 08 Mar 2021 03:38:29 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20881 What is the correct title for cabin crewmembers in business aviation and how do we correctly feature it on our resumes and other platforms?

The post Is it “Corporate Flight Attendant, Cabin Attendant, Cabin Server or…??”: The ‘Name Game’ for Business Aviation Cabin Crew first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
by Scott D. Arnold, Sajet Solutions

What is the correct title for cabin crewmembers in business aviation and how do we correctly feature it on our resumes and other platforms? 

Let’s start with a sampling of the various titles business aviation cabin crew have——Corporate flight attendant, executive flight attendant, private flight attendant, cabin attendant, cabin server, cabin aide, inflight service specialist, cabin service specialist, cabin safety attendant, purser, inflight coordinator, customer service specialist, customer service representative, VIP flight attendant, VVIP flight attendant, air host/hostess, sky host/hostess, air stewardess/steward, … 

Whenever I ask the question, “What is your title and why?” – the responses I commonly hear are:

  • “The difference in our job title depends on whether or not we have been cabin safety trained. If we are safety trained, we are corporate flight attendants. If we’re not safety trained and onboard only for service, we are titled differently, like ‘cabin server’.” 
  • “If I work for a private owner or fortune 500 company, I am called a corporate flight attendant. If I work for a charter company, I am a cabin attendant or …” 
  • “What are you talking about? I am cabin safety trained, therefore; I am a ‘certified corporate flight attendant’!” 
  • “I don’t know? I am self-employed… do I call myself a Contractor, freelancer, Independent Contractor, On Call, On-Demand … followed by ________________ (insert job title)?” 

My question to all of you is— “Is having an “official” title really that important?” 

Before I go into more detail on the ‘name game,’ let’s get this out of the way … First, the reality check:

Per the United States FAA CFR/FAR Regulations – Cabin crew are NOT required on aircraft of 19 seats or less. Therefore, the majority of us CFA’s (Corporate Flight Attendants) are NOT REQUIRED! 

Now, should we be on board for cabin safety? ABSOLUTELY!  

If cabin crew are onboard for cabin safety, does it really matter what we’re called? No.

If cabin crew are onboard ONLY for service, does it really matter what we’re called? Maybe.

So, why is our title such a contention for frustration, angst, and debate? More importantly, why is our title not standardized?

FAA: THE MANY SHADES OF GREY

When regulations were originally written back in the 1960s for private aviation (actually vaguely written) the concept of having cabin crew (aka Flight Attendants) on private jets was not even a consideration based on what private aviation was at that time. As time has passed, private aviation has expanded exponentially and the production of larger cabin luxury jets has become the standard. However, despite the airframe changes, the majority of regulations remain unchanged regarding cabin crew. There have been sections and revisions added to these regulations, such as; FAR91 Subpart K (fractional ownership) in 1999, and other various updates/revisions for pilots, maintenance, etc. Basically, revisions are ongoing for every flight operation section, and any of the add-ons for cabin crew – still vague. 

Flight Attendant Requirements defined by United States FAR’s:

14 CFR § 91.533 – Flight Attendant Requirements

§91.533 Flight attendant requirements.

(a) No person may operate an airplane unless at least the following number of flight attendants are on board the airplane:

(1) For airplanes having more than 19 but less than 51 passengers on board, one flight attendant.

(2) For airplanes having more than 50 but less than 101 passengers on board, two flight attendants.

(3) For airplanes having more than 100 passengers on board, two flight attendants plus one additional flight attendant for each unit (or part of a unit) of 50 passengers above 100.

(b) No person may serve as a flight attendant on an airplane when required by paragraph (a) of this section unless that person has demonstrated to the pilot in command familiarity with the necessary functions to be performed in an emergency or a situation requiring emergency evacuation and is capable of using the emergency equipment installed on that airplane.  

14 CFR § 135.107 – Flight Attendant Crewmember Requirement

§135.107 Flight Attendant Crewmember requirement.

No certificate holder may operate an aircraft that has a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of more than 19 seats, unless there is a flight attendant crewmember on board the aircraft.  

(ICAO rules are much broader but this blog is focusing on US Regulations)

This is why so many get heartburn about us using “Flight Attendant” in our title, aka: “Corporate Flight Attendant.” 

Private/Business aviation has no specific regulation written on how we are to be titled while onboard an aircraft with 19 seats or less. We are referred to as “cabin crew.”

Private/Business aviation has no specific regulation written on how we are to be titled while onboard an aircraft with 19 seats or less.

Scott D. Arnold, Sajetsolutions.com

For larger occupancy aircraft (aka airlines and large transport) it’s pretty cut and dry for flight attendant requirements – because regulations apply.  

For standard business aviation, it’s cut and we’re usually hung out to dry as corporate flight attendants – because regulations don’t apply.

In short, we are not required on 95 percent of business jets therefore, we have NO “legal” title. I don’t care what anyone else may tell you. We don’t have any, so it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves. The majority of us use, ‘Corporate Flight Attendant’ as our title. Is this wrong? No. Is it correct? No … but does it matter?  It really only matters to the operation you are working for. 

However, wouldn’t it be nice to have this recognition since this is our career field and we take our career and cabin safety seriously?  YES! Absolutely!!

