There are some common myths of corporate flight attendant life. In this blog, we are going to sort them out. Hope you enjoy. For more great flight attendant life stories, advice, and tips, sign up for our FREE newsletter!
TRUTH: First of all, many do not realize that corporate flight attendants must pay for their own training to get started (and every year subsequently if they choose to be a contract private jet cabin attendant). Once that is understood the question becomes, “What training do you take to become a corporate flight attendant?” The truth is there are many, many, MANY safety and initial courses that you can choose to take, BUT it’s counterproductive to attend anything except the two main industry accepted standards — FlightSafety International or Aircare FACTS Training. Some of the better options out there, like Davinci Inflight Training Institute, currently only provides cabin safety training for flight operations/departments and not for individuals. Don’t waste your time or financial investment going another route other than the industry accepted standard (CAPs is also acceptable for some companies). It’s already challenging enough in this career, so do what gives you the best shot for success.
TRUTH: There are two main ways that corporate flight attendants work— contract/freelance or full-time. Generally, contracting is the way to get the full-time jobs and not through directly applying (unless you already have years of experience and someone to drop your resume on the decision maker’s desk). In private aviation, you will have to prove yourself to private jet operators, in-flight departments, and pilots by flying trips. I am not necessarily a fan of those FB groups or online job boards that list corporate flight attendant positions, but maybe they can work. Jobs seem to go to people-who-know-people. I believe that the best way to get full-time jobs is to be happy with contracting and ‘kill it’ at that. Someone will notice your work ethic and the way that you stand out and offer you a full-time position. This will happen over-and-over again. When you aren’t desperate and know what you want, you will be able to negotiate salaries and wait for the job that would make you the happiest. You get the jobs when you do ‘the process.’ Your success begins with your process.
TRUTH: Being a corporate flight attendant is not for those who hope for security or stability; both financially or emotionally. Life as a contract corporate flight attendant is very unpredictable. Sometimes you are slammed with work, and at other times, no one calls. If you think that a full-time position will offer you the stability you crave, think again. Owners sell planes, you make one mistake, the economy tanks, or flying slows. It’s just not a career to count on, but the rewards are worth it. If you are the type that needs security, go the airline route. You will be much more happy in the long run.
TRUTH: There is no linear path to becoming a corporate flight attendant. You can do EVERYTHING right and there is a chance that you will still struggle to find work (you probably will struggle as it’s tough out there). Initially, when I went into private aviation, I think I had this attitude that because I usually accomplish what I set out to do and have an aviation background, that my success would be quick and guaranteed. I learned that the reality was much different and had a paradigm shifting experience. Now, I approach every flight opportunity and the career as a whole as not something that I deserve, but an honor and privilege. I treat what I do with respect. I’m lucky to be here and consider every flight a job interview. Maybe it’s due to the way that being a corporate flight attendant keeps me ‘on my toes’ that I have been able to make way in the competitive career.
TRUTH: I know private jet flight attendants who work five days a month and some who are gone more than twenty days a month. There are some jobs that offer incredible flexibility and freedom and some that are insanely demanding. It’s false to make the blanket statement that, “ All corporate flight attendants are gone all the time.” I contract as a private jet cabin attendant, and I am consistently gone ten to twenty days a month, but unlike the airlines, this is the what I CHOOSE! No one forces me to fly or say ‘yes’ to being gone, but I do because I want to do this with my life. When it gets too much, I just say no. I’m lucky to be gone as much or as little as I want.
TRUTH: Once going to your initial training course as a corporate flight attendant, you are barely getting started. This is a career that requires lifelong learning. Much of what you learn is honestly gathered from the mistakes you will make. If you invest in finding mentors and expanding your knowledge through additional culinary or etiquette courses, you will stand out in the career. There are a lot of mediocre flight attendants, but very few ‘good ones.‘ No matter how long you are in the career, choose the attitude that you will be a lifelong student and continue to improve yourself.
Truth: The truth is, the corporate flight attendants who are cutthroat and competitive are not who you want to surround yourself with anyway. Granted, full-time flight attendants sometimes do get territorial over their aircraft and owners, but if you aren’t trying to steal their job, there isn’t a problem. I have met and become friends with the most amazing corporate flight attendants; many of whom have much more experience and have achieved greater success than myself. I’m blessed to know them and learn from them. I don’t want their full-time jobs. This isn’t because their positions are not envious, but because of something someone once told me years ago. “There is room for everyone at the top.” There is a place specifically designed and waiting for you. You don’t need to be competitive (in a negative way) or cutthroat to get there.
Truth: When I was a commercial flight attendant, I thought the biggest difference between my job and what a corporate flight attendant did was that those private jet-setters worked solo. What I have since learned from doing the private jet career myself is that I NEVER work alone and job success is not possible without my pilot crew. The pilots, dispatch team, and ground support staff help a private jet cabin attendant do his or her job better. Treat everyone around you, no matter who they are, with respect and kindness. Nothing in life is done alone.
Truth: I was shocked when I learned that some corporate flight attendants make $35,000 a year. Generally, corporate flight attendants will bust their ass, working for very little and starting at a low wage just to gain experience. I originally thought that all corporate flight attendants made a least $90k-$100k per year (low end). The truth is that very few in the industry actually do that well. There is always someone who will fly for cheaper, but for the amount of work private jet cabin attendants put into their profession, many who know better, will not consider flying for anything less than $550 per day for contract work or at least $80k per year for a full-time position.
Truth: In private aviation, there are all types of flights and what to everyone else seems like a dream trip, might not be so pretty on the inside. Nice, France for two days sounds like landing the best trip ever, but I would much rather do a quick pop up to San Francisco from Los Angeles. I make the same day rate regardless of where I go, how much catering I have to source or how many aircraft beds I have to make. International trips to those dream destinations definitely make a corporate flight attendant work for her money, but if it means a ten-day sit in Bora Bora?!? OMG! YESSSS PLEASE!
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