We have been making some advancement as the NBAA Flight Attendants Committee has been very instrumental in updating the NBAA Management Guide and IS-BAO Manuals to list us as Corporate Flight Attendants. That being said, although these are commendable advancements, these are considered Best Practices and not any type of regulation. 

Ask yourself – If you are titled anything other than Flight Attendant, does this affect your job duties, responsibilities, recognition, or “legalities” while onboard? 

This is a very good question and there is no simple answer. 

Every flight department varies on how they categorized cabin crewmembers. Therefore, it all boils down to how our titles are documented within the company’s SOP’s, OEM’s, and various other operation manuals. Each flight operation has different criteria on our requirements and duties performed as “cabin crew.” It also varies vastly between the type of operation – FAR§135, §125, §91 and §91K. Therefore, it will be impossible to establish an accredited single title that fully encompasses all of us, like they do with the airlines.  

[Before you get riled up – this blog is focusing only on our titles, not the training requirements and all that applies to being trained. Training and recognition of training will be addressed in a “Part 2″ Name Game” blog focused specifically on training and the even more shades of grey of the FAA that comes along with that!]

CREW DEFINED

Crew (/kro͞o/)

CFR Title 14 §1.1: Crewmember means a person assigned to perform duty in an aircraft during flight time.

Question: Are we considered “crew” if we are not cabin safety trained? 

Answer: Yes, you are considered crew regardless if you are cabin safety trained or not. In simple terms, you are performing duties onboard the aircraft therefore, you are considered “crew.”  

Therefore, despite our annual cabin safety/emergency procedures/medical training, this is why we need a differentiator accreditation in order to set us apart as a recognized cabin safety professional and not an inflight service representative.

Question: Are you considered “flight crew” if you are cabin safety trained? 

Answer: No, the term flight crew refers to pilots operating the aircraft, not the cabin. 

TWO STEPS FORWARD, THREE STEPS BACK

Another reality check is: WE (as in all of us corporate flight attendants) often are the ones who typically misinterpret our own duties and responsibilities onboard. Especially when it comes to cabin safety and requirements, so we unfortunately self-inflict a lot of unnecessary drama. We are not commercial flight attendants, and we were never intended to be … but … this doesn’t mean we cannot have standards implemented and supported.

Did you know there has been two major attempts with creating accreditation programs for us business aviation cabin crew? The accreditation is provided by a third party accredited organization and it would be similar to NBAA’s CAM program (Certified Aviation Manager) and is dedicated solely to business aviation cabin attendants – globally. 

This will not replace our cabin safety training but rather enhance the “certification” aspect of our recognition. 

However, when the last initiative was announced in various social media groups, it was immediately attacked relentlessly with negative and combative comments. Our peers publicly questioned the legitimacy and the integrity of the program. Many stated we don’t need this ridiculous thing to justify our careers. Um, yes … we actually do! These rants were all done without even bothering to find out basic information, such as; this program was initially created with an alignment of several major cabin safety training vendors (yes, Aircare FACTS and FSI were part of this) along with several respected CFA leaders and members of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee. This announcement was completely shunned due to ignorance. Yes, by ignorance.  Our community can be very exasperating at times, especially when our alleged peers become our own worst enemies and detrimental to our own justification in this industry. This latest accreditation program is in the mid stages of standards development. This is PROACTIVE TO OUR RECOGNITION so stay tuned for more information!

BACK IN THE DAY

Commercial Airline Flight Attendants still, to this day, experience a minor identity crisis by being called “Stewardess” or “Steward” on occasion. This is an old school term and when typically said by a passenger, it’s not meant as an insult or judgement on their qualifications. I know when I flew for the airlines, I used to get so bent whenever I was called a steward because I took it as being disrespectful to my training certification and importance as a cabin safety professional. 

Flight attendant – Wikipedia

en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Flight_attendant

“By the end of the 1970s, the term stewardess had generally been replaced by the gender-neutral alternative flight attendant. More recently, the term cabin crew or cabin staff has begun to replace ‘flight attendants’ in some parts of the world, because of the term’s recognition of their role as members of the crew.” 

The early years of being a stewardess, they were required to be: female, a nurse, single, and it was standard for a supervisor to conduct girdle checks at check-in, despite the stewardess’ size they were required to be worn. Yep… True story!  See, we are making progress.

The fascinating thing is, when I Googled, “When was Stewardess changed to Flight Attendant,” to find out the exact year, look what the search provided as subtopics:

Yes folks, we still have a long way to go and do you know why that is? It’s a simple case of Human Factors. Meaning: old habits are hard to break and people are people and human behavior never changes over the span of time. And then … there is the FAA shades of grey.

I know many FAA Cabin Safety Inspectors and I have tremendous respect for them all, and a few are dear friends. This is a regulatory issue, not a personnel issue. So never shoot the messenger!

INDUSTRY NAME GAME

Question: “Are we private aviation, corporate aviation, or business aviation?” 

What is the difference? Is there a difference?

Textbook Answer: The term business aviation was widely adopted to underline the value of private aviation as an efficiency tool, and to avoid using the term ‘private jet.’

Textbook Answer: The term business aviation was widely adopted to underline the value of private aviation as an ‘efficiency tool’ and to avoid using the term ‘private jet.’

While our clients and people outside of our industry may refer to it as ‘private jet’ travel – within our industry, the majority of us use ‘business aviation.’ The term business aviation was widely adopted to underline the value of private aviation as an efficiency tool, and to avoid using the term ‘private jet’ – with its associations of luxury and frivolity that many in the industry have tried to get away from. This is the main objective to NBAA’s No Plane, No Gain incentive to bring attention to business aviation as just that – business-oriented as well as providing countless humanitarian relief efforts across the globe. It’s been helpful to balance out the misconception that ‘private jet’ users are all billionaires or oligarchs.

There are other terms that are used more-or-less interchangeably as well, such as; corporate aviation, corporate jets, general aviation and private jets. To confuse matters further, we also have the sub-categories of: private owner, charter, fractional ownership, and seat sharing shuttles. So you see, even our industry has issues with title identities for consistency.

I USE ‘CORPORATE FLIGHT ATTENDANT’

If you use the title, “Corporate Flight Attendant” on your resume, it is completely appropriate to do so – However, you MAY receive some resistance from a few individuals. If you do get pushback, don’t argue, just acknowledge it and move on.  

If you want to play it safe with your title, then use “Cabin Attendant” since this is more standard and generic in the grand scheme of things and less cause for any debate.  Don’t get bent out of shape or insulted if a company or employer titles you differently. They most likely have very good intentions or reasons for this – aka OEM standards and/or liabilities!

I have always used ‘Corporate Flight Attendant‘ since I transitioned from commercial to corporate in 2001. For the past two years, I’m now titled, ‘Chief Flight Attendant’ for Boss Lady. This title doesn’t really mean anything except to my operation, especially since I am the only attendant for my private owner now due to the impact of the pandemic.

In the end, let’s not focus so much on what we want our title to be, what it currently is, or what it should be. Rather, let’s focus on the primary reason we should all be required onboard in the first place – cabin safety! If we UNITE, we just may achieve an all-encompassing title as cabin crew. No matter what recognition and titles we gain or achieve in the future, we will never please everyone – by everyone, I mean our peers. So there is that – so, until then …

“If I’m onboard a business jet; I really don’t care what my title is. I really don’t care what classification I am under (Crew or Passenger)… because I will still save your ass in an emergency.”

The post Is it “Corporate Flight Attendant, Cabin Attendant, Cabin Server or…??”: The ‘Name Game’ for Business Aviation Cabin Crew first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
5 Reasons Why Every Flight Attendant Needs to Journal https://flightattendantlife.com/flightattendantjournal/ Sun, 14 Feb 2021 23:24:15 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20851 A pen coupled with paper is a powerful life tool— especially for flight attendants.

The post 5 Reasons Why Every Flight Attendant Needs to Journal first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
A pen coupled with paper is a powerful life tool— especially for flight attendants.

A new year often feels like a blank page. There is freedom in the openness, beauty amidst the opportunity, and relief in starting fresh. You may have promised yourself to carry some habits with you, while others you vow to throw out with the garbage of years past. One beneficial habit to start (or continue) this year, especially for flight attendants, is journaling. 

Journaling your thoughts, dreams, ideas, and plans can transform yourself and your life as a flight attendant. Before you say, “Well, Kara, you are a writer… of course jotting down notes would help you. I don’t see how journaling can help me,” allow me to explain five reasons why every flight attendant needs to start journaling and how that little pen and paper practice is powerful in improving your mood, cognitive functioning, creativity, and mental health. And for a flight attendant’s life, that is life-giving. 

  1. Find Clarity — Our minds can be noisy. A good way to find your center and stay grounded in an up in the air life is to write the noise down on paper. Throughout my years as a flight attendant, with a schedule that meant I was often home only two days a week or constantly in different locations, I would inevitably feel unsettled, my mind fuzzy. This wasn’t always due to jet lag. Daily journaling helped combat the confusion surrounding my work world and find internal clarity, allowing me to show up better amid the most unsettling of days.
  1. Manage Stress and Emotions — According to The University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. Jotting down anxieties, fears, and concerns in a notebook allows you to prioritize problems and fears and offers your brain another perspective to look at what is causing you discomfort or pain. It’s almost as if journaling frees you from what is bottled up inside, without judgment or rules. Often, this is a beginning step to releasing stress, fear, and negative emotion.
  1. Talk Back to the Negative — Journaling is a great way to talk back to that negative voice in your head in a profound and physical way. By writing down positive affirmations in the face of negative, you bring a physical action to deal with areas you may struggle with. As flight attendants, we often present our best smile and happy face, but inside we find ourselves battling— ourselves! I’ve never met a more beautiful, driven, fun, and unique group of individuals than flight attendants. Flight Attendants are these Type-A-Gem-Unicorns of the world that are kind to all of their friends and people around them, but don’t offer themselves the same grace. Journaling is a way to implement grace for YOU! 
  1. Increased Cognitive Functioning — In a study conducted by the journal Frontiers in Psychology, regions of the brain associated with learning were more active when subjects completed a task by hand instead of on a keyboard. We remember more when we write things down! 
  1. Better Health — A University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher hypothesizes that regular and daily journaling practices strengthen immune cells and can decrease symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, journaling improves mental health as writing down stressful events is a process of healing, giving an individual a chance to accept and forgive the experiences. 

If you would like to get into the habit of journaling, I’ve included free, downloadable journal prompts. Just click here, add your email to the newsletter list, and get access to the journal prompts. Remember to confirm your email address to stay in the loop:)

Click here to get the journaling prompts

If you are looking for a journal that will inspire you to add this practice into your daily routine, Flight Attendant Life has created a collection of travel-inspired notebooks for flight attendants and aviation professionals. Each journal serves a purpose, whether that is to capture your memories from an ‘up-in-the-air life,’ set a daily intention, or create space to note your hopes and dreams. You can shop the journals by clicking here.

As flight attendants, our health is essential and that includes both a healthy body and a healthy mind. You have a blank page in front of you. So, how will you write your story this year? 

The post 5 Reasons Why Every Flight Attendant Needs to Journal first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Why ‘Flight Attendant?’ Why not, ‘Pilot?’ https://flightattendantlife.com/morefemalepilots/ Tue, 02 Feb 2021 23:14:53 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20835 Aviation stereotypes, female pilots, and choosing a flight attendant career.

The post Why ‘Flight Attendant?’ Why not, ‘Pilot?’ first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Aviation has yet to depart from many long-standing stereotypes. Pilots are male. Flight attendants, female. Backed by statistics and over seventy-five years of gender bias, the aviation industry remains entrenched in workforce customs formed in the mid-1900s.

According to Women In Aviation, only 7.9 percent of pilots are female, and that’s in total! Only 7.0 percent hold a commercial license, meaning they can fly for hire, and less than 4.6 percent of female aviators hold an ATP, or Airline Transport Pilot rating, a requirement to work in 121, or airline industry operations. This is in contrast to 79.2 percent of flight attendants being female! These statistics are crazy! In the past, female pilots accounted for a mere 3 percent of aviators, and although there are more women becoming pilots in 2021 than ever before, aviation is a far cry from an equal workforce. I believe in equal rights and equal opportunities. I believe men and women bring different talents and skills to the workforce. I also STRONGLY believe we have not taught enough young women that ‘pilot,’ not just ‘flight attendant,’ is something that they can do in aviation. 

Flight attendants are predominantly female, a trend that started at the dawn of commercial air travel as airlines attempted to entice male international passengers by not-so-subtly sexualizing the onboard safety professional. Sometimes I wonder if flight attendants are so adamant about being on airplanes “for your safety” because they (myself included) don’t want to admit that we are the image of the aviation brand and that image has a ‘look.’ That look happens to be female, thin, pretty, young, smiley, etc etc. That look is based on stereotypes and gender discrimination (And it goes both ways! Do you know how many men in corporate aviation are discriminated against, as flight attendants, because they are men?!?). We are objectified; continuing a stereotype and perpetuating a weird sort of inequality built upon archaic systems. The sad truth is beauty matters. To billionaires, to budget travelers. We are vain and have a hard time breaking stereotypes, but after going through 2020, it’s about time we make changes. 

If you talk to the great aviators, male or female, they will say gender has little to do with job success and being a good pilot. The secure-in-themselves male pilots will often comment on how women usually make really exceptional flight deck crew. So, why do very few women even think of becoming pilots, and instead, opt to be in the cabin? I believe it’s because we don’t teach young women what’s possible for them and unintentionally encourage gender roles by offering boys cars and airplanes and gifting girls’ makeup and dolls. We often only dream as big and far and deep as we can see. I’m not saying this is the only reason why more women do not become pilots, but human psychology suggests we are creatures of modeling, and women are especially influenced by strong charismatic female role models. According to an experiment at Southern Methodist University and an article published in Science Daily, female undergraduates were 100 percent more likely to choose an economics course of study, when shown role models of successful female graduates, than a lower-paying, more predominately female career. We want and need to see females reach for roles that are predominately male. We need women to negotiate for higher salaries, better positions, and choose a path that may not be the majority choice. Women, RISE UP. You not only give yourself a gift by being an outlier. You give your female counterparts inspiration and hope!

Another reason why many choose flight attendant over pilot is that there are more barriers to entry in the path to becoming a pilot. It will cost a lot of time and money, and honestly, may not always be worth it for some. On the other hand, the payout for becoming a successful corporate flight attendant, although not without pain or struggle, can be quick. As pilots weather economic downturns and funding years of flight training, you drop an application in for an airline, as a flight attendant hopeful and get hired, or set aside $5k for corporate flight attendant training. You are now on your way to free flight benefits or a six-figure salary. That can happen in less than six weeks to two years! In two years, it’s possible to make as much as pilots who have been flying for twenty years. But, the truth is the way you look has more to do with it than you may want to admit. That’s the game a flight attendant plays. 

I grew up around aviation but never understood that being a pilot would be something I could enjoy and excel at doing. This wasn’t because my family didn’t encourage me to learn to fly or only gave the opportunity to my brother, but it’s because I never “got it” then. Piloting, to me, was my brother’s “thing.” It wasn’t until two months ago, when I got my private pilot’s certificate, did I realize that we were never in competition. He told his friends after I passed my check ride, “I’m so proud of my little sister.” I called him the day before my check ride, concerned because I flew the worst I ever had, and instead of diminishing me, he consoled,  “You always fly the worst before a check ride. Slow down. No one is rushing you.” And to think, I spent eighteen years not becoming a pilot because I didn’t believe I would like it or could be better than someone else. Ironically, I never needed to be better than anyone else. I only needed to be myself. It was my mindset that put in the cabin versus the flight deck. It’s your mindset that diminishes your potential. 

Instead of being a pilot, I meandered after college, depressed and uncertain of who I would become. By complete accident and only out of desperation, as I had said I would NEVER become a flight attendant, I became one. It was a way out of darkness. It turned into a way of life. I am so thankful for this career. It truly has been incredible. I am grateful for the story, and will continually be so, but it isn’t always kind. Even now, twelve years into my Flight Attendant Life, years beyond HASHTAG METOO, I get jobs based on photos. I am interviewed by people who blatantly disregard human resource policies and say things like, “We need someone young and pretty and thin and American.” Whenever faced with this I think, “Did we go back to the 1900s? What rights do I really have? This is private aviation. There are rules, but it doesn’t matter if they’re right, or at times, followed. I don’t know if we will ever get past the stereotypes of hundreds of years ago. If we ever can reach for equality and acceptance for all. If what we look like won’t have to matter so much. 

To be fair, I don’t think being a pilot automatically grants immunity for external judgments based on gender or look. I’ve heard of some very chauvinistic assholes in aviation that female aviators have to deal with. I think professional female pilots have to deal with a lot more than I, or many others, realize. From passengers and their remarks to pilots and clients, you wonder why image must matter so much sometimes. I admire female pilots, and I’m thankful for them. I also have quite a bit of admiration for the male pilots who are kind, professional, and treat all with respect. There are a lot of those out there. Thank you for being who you are in aviation. 

Sometimes, I think about models and doctors and how each is given a gift or honed a skill. I don’t have the intellect of a doctor or the beauty of a model, but somewhere between, I have the face of a flight attendant. And as I smile behind a mask and serve food, I’m sad because this job that gave me the world left me wondering if I sold my soul short.

If I could do it all over again, I would have kept on piloting airplanes at sixteen years old. It feels like I made a mistake becoming a flight attendant over becoming a pilot. A mistake that gave me the world and left me feeling empty. Left me feeling like only what I looked like or how perfect I was mattered. I guess somehow, at thirty-five, I can do it all over again. More wisely and more gratefully. It’s never too late to create a new adventure.

The 16 year old and 35 year old versions:)

I’m telling you this because if you are a female and you want to travel or be in aviation or become a flight attendant, please let me ask you, “Why?” Is it because that’s what women do, become flight attendants? Is it because people tell you, “You’re so pretty?” Is it because you have the perfect personality and all the bubbles to boot? Is it because of your look? Is it because no one takes you seriously enough to fly the plane? Is it because you never took yourself seriously enough to believe you could fly the plane? Is it because you never truly realized that you could determine a destiny bigger than gender, race, culture, color, or sexuality? Is it that you need to dream bigger? What is your ‘why?’

Don’t let your gender determine your role or level of achievement in life. That’s it. That’s the point of this blog. Oh, and don’t limit yourself based on what you think you can achieve, and do NOT, my God, do not do what I did and stupidly think you are in competition. The reality is that this life is about community, and you may find yourself looking back and realizing you lost a lot of years not doing something that you liked because you thought you had to compete. Just be you. Stop the stereotypes. Choose to do what you love, and if that is ‘flight attendant’— male, female, straight, gay, black, white, pink, or purple — be the absolute fucking best at it and know, you are not the stereotype. You are enough. 

The post Why ‘Flight Attendant?’ Why not, ‘Pilot?’ first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
The single best thing you can do for your flight attendant career https://flightattendantlife.com/dothisflightattendantcareer/ Tue, 05 Jan 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20796 Wondering why some find their dream jobs or live an epic adventure? In this blog, find out the essential investment YOU can make that will allow you to soar.

The post The single best thing you can do for your flight attendant career first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
One of the questions I get asked most often is, “How do I become a Flight Attendant?” or “How do I become a corporate flight attendant?” 

Both are simple inquiries, but surprisingly, yield somewhat complicated answers. Because of that, I’m not going to answer either of those in this post (but stay with me for a second). I won’t give you a list of 1., 2., 3. or A), B), C), so you can land your dream job, but what I will do is share a secret. I will tell you an essential investment you can make to improve your flight attendant career. Even more remarkable, this tip works whether you are only getting started in aviation, in the commercial or corporate industries, or if you are an already established aviation professional. 

The single best thing you can do for your flight attendant career is this— 

Get and keep your mindset on track. 

Let me explain ‘getting and keeping your mindset on track.’ To illustrate, I’ll focus on corporate aviation as the industry is both saturated and competitive, an ideal environment to test your mental fortitude, to develop your ‘mindset.’ 

There are a thousand training courses, safety recurrents, culinary classes, and how-to articles covering the steps needed to become a flight attendant or excel as a flight attendant (i.e., @Flightess is a resource I lean into frequently). But not one of those will bring you the success possible UNLESS you can harness your mind. Yes, practical training is essential. Yes, preparing for a flight is necessary if you are in corporate aviation. Still, I genuinely believe that you will succeed or fail based upon how you can choose to be positive when all looks bleak, stay level headed when nothing is going your way, and find the solution when no solutions are available. 

Your external world reflects your inner world, and your mind and heart guide your inner world. It’s so critical that you care for your spirit and build it up. Just like you get better at cooking and plating when you practice, you gain a more robust mental attitude when you practice a strong mental attitude. I’ve had to work at my mindset, especially since I became a corporate flight attendant. There have been many times I’m riddled with self-doubt, out of my comfort zone, and feel entirely underqualified and like I’m messing it all up. In moments like this, I simply have to choose to think differently. I have to decide to speak healthy affirmations into my spirit. I must remind myself of all the experiences that I have had in my life that have prepared me for the moment that I face. I also pray. I pray for peace, clarity, and joy. Sometimes, I feel that harnessing my mindset is the most challenging part of my job, the biggest challenge I face personally. But I face it. You can face what challenges you. You can harness the power of your mind for the positive, too. 

Dreams will live and die based on your mindset. I strongly encourage you to set yourself up for the best possible chance to become a flight attendant by taking the appropriate practical steps. Still, I also encourage you to remember your mindset. Practice building an attitude that is unstoppable now. Today. If you want to improve yourself and where you land, I’ve included some affirmations and practices that I repeat. These daily words and reminders help me in my career as a corporate flight attendant. They help me when I take on new challenges. 

These affirmations are a free resource and a great way to help you stay on track mentally and emotionally. After you submit the form below and confirm your email address, the affirmations will be sent directly to your inbox. 

DOWNLOAD THE AFFIRMATIONS

Click the image or this link to get the free download.

Additionally, I created these cute, aviation-specific journals to help keep you, and your flight attendant career, on track in 2021. The journals are an excellent resource for cataloging memories, intentions, dreams, and thoughts. You can use them to write a personalized list of affirmations! The journals are limited editions and will only be available for a short time, so get yours today! Keep training your mind as you train for safety and service in your job. 

GET YOUR JOURNAL TODAY!

The post The single best thing you can do for your flight attendant career first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
All things new… https://flightattendantlife.com/all-things-new/ Sat, 02 Jan 2021 17:46:31 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20790 A Corporate Flight Attendant's thoughts on goal setting, dreams, and trusting the process even if the outcome is uncertain.

The post All things new… first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
It’s a new year, one that many of us feel we have desperately needed. A sort of clean slate, a fresh start. I didn’t crave this New Year, as I didn’t know how one day later would make the differences in my life and the world that feel uncertain, scary. I wouldn’t say I’m in a ‘good place’ entering 2021, but I choose a good place. Every day waking up to worship, journaling and claiming a today and a future that is better than how I may feel. I make a conscious decision to speak positive affirmations into my life, fight against my fears, and continue to work for what seems distant to impossible. I don’t do well at this always. Often, my evenings are found in crumbling resolve, tears falling softly, and my head in my hands, wondering where the answers are hiding. I hug the dog, talk to my boyfriend, sit in this space and again, fight back the despondency that I feel in this moment. Hang on, hold on, be patient, have faith. Oddly, even in this, my ‘not good place,’ it feels ok, good almost. 

If the past year taught me anything, it’s that life can look hard or be an extreme opposite to the regular rhythm and yet, be filled with joy, peace, blessing, and beauty. If I am honest, I had a blessed year. Maybe not in the way that I became accustomed to financially, but in ways that are what money cannot buy. Growth cannot equate to a dollar amount. Your success doesn’t have to be seen by anyone to be considered ‘success.’ Truth is, if you made it through last year, that, in itself, is a victory.

I’ve asked God, and the Universe, for help with my audacious dreams. Then, I question why life feels challenging. Did I forget that every dream has a price? I think the biggest price we pay for stepping into our individual destiny is the way we are challenged to become more than we currently are. Audacious dreams require uncanny trust. It takes a long term vision and unshakeable belief that “now” is only a moment in the grand scheme of your purpose and path. Everything that I have asked for requires that I be willing to accept the cost. The cost has meant faith. I wanted to fly less, write more. Get my pilot’s license and have a personal life. I meant it when I said that’s what I wanted, but I had yet to understand how my dreamy request would stretch me.

I’m stretching and questioning and sometimes believing more than in other times that God really does make all things new. That He really can rebuild ruins and will bless and bless and bless. It’s easy to claim promises like those when I am flying high, in cities like Moscow, Tokyo, or London. The question is, will I believe when the outlook doesn’t look good? When my location feels less than ideal? Will I believe even if my dreams never happen, even if I never have anything more than this moment, whether it is uncomfortable or not?

That’s when and where decision’ must arrive. Joy is not dependent on a New Year, your next destination, or your income level. I promise this. I’ve made $25,000 a year, and I’ve made almost $200,000. In each season, whether it looked abundant or scarce, I experienced challenge and triumphant. At the end of the day, I was still me. I could still choose happiness, joy, kindness, or courage. You take who you are wherever you are. Have we ever considered that maybe we didn’t like 2020 because it showed us everything we disliked about ourselves? We could not use travel, our schedules, or our flight attendant job as an easy escape. What about that?

I am a goal-setter, by nature, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve shied away from setting outcome goals. Outcome goals are saying things like, “I will have a job with American Airlines by February 15, 2021,” or “I’m going to be hired as a corporate flight attendant for Netflix in 2021.” Outcome goals are great, and I won’t discourage anyone from setting them, but I want to share with you another perspective. What if you set your goals with the process in mind, instead? What if you said, “I am the type of person, in 2021, that American Airlines would want to hire as a flight attendant?” “In 2021, I am the type of person who has developed the skills, training, experience, network, and personality that would be a great fit as a corporate flight attendant for an organization like Netflix.” See the difference?

I love process goals due to a few reasons. First, process goals do not limit you. Who’s to say that there isn’t a better company, place, or organization than what you deem as perfect in your mind? We don’t know what we don’t know and process goals allow the Universe to work in your favor, bringing in options and opportunities into your life you never dreamed up! Secondly, when you focus on the process, and REALLY create excellence in your daily actions, which in turn, naturally sets you up for success. Life is about how you show up in the little things. The little things build to the big goals and dream jobs. Third, rejection won’t hurt you as much because process goals, unlike outcome goals, are not tied to the result. Process goals allow you to celebrate who you show up as, every day, AND who you become. Who you are and choose to become is what changes everything. 

Who I want to become can feel like an overwhelming and far-away destination, across travel restricted borders and impossible to reach lands. To manage, I’m taking a process-oriented approach. I wake up and focus on daily tasks that have the potential to build me into the person that can handle the responsibility of the dreams I hope to achieve. I choose to do one thing today to get me closer to who I hope to be tomorrow. I choose to pick myself up when I fall, when I would rather give up. I pause when tempted to return to the safety of what I know. I ask God and the Universe for the courage I do not embody. I claim, against faltering faith, that this is the year to see bouquets of roses instead of ashes. Joy instead of news of doom. A praising heart instead of a languid spirit. I choose to hold to the promise that this is the year of His grace. 

(To read the words referenced above, visit Isaiah 61).

The post All things new… first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
Long Distance Relationships are an experience. Then, add a Global Pandemic. https://flightattendantlife.com/longdistancerelationshipsincovid/ Mon, 28 Dec 2020 18:52:23 +0000 https://flightattendantlife.com/?p=20756 Long distance relationships in a global pandemic seem impossible, but this will surprise you.

The post Long Distance Relationships are an experience. Then, add a Global Pandemic. first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>
The jet stairs unfold into the darkness of early morning. The guests are asleep, the pilots swapping out for a new set of aviators. I stay onboard through four legs, over 36 hours on the aircraft, and more than 6,000 nautical miles. There are no rest rules for corporate flight attendants but more than the exhaustion I feel, I am annoyed. The pilots acted as if I had never worked an international red-eye, adding reminders like, “The head of the bed goes towards the front of the aircraft,” and “Remember to take out the trash when we land for the crew swap.” I politely nodded and smiled, all the while biting my tongue and keeping my eye rolls to myself. When wheels touched down at the intermediate stop, around 3 am local in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the last thing I wanted was to have any interaction with pilots. 

For over ten years I had worked as a flight attendant in both commercial and corporate aviation. It was a job that allowed me to see the world and travel extensively. As many of my college friends were adding Baby #3 to their families, I was checking off Country #53. It wasn’t that I planned my life this way. I genuinely searched for a stable career and the love of my life, my everlasting soulmate, but both he and a normal job were evasive. If Mr. Prince Charming, didn’t evade, he ghosted. There were many second or third dates that seemed incredibly promising, dinners or drinks that left me feeling hopeful, giddy almost. Maybe this will work out. He seems cool. But then silence or my schedule roared again erasing the fairytale I had written in my head. I couldn’t create space for a man and my jet lag. I was uncertain if a relationship was possible with my ‘up in the air’ and ‘all over the place’ life.

Truthfully, I had stopped worrying about my single status and embraced the fun of flying solo. I dated abroad more than at home, remaining uninterested in being serious with someone who was far away from where I called home. I was in the best shape of my life, earning more money than I ever had, and going to the coolest places imaginable. I could date abroad and do what I wanted when I wanted, without asking someone how it would impact their world. Single is a joyously selfish way to be— an actual gift we often don’t appreciate enough when we have it. It’s not always the best, but really, it’s not so bad either. I wasn’t hoping to meet anyone when I met him. I was completely happy with life as I knew it, but we can’t know what we don’t know 

“Can I help you with that?” he says, his blue eyes piercing the darkness. Damn, I think. The FBO boy is cuuuuuute. Even at this hour on little sleep, I’m awake enough to appreciate an attractive man. I don’t realize how tall he is until I extend the industrial-sized garbage bag, which is over half my size, in his direction. He reaches out and with ease, assists my flight attendant struggle. I roll my eyes again internally and this time to myself. I can’t believe I just told him, ‘Be careful, it’s heavy,’ I think. Obviously, he’s strong and tall. Smiling, I say ‘Thanks,’ and pivot towards the safety of the jet’s immaculate galley, a flight attendant’s safe haven. Glancing over my shoulder, I see long legs take the jet stairs, two at a time, a lanky figure ducking his way into the flight deck. Only then do I realize my mistake. This tall, blue-eyed Dream at the bottom of the stairs, kindly accepting my garbage, does not work at the FBO as a Line Service Attendant. He is not the one fueling planes or bringing newspapers to flight attendants. He’s a pilot. He’s the pilot. He’s going to be flying this plane. He’s coming with us. Never had it crossed my mind that an attractive pilot would exist here. 

Fast forward a year later. I’m in a long-distance relationship with a pilot, a double ‘no-no’ in flight attendant world. (haha. Just kidding, Pilots. Love you guys and gals;) A long-distance relationship is a challenge in itself, but add the travel restrictions implemented due to a global pandemic, and it equals a unique adventure. I find it ironic that I, the one who had stopped believing that long-distance relationships can work is in a long-distance relationship. I was wrong about what I thought would make me happy. I am blessed to have collided with him a year ago. It’s not what I dreamed of for an ideal partnership. It’s better. It’s better in that it’s more real and genuine and comforting and close than some of the relationships I’ve had in my home city. It’s not the distance that makes you close or far to someone. It’s both more simple and more complex than that. Closeness and connection are not lessened by less miles or broken by more, but created through a mix of intention and decision. And complete magic. Because love is magic, honest. 

I marvel at the way he remembers and makes me feel adored and special, even when across oceans and missing each other after weeks or months apart. The distance is hard. It won’t always be like this, I remind myself. I wish for us to be together more. I wish for the world to open again and the constant fear to go away. I wish that travel was free and easy again. I wish that I could take off my mask at work and that work was actually consistent. That work was as fun as it used to be. I wish for a lot. A lot of the time I feel lost, confused. Between. Somehow, I always come back to, “This makes sense. He makes sense. It’s worth it.” 

As grateful as I feel, I’m (in moments) equally angry over the way this year has gone. How COVID has both impacted my career and made it so that I don’t have the freedom to just jump on a plane and go is crushing. I can’t go see him. With first-class tickets running upwards of $15,000 one-way and economy not even sold, the impossibility of long-distance has overwhelmed me more than once. Yet, he solidly and assuredly reminds me, ‘This too shall pass.’ He’s made this year for us possible, he never stopped believing in our potential. “I’m not looking for easy,” he said on one of our first dates. I have not met a more intentional, kind, and patient man. Long-term vision carries us through short-term difficulty. 

Recently, I’ve worked hard to embrace what is in my life instead of missing what is not. It’s a daily battle, and I’ve fought to keep a positive mindset, often losing only to wake the following day to fight again. I’ve thrown myself into flight training instead of continuous flight attendant trips. I’ve enjoyed time with my Dad and dog, Mac, instead of a different assortment of passengers and pilots every other day. I’ve settled into peaceful and quiet days, instead of a mad rush of stress and days on end without sleep. There’s a beauty to this time, even as it brings its occasional shocks of pain, sadness, and uncertainty. Right now, I hold dearly to what is surrounding me, for it’s as precious and loved as what is far away. One day, I may have the other close and miss this. This year is a lesson in perspective. 

I don’t know what to make of most of this, the way my life is, and where it might be going. My heart goes out to the other couples navigating long-distance relationships in a locked-down world. My heart goes out to those who have been single, attempting to navigate a social life when we are told to keep our distance. Dating is more unique than ever, but I promise you, it’s not too complicated to unexpectedly meet someone. Magic does not understand impossible, and Love is really some sort of magic force. It’s searching for you. It’s not too hopeless to cross paths with a person who will change your mind about how you “thought it would be.” It’s not impossible to find kindness, care, and love when you don’t know you need it most. Most surprisingly of all, you may discover the joy of adventuring through this world with someone. Flying solo is actually not everything I’ve come to learn. 

Although we are apart for the holidays, our schedules and lifestyles have worked harmoniously is a strange way. Regardless, the distance is difficult. I don’t know how much longer it will be, us and this kind of distance. I feel like quite a bit of a mess as far as, “What should I do with my life? Where am I supposed to be?” I want and hope that my purpose can continue to align with his purpose, and we can keep walking together towards a place that works for both of us. I’ve held so tightly to my cute apartment and my single life, but as the days apart stretch on and my home feels lonely without him, I sense a shift in what I value and what I know is most important. I’ll do what it takes to be together. We will do what it takes. It always takes two, working together to create the best outcome. 

In all the places I’ve traveled and all the ways these places made me feel, I’ve only rarely felt a certain feeling, almost unexplainable. Maybe Copenhagen made me feel so or Maui or a perfect coffee somewhere far away. It was that feeling when I sensed my heart found its home. That I was coming home. He’s my coming homeHe feels more like home than any person I’ve ever met or loved. 

I’m stumbling into the truths of what real love looks like. In a very short time, he has taught me that there is room for my dreams and my person and my person’s dreams at the same time. That someone worth it will want to share in my successes and not hinder them. That I am not too much or too little in a relationship that fits. That I am loved on good days and bad, and that just because there are bad days, no one need disappear. He’s proved that it was never my job that made those other relationships not work. His presence has proved how silly I was to be so head-over-heels for assholes. God, I love that he put the assholes in their place simply by who he is. I have to thank the dates who didn’t work for if it wasn’t for the undeniable contrast, I would have never appreciated or recognized that thousands and thousands of miles away, oceans apart, and closed borders to quarantine past, there is someone who is worth it all and who will welcome you home. 

The post Long Distance Relationships are an experience. Then, add a Global Pandemic. first appeared on Flight Attendant Life | Aviation. Career. Travel.]]>